Interim officers of the Postgraduate Representative Committee (PRC), the operational student representative body of PARSA began their term on August 5th 2020. The PRC comprises of the Executive Committee Members – President, Vice President, Equity and Education Officers; Portfolio Officers – Course Work and Higher Degree Research (Education Portfolio), International Students, Queer, Women’s, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students, (Equity Portfolio), Social and Environmental Officers (Other Portfolio- reporting directly to the Vice President); and the College Officers.

In mid- June, applications were called for the positions of Education, Equity, Social, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students’, and International Students Officer as the existing members were graduating at the end of Semester One 2020. The Interim Officer’s will fill in the role for the outgoing graduates until the terms of the officers who are elected in the upcoming PARSA elections begin.

PARSA membership is for students undertaking their postgraduate or research degrees and ceases when the student graduates. Office bearers must be members of the Association to be able to continue their tenures.

The outgoing PRC members who served a term since last year’s democratic elections are as follows:

Equity Officer: Kevin Tiganna

Education Officer: Hafsa Omar

Social Officer: Walter Obaseki

International Students Officer: Claire Zhu

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students Officer: Blake Edwards

On reflecting on her term, outgoing Education Officer Hafsa Omar commented:

 “This year has been a challenging one due to the circumstances brought about by the pandemic. It caused us to derail some of our pre- existing plans as we diverted our energy and resources in addressing the challenges faced by students due to Covid-19. I focused on supporting students through the provision of emergency grants, advocating for an alternate grading system and voicing their concerns regarding the drop in education quality due to the shift to remote learning. I also contributed to the new Student Partnership Agreement and the Course Representative policy document which still awaits endorsement due to delays caused by Covid-19. However, the past year has been a learning experience and I feel grateful for being able to serve in a position where I could help my fellow students.”

The Interim Officers were  recruited by an interview process and will hold office until the end of the upcoming PARSA student elections. The newly appointed officers are:

Interim Equity Officer: Epi Terbio

Interim Education Officer: Eve Walker

Interim Social Officer: Kanishk Kumar

Interim International Students Officer:  Naomi Otoo

Interim Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students Officer has not yet been finalised.

Interim Equity Officer, Epi Terbio commented:

“I have always viewed student representative role as a fulfilling privilege that entails great responsibility and I am all in for putting in the work for the benefit of our postgraduate community. I am keen on building upon the work that Kevin, my predecessor, started and will continue to work on events and projects that embodies the PARSA’s strategic themes of Support, Advocacy, Community Building, and Transparency and Sustainability. We will be working on a review of the Pastoral Care Model given that I remember this was a pressing issue last year and will also be looking into the issue of Workers’ Rights in coordination with similar-minded organizations such as the UnionsACT. There will also be advocacy programs addressing Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (SASH) as well as other issues relevant to student-parents and carers.

Interim Education Officer, Eve Walker commented :

“Being a part of PARSA has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had since beginning my postgraduate studies. We are more than a representative body, and although I feel a strong passion for student advocacy, I could not imagine the ANU’s on-campus culture without the community our members have helped foster. As such, I am honored by the opportunity I have been given, and look forward to strengthening my relationships with the rest of our team in future.”

As PARSA elections has been postponed to September this year, President Utsav Gupta mentioned:

“It has come to our attention that a lot of new students who start university in the middle of the year were unable to take part in elections due to the tight deadlines. In order to enhance inclusivity and in consideration of the 2-year term of a full time master’s degree, the board decided to delay the election timelines so that we could encourage new students in learning about PARSA and get involved in the elections.”

PARSA student elections will be held between September 21st – 25th, 2020.