My name is James Connolly and I am the President of the ANU Students’ Association (ANUSA) for 2017. ANUSA is the peak representative body for all undergraduate students, advocating and furthering the interests of its members to the University. In 2017, this consists of between 10,000 to 11,000 students.
While most well-known for coordinating large scale social events such as O-Week and Bush Week, ANUSA plays a substantial role in providing free and confidential services to all undergraduate students through our Student Assistance Unit. This includes a free legal service, financial aid, student meals and help with tax and Centrelink plus much more. Additionally, ANUSA manages the Brian Kenyon Student Space (BKSS) to add further value to the undergraduate student experience. From this space we deliver a free breakfast program from 8-10am every day of term.
ANUSA is made up of forty elected student representatives: six Executive members (President, Vice President, Treasurer, General Secretary, Education Officer and Social Officer), two College Representatives for each academic college, fourteen General Representatives and seven department officers representing respective collectives that are a product of activist and grassroots movements (Queer*, Ethnocultural, Women, Indigenous, International, Disabilities and Environment).
With respect to representation, ANUSA has representation on a diverse range of University Committees ranging from University Council, Academic Board, Student Experience Committee, Academic College Education Committees and much more. In addition, ANUSA also coordinates different student committees such as; the Mental Health Committee and Education Committee.
The Association is primarily funded by students through the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) which each undergraduate student pays every semester. In other words we are funded by students, for students and seek to improve the student experience of our members at every stage.
Throughout 2017 ANUSA will have a focus on;
- Enhancing ANUSA’s advocacy arm: We want to reform our internal structures and processes to see how ANUSA can be a more proactive advocate for student welfare and a quality education.
- Long term sustainability of student support services: The Union Court redevelopment provides scope for ANUSA to pursue long-term mental health initiatives such as a better resourced counselling centre. We want an ANU-ANUSA strategy on online safety and to work with the Division of Student Life to realise the full potential of the Health & Wellbeing Coordinator, a 2016 ANUSA initiative.
- Engaging under-represented groups: We want to expand the work done on Honours engagement and begin to engage with undergrad mature-aged students through the establishment of a mature-aged student committee and tailored initiatives.
- Improving the student experience: We’ve brought in a Clubs Council and now we want to ensure that clubs are better supported to maximise the student experience. Our switch to Membership Solutions Ltd as our new operating system also presents new opportunities to engage students on the sort of experience they want at ANU and to help them realise it.
- Managing the transition to the Pop-Up Village: Union Court is being redeveloped and we want to ensure that there are new social spaces for students and that they are kept informed of what the future Union Court will look like.
2017 is a year of challenges and opportunities. My vision for ANUSA in 2017 is to see us be more proactive, more vocal and more engaged with under-represented groups. I’m conscious of the challenges next year brings but I’m confident that our fantastic team will be able to meet the needs of students during that time. If you want to get involved, come by the ANUSA offices (which overlook Union Court), drop us a line by email or come to any of our meetings. We’re always keen for new ideas and or feedback because we exist to make the student experience the best it can be.
ANUSA President 2017