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By Amber Weir, Grok Magazine.
Chris Hall will be the Guild’s Education Vice-President for 2020, his pronouns are He/Him. Currently studying Multidisciplinary Science, majoring in Sustainability, he spends his time longboard skateboarding, playing videogames (specifically Diablo 3) and walking his dog at the dog beach. He is passionate about authentic student representation and has an incredible array of interests, such as social sciences, sustainability and the environment, activism, feminism, Indie music and technology.
While Chris has been involved with the Guild for a number of years, he has also been involved with the Electronic Music Appreciation Society (EMAS)—as a committee member—and the Environmental Clubs (CEAC).
What is your favourite campus food?
I love some Angazi fries, but when the Main Café has spicy noodles, that is where I am at!
What is your biggest whine/peeve about campus?
It would be so good if we had a swimming pool on campus! Otherwise, it would be parking; it’s just so expensive!
What would you like to do after you graduate university?
I think I would take a break and take some time to travel, maybe go around the world with my sister or live remotely for a while!
How can the Guild help make university life better?
In so many ways that I am not sure this interview can cover, but I will try. We run events that are inclusive of students from all walks of life, [provide] the Guild’s Student Assist [which] is a free and confidential service to provide students with support, whether that be financial, personal or academic. We [help] establish, fund and celebrate over 120 clubs, provide authentic peer to peer representation to ensure the student experience is one that is equitable and fun, and provide opportunities to get involved in being upskilled with our life hacks programs, conferences and sub committees etc.
How and why did you get involved in the Guild?
I was working with some volunteering climate organisations already [when] a previous General Secretary, Dylan Heywood, reached out to me after finding me through mutual friends and asked if I would be interested in getting more involved. Of course, I said yes! I ran for the position of NUS delegate and Guild Councillor and was thankfully elected. I got to represent Curtin at a National Conference and then return to being a councillor. Months later I then stepped up into the role of Queer Officer; a year Later Secretary and now Vice President – Education, and my journey is yet to finish.
I think I stayed involved and really put my energy into everywhere that I could with the Guild because I felt, as a student, I was often powerless in being able to make change. I knew the Guild was a place for me to make some change for students alike and encourage other people to do the same. I have always been someone who has been quite non-partisan, and I still believe that independent representation for students is what our Guild needs: no ties, no accountability to any external body—we are accountable to the students of Curtin University.
How do you think you can make a difference this year, and what are you hoping to achieve?
[The] 2020 Guild Representative team is like no other; we have some old dogs still around (me), but our fresh voices will guide us to those places where students are needing change and support now. With the experience and the new-found knowledge, I think this union of passionate representatives is going to ensure that the Guild is not only out there, hand in hand supporting students, but we also ensure we engage in national actions to show our stance for wider student issues around the country.
I have my own goals for my term: I want to ensure we have a student partnership agreement with the University, I want to see an end to the insane parking situation we have at Curtin, and I want to see more authentic student consultation in all levels of decision making in the university (as students are the main stakeholder of the University so we should have a say). I will be running workshops on how to practice self-care and good study habits inside and outside the classroom. Lastly, I want to see a diverse representative body that stand for justice for our minority and equity groups at Curtin.
What is your advice for making the most out of the uni experience—especially for first years?
Get your Guild sticker! —the discounts are worth it. Join a club that you are interested in, and if there isn’t one, make one. Engaging in the wider student community ensures that your university experience is more than just pushing marks to get a piece of paper. At times, I have learnt more out of the classroom than I have in the classroom.
Don’t forget that you can always change your course of study; your education is in your hands and you have the right to change it. If something is not right, contact your Guild Faculty Rep so they can work with you to right some wrongs!
Last but not least, take care of yourself: seek mental health services if you are struggling, practice self-care and good study habits. Party hard and party safe, so use protection, use pill testing kits and keep your friends in the loop.
University can be overwhelming but it is one of the most amazing times of your life <3
This article is part of a Curtin Student Guild interview series conducted by Grok Magazine.
Email Chris on firstname.lastname@example.org