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By Mohammed ‘Ayo Busari’, Grok Magazine.
Bridge Truell will be the Guild’s Vice President - Education for 2021, their pronouns are They/Them and He/Him.
They are currently in their fourth year of Psychology. When they are not studying or working at the Guild, you can usually find them playing video games, gardening, playing guitar, training in karate, or doing volunteer work within the LGBTQIA+ community.
They have been in the Guild since 2018. First as the Queer Officer, then Vice President – Activities, and this year they are excited to continue with the Guild as Vice President – Education.
Where is your favourite place to be on campus?
The garden in the Psych Building (401) is absolutely my favourite place to relax and study on campus.
What are your plans after university?
My current plan is to come back for postgrad so I can gain the accreditation I need to practice psychology, and eventually work in gender, sexuality & relationship counselling.
How can the Guild help make university life better?
Not only does the Guild host events, put on free food, and help to fund the clubs that make our campus culture so awesome, it also does a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the student perspective is being considered in all-things student related here at Curtin and to hold the University accountable to its key stakeholders - us!
How and why did you get involved in the Guild?
Not long into my degree, I started accessing the Guild's Queer Department and found an incredible community of LGBTQIA+ students who had similar experiences to mine and have provided me with life-changing support and acceptance ever since.
After experiencing how much of a difference the Guild's Equity Departments can make firsthand, I wanted to run for Queer Officer and help facilitate this for other students.
The group of passionate and driven student activists I found within the Guild showed me how much change we are really capable of making when we work together, and I have been involved with the Guild ever since.
How do you think you can make a difference this year, and what are you hoping to achieve?
We have got a lot of work to do after the havoc wreaked by 2020, and the Guild's main concerns this year are helping our students have the smoothest transition back to campus as possible, opposing the continued use of online-only learning models, and helping to revive our campus culture.
This year I am hoping to build on my 2 years of experience with the Guild to conduct a student-led health & wellbeing survey to check in with how everyone's doing after last year and identify any areas where students are lacking support, continue fighting the symptoms of our struggling higher education sector such as staff cuts and fee hikes, and continuing to build Curtin's activist culture.
What is the most important issue for students today?
While issues like climate change and the effects of COVID-19 are obviously extremely real and omnipresent in many student's minds, I feel like they are still inextricably linked to the overarching issue of living under late-stage capitalism.
Climate change and the way COVID-19 has affected us are both directly linked to the way our society is currently structured and I feel like many common issues students face would be solved if we were able to address this and move in a more progressive direction.
How do you see universities adapting to students’ needs in the future?
Without being too cynical, I think the way I would like to see universities adapt to student needs is quite different to the way it is likely to go.
Our wider higher education sector appears to be increasingly concerned with churning out as many 'job-ready graduates' as they can in as little time and as little input as possible, and for maximum profit.
This continued shift away from the authentic pursuit of knowledge (which in my opinion, is the main thing universities should aspire to provide for their students) means that student needs are less and less of a concern to their universities, and I genuinely hope that this does improve and that we get to see the sector make a shift towards acknowledging and meeting the needs of their students in the not too distant future.
What is your advice for making the most out of the university experience—especially for first years?
Absolutely get involved and dive into anything that piques your interest, but burn-out is real and it can be incredibly easy to get overwhelmed in the early stages of your degree.
Have fun, join all the clubs, go to all the parties, do all the extracurricular activities, but make sure you are staying focused on taking care of your own health & wellbeing and that you pace yourself.
University is a marathon, not a sprint, and you will find that you can do so much more if you are taking care of yourself and not overextending.
If you could make any changes in the university, what would it be and why?
Free tuition. Learning is a noble pursuit and is something we should be encouraging people to do, not penalising them for it. Our Government put such significant amounts of money into things like our military, our police force, our politicians pockets, and even though free education may seem like a distant pipedream from the 60s, I feel like it is far more possible than we are led to believe.
If you were the Prime minister of Australia for a day, what would you do?
Announce Indigenous sovereignty and pay the damn rent.
This article is part of a Curtin Student Guild interview series conducted by Grok Magazine.
Email Bridge on email@example.com