Wow – it is getting cold! My apologies to everyone new to Canberra, and not used to our cold climate. For those of you who, like me, have lived here for a while, I hope you managed to make it to ANZAC day before turning on your heaters.
Whilst the weather outside is cold and a little dreary, we here at PARSA have a lot of wonderful and heart-warming activities happening. On Friday, we had our Mother’s Day edition of our monthly PARSA Playdates, for student-parents and their children. This coincided with the PARSA Parents Campaign launched last week, which includes our report, which looks at the experiences of student parents and makes recommendations to the ANU on family-friendly initiatives.
Last week was an important week for advocacy, with myself, and the ANUSA President, presenting to the ANU Executive on Monday. The presentation, and supporting paper, focused on a comprehensive look at the student experience, with a particular focus on student support. Based on the 2017 PARSA Postgraduate Survey, postgraduates rated stress, employment during studies, and employment post studies as the top 3 areas of concern. As such the report focused on these areas, in particular mental health/ well-being and careers, including internships. In addition to this, other areas of concern were highlighted: accommodation; international students; and the academic experience – in particular the concerns and opportunities for both postgraduate coursework and Higher Degree by Research (PhD, Masters by Research) students. Whilst the paper was well received, the task moving forward will be to ensure changes are effectively implemented to support our postgraduate community.
The Federal Government Budget came down on Tuesday, 8 May, and contained little relating to University students. Pre-existing issues that could be negative to students, such as lowering the repayment threshold for domestic student loans remains unchanged, and are yet to pass the Senate. There are some changes to income support eligibility which may affect postgraduate students under 25 years old, as well as payments for parents on Youth Allowance. The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA), PARSA’s peak representative body, is clarifying some of these, and other, concerns and continues to advocate for policy that will deliver positive outcomes for students.
As always we have plenty going on with the ever popular Blue Mountains trip coming up – timed to support you having a break before exams start up! Also look out for our Reconciliation Week activities. My thanks to everyone who came to the Stargazing event recently – this proved to be a popular event, and we will be sure to run it again in the future!
All the best for a great end to semester 1,