A message from your Student Representatives - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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A message from your Student Representatives

16 Jun 2020

16 June 2020

Hello everyone!

You did it! You made it to the end of the strangest semester yet!

Phew! Time to have a breather and give yourself a pat on the back for making it!

Please remember that USC Student Wellbeing are still available over the ‘break’. And connecting in with other students via your social networks is a great idea too!

If you made it here but have ended with some grades that weren’t quite what you wished for due to the COVID-19 disruption, please remember to look into the CV grading schema and see if that will help you!

Please remember to reach out to the uni and to each other if you need anything at this time!

For now, I am going to call semester 1 done! I know there may be a couple of exams to go, but we’ve made it!

Big pats on the back all round, a sigh of relief and I can’t wait to see you in semester 2!

With love,

Kristy Benson
Co-Chair Fraser Coast Student Liaison Group
Student Senate

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9 June 2020

Dear fellow students,

John F. Kennedy once said, "We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives." Therefore, as International students on the Student Senate, our message today is one of appreciation and gratitude. This is most timely given the easing of restrictions and the returning to life as we know, after such an unprecedented tough time.

Firstly, we would like to thank our university host communities from Brisbane to Fraser Coast for their generosity and rising to the occasion when needed. Acts of kindness from groups such as Study Brisbane, Urban Angels Community Kitchen, Sunshine Coast Council, Study Sunshine Coast and Foodbank Australia's FareShare program in providing over a thousand meals, are legendary and unforgettable.

Next is a big shout and a hug to the USC community, both the executives and all other staff members. We thank the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students), Professor Denise Wood, for being supportive during engagements and also ensuring the actualisation of student needs, such as the CV grading system. However, we recall the invaluable contributions other staff members have made in this challenging time; from the seamless transition towards the online mode of learning to the donation of cash towards the Student Emergency Bursary. We say thank you!

Lastly, we note with gratitude the countless hours all students have put into ensuring we scaled through this phase together, side by side. The collaborative works and support received from the USC Student Wellbeing, the USC Student Guild, and the USC Student Senate has been heart touching and commendable. For students who also worked as essential workers or frontline staff in various employment, we appreciate yourself services to humanity.

As we close this semester and look up to the future, we continue to encourage active participation in the Student as Partners program , USC Kindness Pandemic Facebook group or get in contact with your Student Representatives with your suggestions and thoughts. Once again, keep hope alive and stay safe.

Kind regards, 

Lawrence Ezedinma and Zuru Okembunachi

International Student Representatives, USC Student Senate

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2 June 2020

Dear fellow USC students,

I know that it has been a tough semester for many. It was unplanned and unprecedented, and it has certainly had its challenges, but we are now so close to the end and no matter what, every single one of you should be proud of yourselves for getting through this time.

I would like to acknowledge the amazing hard work and commitment from staff at USC to support students through this time. The introduction of the CV grading system was entirely based on student needs, advocated by the Student Senate, Student Guild and Student Representative Council (SRC). The re-allocation of funds to food hampers and emergency bursaries at time when the University itself is likely to be struggling is beyond amazing. Student Wellbeing has been working overtime to support students to find solutions to their challenges and so much more has been going on behind the scenes to help get us through.

I know at times it has felt isolating, and maybe at times you have felt unsupported but after Friday’s meeting with the SRC it was made very clear that the university has gone above and beyond to support their students.

The SRC’s last meeting of the semester was very productive with attention turned to the future and how we can help support students academically through semester 2 and beyond. We discussed key concerns we have heard from you, including course outline information, challenges with sometimes finding learning materials on Blackboard, and we also discussed modes of assessment and the policies in place to support students.

If you are interested in the discussions at the last SRC meeting, please keep an eye out for the minutes of the previous meeting on the StudentHub.

If you would like to raise any concerns, provide feedback on the meeting or general suggestions, please get in contact with us at studentrep@usc.edu.au.

I would also like to encourage you to complete your eVALU8 survey. These are essential to identify course and delivery issues so please complete them and give as much constructive detail as you can.

We as the SRC are here to make your academic experiences at USC as positive, supportive and productive as possible and there are many staff that we collaborate with who are doing the same. I know it’s been tough, and I know the stress levels are high right now, but we are SO close to the end. Just take it one step at a time, you can do this!

Kind regards,

Catherine Behringer,

Co-Chair, Student Representative Council

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26 May 2020

A big hello to all the students of USC!

We want to start by saying what an amazing job all of you have done in getting to this point in the semester. So many parts of our lives have been turned upside down. One of our biggest achievements in this time has been how we’ve balanced our lives while stuck at home, and staying connected while physically distancing. While this has been a tough time, it has shown us just how resilient we are and what we can do when we all work together!

Speaking of working together, the USC Student Wellbeing, the USC Student Guild and the USC Student Senate have been working with Study Sunshine Coast, Study Brisbane, Urban Angels Community Kitchen, and Foodbank Australia’s FareShare program to provide over 1,000 ready made meals! These meals are available to students from Fraser Coast to Brisbane and include vegan and gluten-free options. Go ahead and please take advantage of the free meals and food support co-ordinated by Student Wellbeing, the Student Guild and the Student Senate. Book through the StudentHub.

We are also craving community and events. Unfortunately, events have been ruled out for the time being, but we are trying to create online events to get you all involved through our social media platforms. #WinItWednesday has been one initiative that we are all excited about. Each Wednesday, the USC Student Guild has been putting together a goodies hamper and challenging students to be creative and join in the fun together. You can find us on Facebook and on Instagram.

With exams approaching quickly, we wanted to wish you all good luck and may the time you have all put into studying bring you amazing results. If you wanted to get some study tips to focus on preparing for the exams, have a look at this academic skills video. We also know it’s easy to get lost in study, so please remember to engage in self-care! Take regular breaks, rest, refuel and reach out to your USC support network when you’re in need! Reach out here to Student Wellbeing if you need a hand.

Remember, you are not alone. If you are feeling isolated, reach out to the USC Kindness Pandemic and see how we are bringing kindness, love and mutual respect into the forefront of our minds and in all actions during the COVID-19 situation. This is a page created by the USC Student Senate and it has been created with the intention of showing how collective kindness can make a difference in our topsy-turvy world right now.

All the best for the exams and remember we are here for you.

Yours sincerely,

Samuel Chee                      Katie St Clair
President                            Treasurer
USC Student Guild

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20 May 2020

Dear fellow students

We are all in the final weeks of end of semester stress of reading and writing a pajillion words. What a semester it has been and will be a time in history much will be written about. By now, you should be aware of the new grading system for COVID that we Student members to Council, Student Senate and Student Guild collectively advocated for with the USC executive team. We hope that this relieves some of the stress COVID has seen us all face.

As we start to see restrictions being lifted and we begin to safely move back to a new normal, it is important to remember that the financial and emotional strain COVID has caused will remain for many. We will continue to advocate and be involved in initiatives to assist.

We encourage you to access Student Wellbeing for support and please take advantage of the free meals and food support coordinated by Student Wellbeing, the Student Guild and the Student Senate.

Please remember you can also reach out and connect with the USC community via our USC Kindness Pandemic Facebook group.

Additionally, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students), Professor Denise Wood has been conducting open Zoom sessions with students as Professor Wood is committed to listening to students and addressing concerns. Please if you are able, attend and engage in these sessions.

We would like to congratulate you all for pushing through and coming together as a community and supporting each other and may we continue in this as we move forward into semester break and semester 2.

Kind regards,
Melissa Geltch and Nathan Wellington
Elected Student Members, USC Council

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14 May 2020

Hello Fellow Students,

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on being here! What a ride 2020 has been so far! I can certainly say that I wasn’t expecting this! I am so heartened to see the way that fellow students have managed to cope with this intense and strange year. Many of us are juggling changes to jobs or the loss of jobs, children learning from home, adapting to our placements and the massive changes in university learning. The fact that so many of us are hanging on, in many different ways, makes me proud to be part of this community that is USC.

I would also like to share my thanks to the whole team at USC. I have been very honoured to participate in discussions through the Student Representative Council, the Fraser Coast Student Liaison Group, the Student Senate and the Student School Group for the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine. These discussions have given me a lot of insight into the genuine desire of the USC executive team to ensure that all students are cared for and no students suffer academically due to this crisis.

I would like to thank Professor Denise Wood for actively listening to students and turning our ideas into a reality. I would like to strongly encourage each one of you to take all opportunities to engage with the university to share your feelings, needs, desires and fears around learning at this time. I have witnessed the ability for student feedback to become reality, with initiatives like the new flexible COVID grading for this semester. I highly recommend being involved in Students as Partners activities and groups as your ideas and suggestions are all valuable and can contribute to USC being the university that we want it to be.

Lastly, I would like to encourage you to reach out to the many amazing services that USC has on offer to get you through the semester! Remember that the Learning Advisers are there, Student Central staff love to answer our questions, there are many people in the Wellbeing Team that can help, and of course your wonderful academics and course coordinators.

Remember too that your fellow students are here for you! The USC Kindness Pandemic group on Facebook is a great place to connect and I am sure that there are many groups that you can find that are discipline related. I know its cliché but we are truly all in this together!

Stay safe and you are almost there,
Kristy Benson
USC Midwifery Student,
Campus Representative, Student Senate
Co-Chair Fraser Coast Student Liaison Group

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7 May 2020

Dear fellow students,

Today, we write to you as representatives of international students on the Student Senate.

While this period has been a trying time for all students, we are aware of the peculiar impacts it has had on the lives of international students. However, it is our conviction that we shall remain resilient, adapt quickly and show excellence in getting to the better side of this situation.

To this end and on behalf of all international students, we would like to express our profound gratitude to the University management for the high level of understanding, consultation and support thus far. We may all have received notification on the 15% reduction in tuition fees, provision of bursaries and improvement in the capacity of the Student Guilds welfare and advocacy services. These supports have gone a long way in easing the unforeseen financial distress a good number of international students find themselves under and provides a degree of assurance in this time of uncertainty.

More so, we would like to encourage international students to take advantage of the improved response capacity of the Student Wellbeing Services and get in touch if you feel any form of anxiety, stress or just need someone to talk to. While more resources and supports are coming in from both the University and the local communities or councils, we ask that you keep checking your email for such updates that could be relevant to your needs.

Of importance is the impact of the current situation on our Academics here at USC. With the rapid shift in the mode of study and learning, the University Executives and staffs have been most efficient in midwifing a largely seamless transition. While these changes may be sudden and overwhelming, we strongly encourage all of you to commit towards the use of various technology-enabled services. In addition, the university has provided resources on its website around navigating online learning and services, the use of these resources will increase your proficiency of this mode of study.

More so, a lot of discussion and engagement has gone into actioning a more lenient and optional grading system. This will provide equity and fairness as it considers greatly the increase in work and family commitments during this time. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students), Professor Denise Wood has been most generous in her efforts towards the plights of international students, we will continue to proactively engage with her and closely monitor situations as they unfold.

Lastly, we understand these are unprecedented times, but we are confident we will go through this if we stick together. Hence, keep engaging with us on the USC Kindness Pandemic Facebook group or on your various discussion boards on Blackboard. If you have capacity to support your fellow students, the Student Guild are accepting donations of non-perishable food, toiletries and other groceries for their food bank service at USC Sunshine Coast. In addition, if you would like to help fellow students who are doing it tough with a small donation, you can also donate to the Student Emergency Bursary Appeal.

The SRC will be launching several informal drop-in sessions in the coming weeks to help with listening to all your concerns during this period and directing you to available services and resources. These sessions will be attended by various Student Representatives and with the sole aim of combating social isolation amongst international students. Alternatively, you may choose to directly contact the PVC (student) for any individual issues that you feel puts you in undue disadvantage.

Above all, keep checking your emails daily for more updates and notifications as regards resources, supports or as per changes to visa conditions. Once again, keep hope alive and stay safe.

Kind regards,
Lawrence Ezedinma and Zuru Okembunachi

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30 April 2020

Fellow students,


It is the role of the Student Representative Council (SRC) to be a communication channel between students and staff, to represent your collective interests and to make your voice heard.

As a group, we represent each academic school to discuss the issues that are common to us all. I want you all to know that the struggles facing many across the student body are not unnoticed nor are they being ignored.


Last week, the SRC held a meeting dedicated to academic issues resulting from COVID-19. Your representatives brought their concerns directly to our Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Denise Wood who actively listened to what was needed in these times.
Many people expressed concerns about grading and issues surrounding placements and loss of practicums. We were informed by executives that these are issues the university is aware of and they are actively seeking to find solutions. It is important that you know that your student representatives and appropriate staff are working together to address these concerns.


In Denise’s last weekly video update, you may have heard about the proposed grading system that will involve both a fail amnesty as well as consideration for those who do not fail but see a significant drop in their grades due to COVID-19. This proposed grading system was designed in collaboration with student representatives to address the concerns of ALL students.


The powers that be ARE listening and we are all working to find solutions that will help students through this difficult time. I know you have received a thousand emails saying that we are here to help but it doesn’t feel like anything is being done. Please understand that these things take time, there are governing bodies that must be consulted and navigated but I want you to know that they are listening and that we, as the SRC, are advocating for you.


Be kind to yourselves at this time. Things are not normal. You may find that you are struggling, for reasons that you can’t explain. Know that this is normal and that its ok. I have already told you that there are many people working on a practical level to get things done but know that there are also multiple other avenues to help you get through this. All you have to do is reach out. You can contact Student Wellbeing or contact your coordinators. My experience has shown that executives and staff are very understanding and empathetic to the struggles we are all facing.


If you just want to chat, you can jump on the USC Kindness Pandemic Facebook group or reach out on a Blackboard discussion board.


In the coming weeks, the SRC will be launching informal drop-in sessions on zoom that will be staffed by various student representatives. The purpose of these sessions is to listen to your concerns, both academically and personally. We wanted to create this space to connect, so we can help combat the social isolation that is impacting us all in so many ways. Alternatively, if you have any issues whatsoever, you can always contact us at studentrep@usc.edu.au.


So please reach out, know that we are here to help, know that your struggles are not going unnoticed and know that things are being done behind the scenes to mitigate, as much as possible, the impact of this pandemic. Together, we will get through this!


Catherine Behringer,
Co-Chair, Student Representative Council
President, USC Psych Club

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23 April 2020

Greetings to our fellow students. Today we write to you as President, Samuel Chee, and Treasurer, Katie St Clair, your representatives from the USC Student Guild. We are avidly pursuing appropriate and timely measures and advocating for the University to respond in kind. We want to ensure that all reasonable action is taken to mitigate the burden on students created by COVID-19.

As Student Guild representatives, we are doing everything in our power to make your voice heard. We understand that this is a difficult time for many students due to work, family and financial commitments, and have requested leniency of the grading format for students throughout this time of crisis. We were able to discuss with Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students), Professor Denise Wood, issues caused by today’s COVID-19 environment and we will continue to monitor the University’s response to make sure that any action taken is fair and equitable.

The Student Guild also continues to provide welfare and advocacy services during these hard times, even if it looks a little different with the social distancing rules and regulations. We are collaborating with other organisations to provide assistance with pre-prepared essential food packages. Keep an eye on our Facebook page to find out when the packs are available for pickup at the Sunshine Coast campus. In the event that you cannot access these packages and you need assistance accessing basic food supplies, please email WelfareStudentGuild@usc.edu.au. If you are experiencing problems negotiating with your landlord on rental reductions or lease breaks, please email us at AdvocacyStudentGuild@usc.edu.au.

As we can all appreciate, these are unprecedented times and we do not want you to feel alone in your academic journey. You are not alone and if you need help, we are here for you. We can be contacted at StudentGuild@usc.edu.au for any other issues that you need raised.

Yours sincerely,

Samuel Chee
President
Student Guild 

Katie St Clair
Treasurer
Student Guild

Sophie Tran

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