Let’s get the record straight: The University is working hard to ensure that services to support and represent students are maintained after the federal government’s ‘voluntary student union’ legislation comes into force later in the year.
Stories of the Students’ Union being ‘killed off’ by CDU and the inference that the University wants to diminish services and amenities to students are far from the truth.
CDU is totally focussed on providing services and amenities to students. Like most universities we would prefer a vibrant and effectual students’ union. A students’ union representing a flourishing student body that is capable of providing services for which it was elected.
We had a good hard look at ourselves – and at the union. Together, the Union, the University Council and the University’s Executive agreed on a plan: The Students’ Union would put forward a detailed and viable business plan to provide services and amenities to our students, acceptable to the Council on which they are represented, in order to continue to receive funding.
Such a plan was not received. Remaining amenities funds were subsequently put directly into projects identified as high priority by the Union and by students through a student survey which the University initiated. The largest of these is the building of the new Student Square at the Casuarina campus – a venue for student events, bands, barbeques and other communal activities.
Last month the University ran student Orientation Week – which had an increase in attendance of 52% over last year’s figures. The buzz around the Uni is terrific, and we’ve never had such positive feedback from the community and from students.
The Student Square, along with upgrades to the student cafeteria at Alice Springs, and responses to various student requests at Palmerston and Katherine campuses, have all been initiated by the University in the past six months.
In the post voluntary student union environment we are committed to providing services to supporting our students. CDU Executive Director, Corporate Services, Dr Scott Snyder, says his team is reviewing the range of student services and programs, to determine the best way to ensure students get what they need.
“We’re asking for input across all campuses and programs to see what staff and students identify as important services and amenities for students. Over the next two months we’ll be working with the Sports Association and the Students’ Union to work out how we can put it all together effectively within the new costing arrangements.”