Student Rights Collective Report – April 2024

From addressing placement poverty to library snack trolley runs, this month has been a busy one for Student Rights!

by JERYN CHANG & JORDY DUFFEY, Vice Presidents (UQU Student Rights) | April 29, 2024

Placement Bursaries & addressing placement poverty

Since the last council meeting, we have finalised the Placement Bursaries for Semester 1 and have notified each applicant regarding the outcome of their application. This semester alone, we provided 90 bursaries to students going on placement, which is the largest round of bursaries provided through the program to date.

We’ve also continued to engage with Students Against Placement Poverty and were involved with their National Week of Action (April 8 to 12, 2024), urging the Federal Government to ensure mandatory placements for students are paid and accounted for in the upcoming Federal budget.

Addressing the cost of living crisis

In light of the information gathered from our cost of living survey, we have submitted a report to the Federal Parliament’s cost of living inquiry. This submission offers key recommendations for addressing the cost of living issue. It urges the select committee to give greater consideration to students and their cost of living experiences, ensuring that the final report and recommendations to the Federal Government reflect the challenges faced by students.

In collaboration with seven other student unions across Queensland, we launched the Fares Fair campaign, which aims to advocate for public transport concessions for part-time and external students. All eight organisations wrote to Bart Mellish, the State Minister for Transport and Main Roads, respectfully urging the Queensland State Government to expand public transport concessions to all students, regardless of study load or mode – read the letter here.

We argue that the current policy disproportionately affects students who are carers and students with disabilities, who are more likely to be part-time or external due to personal circumstances. Public transport should not be a barrier, especially for students from marginalised groups.

Mid Semester Retreat

The Student Rights Collective worked with UQ APS Inc. on the Mid Semester Retreat, an initiative that aims to provide support to students during their mid-semester assessment and exams. As part of this, we used the Holt Room at St Lucia as a relaxing space for students to study and relax through activities like arts, crafts, and board games. The space also had a Student Advocacy and Support (SAS) pop-up stall that allowed the opportunity for students to speak with a SAS Advocate if they needed to. Having this space available allowed students the opportunity to access this space and take a break from the academic heat.

We also organised mid-semester assessment/exam library trolley runs, which occurred twice a day covering all five libraries on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during Weeks 7 and 8. These trolley runs provided free study snacks, drinks, and additional support to students while they were working on their assessments. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the UQU Volunteers who dedicated their time towards assisting with both the trolley runs and the Mid Semester Retreat, as well as to the SAS Advocates who offered their time to be involved with the retreat.

Our crew providing free snacks and support to you during Weeks 7 & 8!
Expansion of Kampus Kitchen & diversifying Morning Marmalade options

With cost of living being an issue impacting so many students, we are committed towards expanding our welfare initiatives to all UQ campuses. Over the last month, we have expanded Kampus Kitchen to Gatton, providing a free frozen meal for those who need to access it. Students accessing this initiative have been thankful to have this available and have mentioned how this has helped them.

We also have been working towards expanding Kampus Kitchen to Dutton Park and have recently met with the School of Pharmacy to explore a possible space to offer this initiative.

Finally, we have provided more food options to be available at Morning Marmalade, our free breakfast program. We are now providing fruit cups on Mondays and Fridays as part of our commitment towards diversifying the food options available through our welfare initiatives.

Student voice & Academic Advocacy Network (AAN)

We have been working with various stakeholders around the University as we prepare for the Student Representative Bootcamp. The bootcamp will be a free workshop for current and prospective student representatives to develop their confidence and leadership skills and learn the landscape of student voice across UQ. This will provide an invaluable experience for student representatives across the hundreds of committees and working groups throughout the University, ensuring that they have the knowledge to best advocate for the students they represent. The bootcamp will run on both Tuesday 7 May and Friday 10 May.

Mental health advocacy and support

We are committed towards mental health advocacy and providing support to students where possible. As part of this, we introduced Heart on My Sleeve Week – a week dedicated to breaking stigma around mental health, and encouraging students to speak up when they need help. The week saw hundreds of students across all campuses participate and make the HOMS pledge. We also had an arts and crafts station with UQ Wellbeing for students to relax and artistically express themselves on heart-shaped magnets.

Working with batyr, another mental health charity, we held a session on mental health storytelling, and the benefits of sharing our lived journeys around mental health. In addition, we have been working with UQ Student Affairs to revisit the action items of the previous UQ Mental Health Strategy, with the goal of creating a comprehensive community approach to mental health. Overall, we aim to change the conversation around mental health at UQ and create a culture that supports the mental health of the whole UQ community.


Jeryn Chang & Jordy Duffey  

Vice Presidents (UQU Student Rights) 

Email: [email protected]

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