Alisa Asmolovskaya, Catherine Moggach, and Jason Pover
The ANU Student Association (ANUSA) Elections are coming up and you’ll be voting for your representatives this term. That’s why Observer is publishing this two-part ANUSA explainer over the next three weeks before the elections, so you know who you are voting for and why it matters. In this first part, we’ll tell you what exactly ANUSA provides to students in terms of services.
You might have heard that ANUSA provides services to ANU undergraduate students, but do you know what all of these services are and who they apply to? Various forms of assistance are available to all students and can be extremely useful for making uni a little easier and making ends meet. ANUSA receives over $1 million in SSAF funding per year, and in this explainer we’ll tell you what it does with it. This is ANUSA, explained – part one.
Brian Kenyon Student Space
Possibly the most prominent service offered by ANUSA is the Brian Kenyon Student Space (BKSS). It’s a lounge space open to all ANU students from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday and it’s a one-stop shop for snacks and general queries.
The BKSS has couches and study tables, as well as a kitchen that is equipped with a toaster, hot/cold water tap, and microwave. The space also has some board games, chargers you can borrow for your devices, and cheap snacks and drinks for purchase. Hot chocolate and tea are free.
Students staff the BKSS and can handle a variety of queries – most notably, they can provide directions around the construction-filled campus. The space has also been an exhibition area for student art and can be hired for events.
On Tuesday afternoons, the BKSS hosts ‘Student Bites’. Imperfect food from supermarkets is brought to the BKSS and students are charged only $1 for a whole paper bag of fresh fruit and vegetables. There are sometimes even baked goods and flowers. The BKSS is also where student meals, including the free breakfast program are delivered.
Everyone needs to eat. ANUSA has a number of services to help students do so.
Every morning of the working week, from 8am til 10am, the BKSS provides students with a free breakfast. This generally consists of cereal and toast. All students are welcome to make use of this, whether they are experiencing financial hardship or not.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t have a lunch or a dinner, you can also drop by the ANUSA office and get a meal voucher that you can then redeem for a meal at a convenient time. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are all available. Again, anyone can get a voucher, whether they are experiencing financial hardship or just forgot to pack a sandwich. Students are also able to access grocery vouchers from ANUSA. Students experiencing long-term financial issues should have a chat to the Student Assistance Officers about other forms of financial assistance, which is explained further down.
ANUSA possesses a range of equipment which can be hired out by student groups to help with events including tables, chairs, AV equipment, and marquees. These bookings can be made online. Bookings must be made at least a week in advance, and the event must also be approved by the relevant booking authority (generally ANU Functions and Services).
You can also rent a bus from ANUSA which can hold 12 people including the driver. The driver must be 21, have a full licence, and provide a signed statement that they have not been at fault in any accidents over the last 5 years. It’s available at all times of the year except O Week, Bush Week, and when ANU and ANUSA offices are closed (mainly public holidays). The cost of petrol can also be reimbursed. Should you need the bus longer than the maximum 7 days, Club Council travel grants can be used to cover the cost.
The ANUSA Vice President (VP) and the student assistance unit are able to provide advice or even advocate on your behalf should you believe you have been given an unfair mark, been asked to ‘show cause’ to remain in your course, or have been accused of academic misconduct. Notably, Student Assistance Officers may be able to provide a letter which can help you give documentation for extensions, special consideration, and deferred exams where a medical certificate would not be appropriate. They can also help you draft personal statements for such applications. The VP is especially useful for issues with courses or lecturers. For example, if a lecturer is not recording lectures, the VP can escalate the matter to make sure the course is complying with policy.
ANUSA also provides legal services through its General Counsel. PARSA also retains a lawyer who is available to undergraduates, although the position is currently vacant. The legal service is available 9am-5pm on weekdays, and bookings can be made in person or via phone call or email. From Monday to Wednesday the ANUSA lawyer is on call, and from Thursday to Friday the PARSA lawyer would normally be around. They’re able to help with many common legal issues including intellectual property/copyright, legal claims/threats, employment, insurance, debt, defamation, tenancy, motor accidents, discrimination, freedom of information, migration, and visas. They can provide referrals should the issue be something they do not practice. They can also witness statutory declarations and certify official documents.
ANUSA can also provide financial support through a number of grants and assistance programs aimed to help those suffering financial difficulties. The emergency grant scheme makes grants of up to $500 available to those who can demonstrate a need for the assistance. The medical emergency grant can also provide up to $300 a semester for undergraduates who have a medical condition which is adversely affecting their studies and which they are unable to afford ongoing medical treatment for.
Short term accommodation is also available for students who are experiencing difficulties with accomodation. This involves up to 7 nights’ accomodation in one of Canberra City YHA’s shared lodging rooms, or another hostel should the YHA be full. Students can apply for the grants and accommodation assistance by contacting the ANUSA VP or a Student Assistance Officer and filling out an application form.
There is also a Parents and Carers grant to support undergraduate students who are experiencing financial hardship whilst having children in their care. The application form for this can be found on the ANUSA website.
A final form of assistance available to students covers the often high costs of academic regalia if the cost would cause financial distress. To be eligible you must be enrolled as an undergraduate or postgraduate, be eligible to graduate, be able to demonstrate financial hardship, be a Australian or New Zealand citizen, Permanent resident or holder of a humanitarian visa or an international student who can provide evidence for an unexpected change in financial circumstances.
Accessing Financial Assistance
Student Assistance Officers are available by phone on 6125 2444, via email at [email protected], or students can drop by the offices at the back of Melville Hall.
Clubs Council Grants
If you’re running a student club, the Clubs Council is the main ANUSA body to fund your operations. To be eligible, you must first affiliate with the Clubs Council. To do this, your club must be different from other affiliated clubs. Your constitution must comply with a number of technical requirements the Clubs Council places on you for affiliation – for example, your membership must be open to all students and you must operate democratically. Then your affiliation must be voted on by delegates from affiliated Clubs. This process has been streamlined this year so that your affiliation will be voted on en masse with other clubs, unless someone at the meeting raises an objection.
Once affiliated you are eligible for a number of grants provided by Clubs Council. These include grants for events, capital expenditure grants to buy equipment, and travel grants. The amount of funding you can get for these grants varies grant to grant.
Other Student Services
The Student Extracurricular Enrichment Fund (SEEF) is also available to individuals or groups who can use it to run projects with the purpose of enriching extracurricular life on campus. This is administered through PARSA, but is available to all students and student groups, and ANUSA gets a say in who gets the grants. The application form for SEEF is on the PARSA website.
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