My name is Isaac Solomon, and I am the USASA President for 2023.
In this edition of Verse, I wanted to talk about progress.
What does progress mean in the context of our lives as a university student?
In its simplest terms progress is about moving forward. Whether it’s in our studies, in our careers or as a society. Sometimes it can be very easy to tell whether you are moving forward and at other times it’s slightly more difficult to determine in which direction you are heading. Often, we take it for granted that things will naturally move in a positive direction, though that is not always the case.
Studying at University can be extremely challenging, and it should be. Whenever we go to class or complete an assignment, we know that we are getting one step closer to the completion of our degree. Even if we fail, more often than not we have learnt a valuable lesson. This is progress.
Progress in a community or societal sense can be less clear. Whether it’s on a student level or in our state and federal parliaments not everyone agrees on the direction our communities and our society should take. Recently UniSA introduced the Ally Network to ensure that queer students are welcomed and supported at university. This was extremely hard fought for and took a long time. These kind of initiatives are not always guaranteed and to suggest something similar 30 years ago would have been unheard of. It’s only because people stood up and fought for their rights that we got to this point. In my view this is progress.
Sometimes progress can be slow. Not long ago the State Parliament passed for the first time, a constitutional amendment to create a First Nations Voice to Parliament with the Governor signing the bill into law on the steps of Parliament. To hear the stories and see the faces of people from around the state who had worked so hard for years for this outcome was eye-opening. While not everyone agrees that a Voice to Parliament on both a State and Federal level is the right way to go, these people who fought years to have their culture and heritage recognised view this as progress. One step along the way in a journey that has not yet reached it’s end.
One major decision which is currently a hot topic here at university is whether we should join with the University of Adelaide in creating a completely new university. In this moment not everyone is sure what progress looks like.
In my opinion, whether or not this move is progressive will be determined by the level of input given by students. The more that we are able to make our voices heard, the better represented our views will be in the new institution. Just because the University’s consultation phase is over does not mean that our opinions no longer matter. If the new university goes ahead, it will be designed by and for the existing staff and students. It’s important that in any conversations around the new University we make our wants and needs known to the university. This is the only way to ensure progress.
Over the next few months, I will be ensuring that as many voices as possible are heard in discussions about the creation of a new university but I cannot do it alone. If you would like to play a greater role in that conversation, please get in touch.
One theme is common throughout all the things I have mentioned. Progress is never easy but little by little we can make it happen. Whether you’re championing major social issues or completing your studies, you should be proud of your achievements, even if the results aren’t evident yet.
Ngaityalya (Thank you)
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