Sarah Hibberd is the Chapter President of the FedUni Ballarat Student Chapter of The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AUSIMM). The Student Leadership Program helped fund her team’s travel, accommodation and registration for the International Mining Games in Kalgoorlie.
The 37th Safescope International Intercollegiate Mining Games were held in Kalgoorlie W.A this year and were hosted by the WASM Wombats from the Western Australian School of Mines. The competition started in 1978 in honour of the 91 miners that died in the Sunshine Mine disaster, USA in 1972. The Primary aim of the competition is to keep the traditional mining techniques alive as well as enhancing the comradeship of mining students over national and international borders.
The games commenced Wednesday 25th of March through to Sunday 29th of March. 52 teams attended the International Games from 5 different countries. The events were split into co-ed, men’s, women’s, alumni and individuals.
Partly funded through a grant from the Student Leadership Program, the FedUni Ballarat AusIMM Student Chapter took a team of 7 students to compete in the co-ed competitions against 29 other teams.
The events this year included:
Sawing through a 1500mm x 1500mm piece of pine as fast and as straight as possible with a bow saw
Gold panning for 5 small pieces of flattened lead shot
Airleg drilling as deep as possible into a slab of concrete in 3 minutes
Setting up and dismantling a track as fast and as safe as possible
Hand steel – 5 team members drill into a block of concrete with a chisel and hammer.
Overall the FedUni team did brilliantly, coming 13th against some very impressive international competition. Next year the national games are to be held in Brisbane where the team will be represented once again!
If you discover a Leadership opportunity you’d like to attend, the Leadership Program has grants available to support you with travel, accommodation and registration, so get in touch with them!
– Sarah Hibberd, FedUni Ballarat Chapter President, AUSIMM
Everyone has something they’re passionate about – music, sport, social justice, reading, socialising etc. So what if you could use your passions to make someone else’s life better?
Volunteering is worth more annually to the Australian economy than the entire mining industry (Over $200bn), but the word can often conjure up images that really don’t appeal to everyone. Picking up litter and serving tea to the elderly are incredibly important contributions to society, but there is a lot more to volunteering and community impact than that.
organising (or performing at) a charity music festival?
joining (or starting) a march or protest about something you feel is unfair?
designing a website for a local Not-For-Profit organisation?
teaching a friend to cook or change a tyre?
Sharing a community campaign through social media?
Writing to say thank you to someone who has inspired you?
All these things make the world a better place and we want you to think about the ways in which you can have an impact on society during 2015. We’re asking all FedUni students and staff to pledge to do something new this year – to take action (big or small) that benefits others. If there is something you think needs to change, be the one to change it. If you care about something, use your passion to change the world because if we all expect someone else to do it, no-one will!
For National Student Volunteer Week (NSVW) 2014, we’ll be publishing a series of posts answering that perennial question – why should I volunteer?
Today, we’re looking at the skills you can gain and develop through volunteering. I’m a big fan of skills-based volunteering – In my experience volunteers often come in two main ‘shapes’: Those who are passionate about a particular cause or sector, and those who have specific skills and want to use them for social good, but may not mind who they help. Obviously there are shades of grey between these two, and some people who are both, but let’s keep things simplistic for this one! I’m going to call the first type Mary, and the second type Cal.
Mary loves helping young people – she benefited from the support of some amazing volunteers during her tough teen years, and wants to give back to the organisations that helped her, as well as using her experience to help others. She has been volunteering for ten years with a range of youth services including Headspace, MATES Mentoring and the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), and has taken on a number of different roles within those organisations – filling gaps where they needed extra help. Mary completed a Cert 4 in Youth Work whilst volunteering, and has found that not only have the things she has learnt in her course helped her to volunteer more effectively, but that the practical work she does through volunteering has benefited her learning hugely – placements are great, but there is no substitute for working in the field on a weekly basis. She finds that her experiences actually exceed some of the criteria for the Cert 4, and she is looking at developing her caseworking skills in the future – working with different agencies to meet clients’ overall needs more effectively.
Cal is a finance guy – he worked in a bank in the year before Uni, and is now about to finish a Bachelors in Accounting and Finance. He is passionate about making money work for people, and just as passionate about helping other people to make great financial decisions. During his first year of Uni, Cal started applying for internships and work experience in the corporate financial sector, but repeatedly found himself up against hundreds of other candidates even for data entry positions. Realising that a) He only stood a slim chance of landing a role and b) Even if he did it would most likely be mundane work which didn’t utilise his skills effectively, he headed to the Uni Careers Service, who pointed him in the direction of the Volunteer Program. With their help, Cal found a local disability support organisation who were looking for someone 2 days a week to develop an ICT-based accounting system, to replace the mass of receipts and hand-written records they currently had. Cal found that what he had learnt in his first year enabled him to test, demonstrate and recommend different accounting packages to the board, who gave him the go ahead to train others across the organisation to use it. Not only did his resume look in better shape as a result, but he decided to spend the next summer working with another local organisation who, impressed by what they had heard about him, offered Cal the chance to join them as a volunteer financial adviser, meeting with the board on a weekly basis. When he leaves Uni, not only will Cal have an impressive array of high-level (for his age) experience on the resume, but he has pledged to do Pro Bono work for at least 4 days a month at a Not-For-Profit financial management organisation.
Cal and Mary are not real people, of course, but they are based on real and realistic experiences of those who choose to volunteer – not only can you find a great volunteer role which uses your ‘day job’ skills and interests, but if you do a bit of research and talk to the right people, you can even find a role which enhances them.
For National Student Volunteer Week, we wanted students to have the chance to ‘upskill’ a little – We have run workshops on personal/social values and leadership and supporting asylum seekers/refugees in the community. We have also persuaded some of our awesome staff to volunteer their time to teach students new skills – knitting and playing the ukulele!
If you have an experience of a time when volunteering has boosted your skills in some way (could be for a job, or even a hobby), We’d love to hear about them.
If you’re a FedUni student looking for a volunteer role which truly uses your skills, or which will develop new ones, get in touch at L.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For National Student Volunteer Week (NSVW) 2014, we’ll be publishing a series of posts answering that perennial question – why should I volunteer? Part of my job is to persuade students that volunteering is great, and so I need to be able to do more than just mumble something about helping other people.
That said, my first and most important reason for volunteering is to give back in some way – volunteering can’t by definition be a purely selfish act as it automatically makes life better for other people. Someone cleverer than me has worked out that volunteering is worth around $200bn annually to the Australian economy – that’s what our volunteers are worth in the wages we don’t pay them, the things we don’t need to do because of them (planting trees, reading to kids etc), the money they pay in transport, food, clothing etc when volunteering and the skills they learn which can be transferred to their paid work, amongst other things. For the record, that’s more than even the mining industry contributes. (Pro Bono, 2014).
In 2013 FedUni (or University of Ballarat as it was then) students contributed over 3119 volunteer hours – a contribution worth over $75,000, which is pretty incredible – we’re aiming for over 4000 hours this year – who said students don’t contribute to society? Ours are amazing. (Volunteering Australia, 2012)
This NSVW, we’ll be doing a number of things to help students give back – we’re running 5 Pop-Up Op Shops during the week – students and staff have been donating clothes, accessories and bric-a-brac for the past month or so, and we’ll be selling it all off in exchange for gold coin donations. Not only will all money will be split between the Ballarat Soup Bus (www.soupbus.com.au), Uniting Care (www.unitingcareballarat.com.au) and the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (www.relieffund.org.au), but we’ll be preventing several kilograms of unwanted ‘stuff’ from ending up in landfill. Instead, it will be ‘recycled’ by someone else, and anything left at the end of the week will be donated to local Op Shops, so nothing is wasted.
We’re also holding a Campus Clean-up at Mt Helen on Friday afternoon – we’ll be clearing up litter, branches and anything else we come across all over campus and the surrounding walking track. Thanks to the International Student Committee and Dale, our Sustainability Officer for helping make this happen. Anyone interested in joining us just needs to meet at the Hub at 1pm – we’ll provide gloves and a cuppa, but wrap up warm!
In the next few days we’ll be looking at some other reasons to volunteer, and what we’re doing during the week to help it happen, so please keep checking back:
This week, we had our final Student Senate meeting of 2013, which provides us with a great opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved by our student leaders, and where we’re headed next.
Formed in 2012, the Student Senate is a representative body which consults with, and advocates on behalf of all of our students. They have a key role in consultations over Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) spending, as well as having representation on a variety of University committees such as Academic Board.
This year there have been 19 members, representing specific groups of students by campus, community, school, Higher Ed/TAFE etc. They all work tirelessly to improve the student experience for all students, and have made a huge impact, holding 8 student fora on different campuses.
The key achievements of the Senate in 2013 include:
Representing the student voice during the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) ban on publishing results Often the groups most affected by decisions have the least representation, both in local negotiations and in the wider world, so it speaks volumes for the Senate as a consultative body that they were able to talk to both the NTEU and Senior University staff from the students’ point of view.
Aiding the transition to Federation University The Senate have been an active voice during the proposals to merge with Monash Gippsland Campus, and as well as building relationships with Monash Gippsland’s student directors to help smooth the transition. They have visited the Gippsland campus, presented to Monash staff, and hosted a visit from the Monash University Gippsland Student Union (MUGSU) to Ballarat in September.
Consulting on the use of SSAF funding Significant investment has been made to the facilities on all campuses as a result of Senate consultations, including updating of kitchenettes, providing ceiling fans and cleaning equipment for the movement studios at Camp Street and installing student lockers at 3 locations across the Mt Helen campus.
Creating Portfolios for more focused student advocacy Senate members are now part of one of the new portfolios, which have already made a significant impact: Facilities & ICT, Communications, Academic and Student Connect.
And more! The Senate have raised awareness of mental health issues by helping organise the Blue Tie Ball, revamped the TAFE orientation process and Clubs manual, and even managed to get their own office built!
So what’s on the horizon for next year?
More student engagement: Both with the Senate and with the student experience in general – getting students and staff talking, collaborating and shaping the University.
New Roles: The Senate is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of our student body, and their expanding role due to the transition to FedUni offers a great opportunity to do just that. Several new senate positions have been identified as a priority – Vice-chair, a Gippsland Campus Rep, a Distance Education Rep and a Senior Student Rep from our Federation College. A member of MUGSU will also be invited to each meeting.
Security and lighting: Across all campuses, lighting is a key issue for the safety of both students and staff – the Senate propose funding be used for a complete audit and upgrade of lighting at FedUni.
Communication: At FedUni we want to talk more. We want to hear from students, and we recognise that we could be better at communicating to students what’s going on around campus. The Senate proposes a team of student Communication Champions as a role within the Leadership Program. These students would help staff get the word out about events, activities and the services and support that their SSAF provides.
That’s just for starters – elections will be held in March, so the new Senate members will no doubt be brimming with ideas on how to make FedUni an amazing place to study.
In October, we ran an end-of-year survey with 2013 participants of the Leadership Program, seeking feedback on the Program, what students had learnt and how we could improve it for 2014. One of the things we asked students to do was to complete the sentence: “To me, Leadership is…”
Let’s have a look at some of the responses (some are edited for length, clarity + repetition):
“…the ability to get the job done”
“…taking your eyes off yourself, serving”
“…ninety per cent participation”
“…setting a positive example and taking that first step to affect change”
“…assisting the development, growth and success of a team”
“…helping others & managing people with different ideas to achieve common goal”
“…first being a leader of yourself”
“…being confident to lead others in a positive direction”
“…speaking up when others won’t, being supportive, and being motivational”
I think it’s telling that all the responses involve action in some way, but few really mention a specific activity or role. Donald H Gannon agreed that “Leadership is action, not position”, and I’d concur that defining leadership roles to define leadership is as useful as explaining the combustion engine by naming Holden Models – people need examples, but it doesn’t help them understand what’s really “under the bonnet”.
I like that none of these ideas requires any particular knowledge or skills, just a proactive mindset and a desire to make a change – literally anybody can be a leader. We’ve seen countless examples of students on the program who have surprised themselves and delighted us by the personal journey they have made simply by being willing to have a go at leading. They may have felt that their background, workload or personal life was a barrier to taking on a leadership role, but it really is “90% participation” – anyone can be a leader if they care enough about the cause.
“Being a Leader of yourself” is an interesting one – my first reaction was that yes, you have to know and be able to motivate yourself in order to do the same for others. Upon further reflection, I would argue that most people, especially at the age of many of our students, do not yet have complete self-knowledge (if they ever will) does this prevent them from being an effective leader? I suppose it’s more a case of knowing what motivates you at that moment and making the choice to “take your eyes off yourself, serve” – your motivations and character may change over time, but hopefully your desire to have a positive impact on others will not.
The last response on the list is for me the most contentious as it also the most prescriptive. I can’t argue with “being supportive”, but as a pretty extreme introvert, I am not always comfortable “speaking up” (although I sometimes force myself to do so) – does this necessarily make me a less effective leader?
I would also question whether “being motivational” is a pre-requisite for leadership. I suppose you can’t lead if others aren’t motivated to follow, but the phrase just conjures up an image of a motivational speaker on stage getting the audience to chant along with their messages of self-actualisation and pursuit of success, an image that is anathema to my personality and values.
Perhaps I have too narrow a reading of the concept, or maybe I’ve misunderstood what they meant, but much of the thinking on Leadership also seems to define it through the language of extroversion. I think this brings us back to the problem of defining leadership through its roles – Think of a leader and we think of Prime Ministers and Presidents, who only get elected through a gruelling campaign of speeches, interviews and gladhanding or Sports captains who are generally vocal, outwardly passionate and get all the TV time.
Do we think enough about those who work behind the scenes? Those who shun the limelight and who gain their energy from internal motivations rather than external recognition? In a future post I will be delving deeper into the idea of different Leadership styles – if you would like to contribute to the discussion, please don’t hesitate to comment below, or contact me via Twitter (@FedUniLeaders) or Facebook (Fed Uni Student Leadership).