UQU Series: 2020 Retrospective & a Look Ahead at 2021


2020 University Life Recap & Future UQU Prospects

While this uni year has been seemingly never ending, it has finally come to a conclusion - even summer semester. Holidays are officially here, and students everywhere are collectively crawling through a few months of relaxation and understandable ignorance towards even the thought of university. Though the year may have been long, we cannot forget about the many noteworthy achievements and memorable accomplishments of the UQ community. 

Despite the many obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic set for basically every aspect of the University, props to the staff and students for compromising and adapting to make the most of this very challenging year. Not only has the UQ community managed to overcome these challenges but have thrived throughout the new adaptations which have transformed uni life as we know it. 

With significant uncertainty for every comprehendible situation, communities within the University have sought their own avenues to adapt. Many clubs and societies have taken their ventures online, faculties have discovered the remarkable world of virtual workshops, and students have gallantly jumped on board. While there are many aspects of the University who we have to thank for getting us through this tough uni year, I want to discuss the UQ Union and how they can continue to guide and assist our university life. 

The UQ Student Union’s aim is “empowering students to make meaningful change, while supporting them at every stage”. Representing the many academic, social and cultural aspects of UQ students’ lives, they have a rather large say in your enjoyment here at University. With this level of responsibility, they have had to be truly innovative this year. 

With many accolades to give to the UQU Student Executive, I firstly want to discuss who and what are they exactly? You may be aware of them through those pesky people around campus in their bright coloured shirts, waving flyers at you, and enthusiastically seeking your attention. If so, please don’t let the overwhelming nature of this situation get in the way, as they actually have some pretty valuable things to say. 

The month of October was essentially election season, where candidates had the chance to advocate for their party’s role within the UQU Student Executive. While this election period may seem overwhelming, that is no reason to turn your back on what it’s all about. Now I have been guilty of this myself, not fully understanding what all of the commotion was about, but now I’m here to give you a quick rundown so you can be more involved within the uni community. 

The UQU consists of many groups including the Student Executive, who are passionate about building a better university experience for all students. Within the executive there are various roles including president, secretary, treasurer, vice presidents and officers. This executive is elected by you, on the student’s behalf, and has the power to lead and advocate for students. So, while the election period may get heated, it comes from a place of passion and is an important factor of campus culture. 

This year alone, the student executive has facilitated so many events both on campus and online (thanks to COVID). Without their input, many student connections would not have been fostered and without a doubt the uni year would not have been as enjoyable. Despite the great and sufficient job this year’s UQU Student Executive has done, in diplomatic style, the annual elections had to occur. Over the few weeks of passionately campaigning, students alike voted for the 2021 executive. 

Officially winning the 2020 UQU election, Rebuild has been elected for the President, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Presidents, Postgraduate Officers, and International Students Officers. In addition to this, they have also elected as the incoming editors for Semper Floreat (the student newspaper). Their plan is to honour and fight for students from inside the Union, but what does this mean for uni life in 2021?

Rebuild aims to ‘reform, refresh, rebuild UQU’. Their policy’s range from subjects regarding clubs and societies, food outlets, student welfare and rights, campus culture, public transport, UQU journalism and democracy, and International students. They have publicised that they hope to:

  • Create a fairer system for all clubs and societies to thrive within;

  • provide more diverse food options for many dietary requirements;

  • develop more and cheaper social events on campus;

  • fight the decrease in course quality;

  • lobby to standardise submission deadlines;

  • contest against the use of ProctorU;

  • enhance SWOTVAC periods;

  • provide better counselling services, particularly with the events brought upon by COVID-19’

  • advocate for more bus times and concession fares for all students;

  • host employment and visa workshops for international students;

  • create an online petition service to bring your issues to the centre of the council;

  • and with specific interest to the HASS department, they also hope to rebuild Semper Floreat and ensure high quality content is being posted on a regular basis.

So ultimately, the uni year is officially over, and we have many groups to thank for getting is through it. We can also take our well needed break over the summer holidays and look forward to what 2021 has in store. With the UQU student elections coming to a close and Rebuild preparing for next year, the UQ community can hopefully come back better than ever in the new year learning from the many challenges of 2020. 

Article by Lauren Bozzetto

Photos Credits:
EmptyChairsEmptyTables by @_sava_97
JacarandaSit & JacarandaReach by @akmoaesthetics_