The Role of a Student Association
By Caleb Pattinson, Student President
Welcome to arguably the biggest year in Flinders University’s history. As we reflect and celebrate on 50 years as an institution we can also take this opportunity to look forward at what sort of University we might want to be. Flinders was founded on a social justice platform and has a rich and active history of students fighting for important causes. With an election year looming and deregulation still lingering on the table, now more than ever it is essential to have a strong student voice.
FUSA is still finding its feet after a destructive period of voluntary student unionism from 2006. The introduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) was able to relaunch many student unions and associations albeit in a compromised fashion. The legislation ultimately gives the power of allocation to the University administration. Given it is students’ money, we firmly believe it should be students making these decisions.
FUSA is given a generous slice of the SSAF pie at Flinders University (around 48 per cent), however, once you take out salaries and operational costs, we have limited finances to run our initiatives and events—around 18 per cent. With this small pool of money we fund all the awesome O’Week activities you are experiencing this week, non-sporting clubs and societies, Empire Times (the on campus magazine) and a bunch of welfare and social events through the year. You could argue we are pretty savvy when it comes to spending student money for students.
Membership is free and important. We can keep you up-to-date on our campaigns and initiatives and use your student voice when negotiating with the University. Your elected student representatives will be out in force during O’Week—so come and say hello! At the end of the day, we are all here to better your lives as students of Flinders University.