With the newly elected UCSRC committee ready to go with a variety of ideas to improve student life at the University of Canberra, it’s important for students to know who was elected and what their plans for the year are. Over winter, Curieux will be publishing a series of profiles aimed at introducing your new committee. First up, we get to know Nathan de Meillon, a third-year physiotherapy student, and the new Faculty of Health Representative and UCSRC President.

Get to know Nathan below… 

I graduated from Trinity Christian School in 2015 before starting my undergraduate Bachelor’s degree the following year. I have had previous work experience as a shift assistant manager at McDonald’s, as a swimming instructor at the AIS, and as a swimming coach for the Tuggeranong Vikings Swim Club. My time spent in these positions will help me to fulfil the role that you’ve elected me to.

I chose to study physiotherapy as I see it as an effective tool that will help me to positively impact the lives of those around me. By studying under the tutelage of some of the world’s leading researchers here at the University of Canberra, I am confident that I will be equipped with the skills required to make a difference.

I have really enjoyed my time here at UC and am thankful for all the opportunities that I have been afforded. I have especially enjoyed taking part in the different clubs and societies that uni life has to offer. The main club that I have been associated with is the Fellowship of Christian University Students (F.O.C.U.S) where I lead one of the small groups each week.

Throughout my time at UC there have also been some frustrations, and I chose to apply as a student representative to make sure that the Faculty of Health would have a voice that continues to advocate that the university strive towards providing the best educational experience possible.

As your representative this year my main goal is to see an improvement in the communication between the students and the UC community. I believe that effective communication is the key to any relationship, and as students relating to the university this is no different. To me, effective communication means making sure that your voices are heard by the university. This is imperative so that the university knows how to support us best, and can demonstrate this through the appropriate prioritisation of the funds, services and resources that we help to finance.

I am thankful for all those who have supported me in my time here at UC, and throughout my application. And it is my hope, that over the course of this year we can work collaboratively as a student body to re-shape the culture of our university experience.

What are some of the key issues you hope to address this year as President of the UCSRC? 

This year the SRC has undergone some quite extensive restructuring. In the wake of this, our current goal is to really focus on rebranding the SRC under its new design. We have three main areas that we’re going to target to try and achieve this.

Our prime directive is to ensure that we are carrying out the student advocacy service; this role looks at mediating between the students and the university when it comes to disputes, and ensuring that the student interests are well looked after.

Additionally, communication is something I’m passionate about and we’re hoping to partner with the student magazine Curieux well, to improve the dialogue between the students and the university. And lastly, we want to work to help shape the culture of UC by improving student engagement in the various events and social clubs that are present at the university.

You’ve said that you want to improve communication between students and the larger UC community — how do you hope to achieve this? Why is it so important to you? 

Communication is important to me because it is what allows us to work together as a team towards a common goal. Through communication each member of the university can know what is expected of them, and how they can best contribute in a way that their views can be acknowledged and respected.

 The SRC is looking to improve communication this year in two main ways. Firstly, we are looking to work together with the student magazine so that we can stay more connected to one another as a faculty, and student body. And secondly, the SRC has an email account set-up for student feedback (ucsrc@canberra.edu.au). This email is in place so that you can let us know what you want from your university experience. So just tag your email with the subject line Student-Feedback, and we can take your recommendations to the university.

What made you want to apply for the UCSRC? Did you know going in that you’d like to be President?

The application process this year was quite quick given the change to the SRC structure. However, like the rest of the university community, I received an email from Vice Chancellor Deep Saini encouraging students to put up their hand to serve on the SRC. I chose to answer the call, and so went in to the running representing the Faculty of Health. I didn’t have particular aspiration for the presidency at the time of application, just the desire to serve the student body in whichever role they would have me in, and I am very privileged to have the opportunity to serve in this way.

Being a health student, how will you ensure that your committee best represents the interests of all of the student body regardless of their Faculty? 

As a physiotherapy student I do naturally come into contact with a larger proportion of students from the health faculty and so I do hear more from the health sides of things.

I think that the way that the new SRC is set up will help to ensure a diverse range of views are represented. 

Additionally we are hoping that the email account that we have in place will be able to hear responses from every student regardless of their faculty, and so in that way ensure that every student can be represented.

Finally, what’s one fun fact that you’d like to share about yourself? 

A fun fact about me is that I’m a big fan of peanut-butter and jam sandwiches, probably averaging around two a day for the last 10 or so years.

Contact Nathan de Meillon about UCSRC matters via ucsrc@canberra.edu.au or student.advocacy@canbera.edu.au

About The Author

Alyssia Tennant

Alyssia is studying an Honours degree and has a Bachelor of Journalism with a major in Social and Digital Campaigning. She is especially interested in animal welfare and sustainability. She has previously worked as a Sub-Editor for BMA Magazine, and as a Producer and News Presenter for Radio Adelaide. Her work has also been published in Right Now Inc., BMA Magazine, HerCanberra, and Feminartsy, among others. In 2017, she was lucky enough to be one of five journalism students who visited the Middle East as part of a study tour.

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