“I was the typical ‘come to class and go home’ kind of student. I was struggling to make any friends on campus and I didn’t really know why I was here…I realized I needed to make a change.”
Meet Tiarnan Cleary, the new DUSA President for 2020! A third year International Studies student, Tiarnan has an exceptionally strong interest in student representation and a passion for student advocacy and action. Check out his full Q&A.
Why did you apply for the position as President for 2020 of the DUSA Student Council?
After getting involved with DUSA Clubs and Societies during my second year at university and seeing the benefits they bring to students, I wanted to create a more accessible and inclusive student culture on campus. This year I was elected to council as Social Engagement Officer. I saw the ambition and hard work of everyone in the organisation materialize into something that students can appreciate and recognize as a part of their university experience. I really wanted to lead a team that would deliver a 2020 vision to the university.
How have you been involved in University life throughout your time at Deakin University?
In my first year at Deakin I didn’t make an effort to involve myself in university life. I was the typical ‘come to class and go home’ kind of student. I was struggling to make any friends on campus and I didn’t really know why I was here. I felt isolated and alone. I saw my mates from high school moving on and progressing but I wasn’t going anywhere. I realized I needed to make a change, so at the beginning of my second year I signed up to DUSA’s OWeek eventsand told myself that the first club who would approach me at Market Day I’d join.
Becoming a member of that club changed my whole university experience, I started attending their regular events and began helping them plan for future activities eventually becoming the President of the club. It was from there I got involved in DUSA, ultimately getting elected to Student Council. Putting myself out there and getting involved in university life has changed my whole experience at Deakin.
How has DUSA impacted you as a student throughout your time at Deakin University?
DUSA has always given me a sense of belonging on campus. Having a network of students and accessing the services of DUSA can elevate your whole university experience, and leave you feeling a part of something bigger rather than just tutorials and lectures. I’ve gotten some pretty cool hoodies over the years too!
What are you most excited about as President of the DUSA Student Council in 2020?
I’m most excited to work alongside the passionate and driven individuals that make up the council to lead a DUSA that resonates with the student population, works productively with the university to deliver the things students want most, provides the services students need and takes the organisationto new levels.
How do you plan to represent the student voice whilst President of the DUSA Student Council?
DUSA is the peak student voice at Deakin. We have members of council based at every campus – Burwood, Waurn Ponds, Waterfront, Warrnambool and Cloud. Alongside my peers, I am committed to governing an organisation that promotes the interests of students, by devising meaningful events and services that create a thriving student life and memorable experiences at university.
What are you hoping to implement as the DUSA Student Council President between November 2019 and October 2020?
The team has a lot of great ideas and projects they want to implement this year, and we’re in a better position to do so than ever before. In 2020 we’ll keep working for all students to deliver better access to on-campus services, greater unit flexibility across trimesters, better assessment feedback, additional student facilities, more events and activities and greater on campus engagement.
As a representative of the students, how do you feel DUSA could connect to students on a more personal level?
Every student has a different journey at university and it is common for students to feel isolated and alone in their experience. That’s why it’s so important that DUSA is the best resource it can be to each and every student. This means listening to the concerns of the student population and acting upon them. Additionally, it means ensuring everyone has access to the services they need, that they have the ability to learn and study at their own pace, they have personalised assessment feedback and advocates when they need them.
What advice would you give another individual wanting to apply for Student Council presidency in the future?
There are few places like university where there are so many ambitious, passionate and brilliant individuals in one place. Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to get involved. Network with your peers, join the clubs that interest you and get involved in their governance.
Once you build a support network at university, every challenge and every stress become so much easier to handle and more opportunities will come your way, but it’s up to you to take them. Your time at university is short and its entirely what you make of it, and getting involved with DUSA is a great way to start!
For all Student Council information, visit our Governance page.