THE official representative for international students at University of Melbourne, UMSU International, has recently elected a new executive committee that promises to campaign for your welfare. Faridah Wu reports.
UMSU International (University of Melbourne Student Union International), the official representatives for international students at the University of Melbourne, announced the results of their Annual General Election last Monday.
The student group welcomed Mr Wang Wen Kai (Tony) as their new president.
Three presidential candidates ran for election this year: Micah Kokada, Tara Lee Susanto and Wang Wen Kai (Tony).
Formerly known as MUOSS (Melbourne University Overseas Student Service), UMSU International is best known for organising events such as Night Market and Festival of Nations. They also run events such as the Buddy Program and Student Experience Fair.
A total of 1018 votes were cast during this year’s election, approximately the same as last year. This amounts to 10 percent of the international student population in the University of Melbourne.
In comparison, approximately 4000 students voted at the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) elections. However, both local and international students are able to vote at the UMSU election, while only international students are allowed to vote at the UMSU International election.
Mr Wang plans to focus on the rebranding of UMSU International from MUOSS, which began late last year. He also aims to build better relationships with other clubs and societies in the university, and look at future collaborations with international student associations at other universities such as Monash University and RMIT.
“Many international students don’t know who to turn to when they have problems and they don’t know we are available. It’s also hard for international students to bond with local students. We want to be a bridge between international and local students and basically, enhance their university experience,” he said.
The new committee will officially assume office in August and will now work closely with the current committee to observe the operations. Yining Ong, the current president, highlighted the pertinent issues that international students faced during her presidential term.
“One of the more prominent issues would be transport concessions, especially this year since Victoria has announced their three-year trial. We do get a lot of opinions from international students saying that it’s not exactly what they’re looking for. It’s for a year and most international students are away for three months so it’s not worthwhile,” she said.
“Recently, I’ve been receiving emails as well saying that they feel that safety is being compromised for international students, especially if they travel home late at night. It might not be that they’re physically injured but they feel at risk. So we’re also currently looking into that with CISA (international student peak body Council of International Students Australia),” Ms Ong added.
Ms Ong also noted that most students still refer to the group as MUOSS, and not UMSU International, as yet.
A by-election will be held on the last week of May. The Media Officer and Activities Officer positions have been reopened. The available positions are not restricted to international students. Both local and international students are eligible to run as long as they still have a year left as a full-time student at University of Melbourne. The by-election is currently open till 5pm on 26 May.
More information can be found on UMSU International’s page.