State Council Key Focus Areas
Sustainability and Climate Action
We recognise climate change as one of the biggest threats to our world. Every year, students tell us that Sustainability and Climate Action are one of the top three most important issues for students. Whilst the pandemic put a pause on some of our plans for the last two years, we didn’t stop everything – we support our Clubs and Societies to be able to deliver sustainability events and programs, such as the Gardening Society, Landcare Society, Environment Society, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Climate Action UTAS (CAUTAS), and many more.
We avoid investing in exploitative labour, fossil fuels, pollutants, natural gas, and more, and instead actively invest in energy efficiency, animal rights, equal opportunity, indigenous projects, health care, and renewable energy. Currently, we are in the process of reviewing our internal practices of sourcing and procurement, especially of our TUSA merchandise and collaterals such as our tote bags, student diaries, etc. We also have student representatives who sit on the UTAS Sustainability Committee and UTAS Equity Committee to bring your voice and your passions to the forefront of UTAS decision-making.
Student Housing & Accommodation
Housing all over Australia is becoming increasingly unaffordable. We frequently see students having to jump into insecure or unsafe rental arrangements, or choosing between paying for their classes, rent, or next meal. UTAS has told us that in 2022, they’re sitting at a 90% occupancy rate for their accommodations – but we know there are accommodations such as the MidCity Apartments that the University is leasing out to external parties. Our student representatives want UTAS to make allowances to allow students with families to stay in UTAS accommodation and communicate to potential students the reality that they may not be able to find a rental upon arriving in Tasmania.
TUSA offers support, financial counseling, and legal support for housing issues and related matters – if you need to talk, please get in touch with our Advocates or our Solicitor through our Student Legal Services.
Mental Health & Wellbeing
It is estimated that 25% of Australian university students will experience mental ill health at some point in their studies, and this has only been worsened by the pandemic. We did a report back in 2020 about Mental Health during the pandemic – check it out here. We know that students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and students from a low socio-economic background are at an even greater risk. We also know that postgraduate students have a much higher prevalence of mental health disorders than undergraduate students.
TUSA believes that more needs to be done to address the mental health issues we see and experience in our community. Some of the initiatives we’ve done includes subsidising Mental Health First Aid trainings, hosting wellness activities like Kind September and Stress Less week, and lobbying UTAS for more flexible extension requests and deferred exams. We also know that one of the biggest ways to combat loneliness and mental ill health is to build community, which is why we strive to support our Clubs and Societies to help students be included and have support networks. If you’re struggling, please reach out to our Advocates, free and confidential counseling at UTAS, or Lifeline.