I was in a meeting this morning in which a representative of FUSA came to speak.
FUSA is the Flinders University Student Association – https://fusa.edu.au/
They’ve been in their current form since about 2012/2013.
I refer to FUSA a lot in our various communications. They appear as a partner at the bottom of our newsletters. They appear in many of our written handouts.
The reason is FUSA help students with things that are closely intertwined with their wellbeing. In fact, it is not uncommon for students who have presented to the counselling service to be directed to FUSA because their specific needs might be better served by some of the FUSA services.
Granted, I don’t think we’ve ever referred a student presenting to counselling to go to FUSA for the ‘fun’ but it is definitely worth acknowledging that FUSA have the enjoyment end of the emotional experience in mind, as much as the struggling end.
FUSA coordinate many of the events and clubs around the university that give the University flavour and colour. They are responsible for many of the concerts, social orientation week activities, student-focused campaigns and the student-led publication The Empire Times.
Sometimes when we aren’t doing so well, we talk ourselves out of participating in the more enjoyable aspects of life, but this is faulty logic. It is in the process of engaging with others, joining with a community, pursuing activities that elicit happiness where we are more likely to find pathways out of difficult circumstances.
Sometimes when we fail an assignment, we know it is because we wrote a shitty assignment. There isn’t anyone else to blame except ourselves.
However there are other times, where we might feel we’ve been treated unfairly. Perhaps we want an assignment re-marked. Perhaps we think our grade was wrong. Maybe we’ve been accused of plagiarism but believe we are innocent. These times can be stressful and contribute to poor wellbeing.
FUSA staff can provide academic advocacy during times like this.
Academic advocacy involves:
- helping you understand university policies and how they relate to you
- helping you understand your rights and responsibilities
- supporting you to take action to resolve problems with a topic, course, lecturer or supervisor
Visit https://fusa.edu.au/academic-advocacy/ for more information
If you are finding it hard to make ends meet, FUSA are an excellent starting point.
What do I mean by ‘hard to make ends meet’?
- struggling to keep up with the payment of bills
- help with negotiating payments of debt
- not enough money to pay for basics such as food, transport and accommodation
- confused by Centrelink requirements
- about to be evicted or have key utilities switched off (e.g. electricity, gas)
FUSA can provide direct financial assistance – interest free loans, emergency financial assistance, second semester grants, vouchers, food parcels/free food, bus tickets, petrol vouchers.
FUSA can also provide financial support via appointments with their financial counsellor – https://fusa.edu.au/financial-advocacy/
Maybe your pathway to helping yourself is to help others.
Perhaps you want to play a role in giving students a voice in how the university is run.
In that case, perhaps you should run for Student Council. Student council is ‘responsible for the overriding governance, setting the strategic direction and making decisions on all aspects of the organisation’.
As a starting point, consider contacting one of the existing council members – https://fusa.edu.au/studentcouncil/. Find out what they do, how you might get involved. Student Council members are passionate advocates for students and would love to talk to you about your experiences and ideas for making Flinders a stronger community.
Perhaps stealing that trolley from Woolworths and joy-riding down Jetty Road wasn’t your best moment and now you have some legal problems.
In collaboration with the College of Business, Government and Law, FUSA host a Legal Advice Clinic on Wednesday mornings.
The Flinders Legal Advice Clinic can provide legal advice in relation to matters where the financial amount in dispute is not more than $12,000.
If you are involved in a dispute they can help you with:
- Options for resolving your dispute;
- Things you might have to do before lodging a claim with the Court;
- Preparing court documents;
- Explaining Court procedures;
- Referring you to other relevant agencies; or
- Managing your own claim.
They do not:
- Take over management of your claim for you; or
- Act as your lawyer or represent you in Court.
In the title of this post, I said ‘Don’t Forget FUSA’. The reason is they provide a set of invaluable services to the Flinders student community.
Reading this, you might think that some of these services would be helpful, but feel a little embarrassed or ashamed to ask for assistance.
We understand that. It is often hard to ask for help, especially when it comes to basics like money or food or help with your academic rights.
However we encourage you to notice that shame/embarrassment and view it as a potential barrier to you getting the assistance you need, the assistance that may very well get you back on your feet.
Notice it, and visit FUSA anyway 🙂