RUSU is passionate about creating a better future for students at RMIT. Our campaigns team advocates directly to the university for high quality education and assessment experiences, inclusive practices, fair policies and procedures, excellent facilities and student spaces and a vibrant campus community.
RUSU has compiled a list of 10 priorities for 2023 that have been selected to represent the interests of RMIT’s diverse student cohort, that are focused on delivering a blend of initiatives to improve the student experience at RMIT and designed to achieve positive outcomes for students. Here are some highlights:
In December 2022, the Australian Government announced the development of an Australian Universities Accord to build a long-term plan for Australia's higher education system. Development of this plan was entrusted to an Accord Panel, in consultation with key stakeholders including student unions. The Accord Interim Report was released in July 2023, and submissions were invited to comment on the Interim Report and to shape the Final Report which will be released in December 2023.
RUSU's submission to the Accord Panel after the publication of the Interim Report can be found here.
If you would like to learn more about the Australian Universities Accord and access the Interim Report you can do so here.
For neurodivergent students the university environment can be overwhelming. RUSU has been campaigning hard for a safe study environment within RMIT for the neurodivergent student community. RUSU has been involved in running a pilot scheme with weekly neurodivergent study sessions in the city, Carlton and Bundoora campuses in 2023. We will use the success of this pilot to advocate for a permanent study space for neurodivergent students.
UPDATE: In response to the pilot RMIT has committed to funding a permanent neurodivergent study space on City campus. Until this permanent space is up and running RUSU will continue to work with the ELS and the Library to ensure the study sessions continue to run.
With the ongoing cost of living crisis continuing to impact students RUSU has been campaigning to end period poverty on campus. Our End Period Poverty Campaign has had two main streams. Firstly, free period products are now available at 8 different locations across RMIT, including in all-genders bathrooms and in bathrooms close to libraries that are open late. These are restocked regularly to ensure students have access to free products whenever they need them. We have also been working closely with Kotex to distribute free period undies to students, to provide students with a more sustainable choice.
After years of campaigning RUSU has successfully advocated for consent training for all students at RMIT. Students have been calling for years for better and more comprehensive consent training at RMIT and we are proud to be part of the team developing the most wide-reaching training yet. We will be taking the voice of students directly to the development team ready for a 2024 rollout of a new training offering.
A lack of access to sanitary products can impact the mental wellbeing of students as well as their education. Providing free sanitary products in bathrooms would reduce inequity and allow for more complete participation in on-campus activities.
RUSU worked hard to renovate and launch a new Women’s Room and Queer Lounge on City campus in 2023. These new, larger spaces will allow identifying students to meet and relax in comfort and also ensure our departments can organise regular events in safe spaces.
RUSU is exploring whether students need an alternative reporting process outside of student complaints and what this might look like. We believe that there are gaps in the student experience that are not covered by the complaints process or RMIT support services, like Safer Community, or academic pathways, like SSCC, that could be addressed via a further reporting pathway. We would like to see students feel more empowered to share their student experience with the University.
With developments in AI technology, such as ChatGPT, students have increasing access to sophisticated tools for assessment outsourcing. It would appear inevitable that this technology will continue to grow in complexity and availability. We have been campaigning for RMIT to embrace AI technology, teaching students how to use it as a tool and how it will play a part in their future industries. Given how new this technology is to learning and teaching in higher education environments, we are continuing to advocate for RMIT to take an educative approach to its misuse, focusing on how students can use AI technology appropriately, rather than disciplining students.