“Protecting the student experience,” is the mission of USU Immediate Past President, Ruchir Punjabi, as he vies for a position on the University of Sydney Senate, one of the most powerful bodies in the tertiary community.
Mr Punjabi, who was President of the USU in 2008, the year he graduated, is one of a ticket of seven University of Sydney Alumni in the running for five graduate Fellow openings on the Senate.
“We want to present a unified front on protecting the student experience and we all know we would bring diversity to the senate,” Mr Punjabi told the Australian.
Joining Ruchir on the ticket are prominent journalist and author Peter FitzSimmons and communications consultant Trish Oakley, as well as Dr Chloe Flutter, James Hoare, Stephen Ingate and Jane Spring.
The group fly under a banner entitled: ‘Young Ideas, Long Tradition,’ with a shared aim to “celebrate, promote and enhance the unique diversity of our student, staff and alumni experience”, according to their website.
Trish Oakley, who is No.1 on the ticket, first discussed the idea of running a group campaign with Mr Punjabi, Mr Hoare and Mr Ingate, at a September meeting of the University of Sydney Union and Alumni and Friends Association - of which Ms Oakley is President.
She said VSU and recent financial perils facing the University of Sydney have taken a toll on students.
“The realities are that it’s getting tougher and tougher and the university is struggling more and more,” she told the Australian, “I want to fight for the student experience as actively as I possibly can.”
The University of Sydney Senate comprises of 22 members, including five from the graduate body. Graduate fellows are elected to a four-year term.
The former USU President believed there was an advantage in running a ticket, despite it being unusual for senate candidates.
Mr Punjabi and Ms Oakley said they established the ticket to represent the interests of the ground-level campus community.
In her statement on the University’s website, Ms Oakley promised to “promote a university culture that embraces students, staff and alumni,” should she be elected.
Mr Punjabi is also confident of being fit for the position. “My experience through my work for International students in Australia, the University of Sydney Union, the University of Sydney community and my business has shown that I present a combination of patient persistence and ready cooperation,” he said in his statement. “It would be an honour to serve the University community through the Senate.”
Ballots were sent out to University alumni last week and voting closes on 10 November.
Details on the University Senate Elections can be found here
Ruchir and his ticket’s website can be found here.