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Paralympics 2020 – A peak into the lives of two WSU students post-Paralympic glory

The life of two WSU students who represented Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics....

Paralympics 2020 – A peak into the lives of Two WSU Students post Paralympic Glory

Tim Hodge (left) & Gordon Allan (right)

Months after the Paralympic Games ended, W’SUP had contacted Tim Hodge and Gordon Allan, two students of WSU who represented Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, to check in with their life after representing the country.

Hodge responded that while he feels good to be finally back home after a long campaign, his life has become chaotic with the many media and public appearance opportunities, whilst juggling his university studies and resuming training for Commonwealth Games and World Championships post the Paralympic Games.

Allan, on the other hand, mentioned the experience of his first-ever Paralympic Games has been great and he has been overwhelmed talking about it at the various media opportunities and podcasts which all feels new to him so he has just taken his time to soak it all in.

After being delayed by a year and only able to view it through screens, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics saw massive participation with about 4,403 athletes from 162 nations competing for the medals.

Western Sydney University (WSU) was fortunate enough to have two students participate in the renowned games, cyclist Gordon Allan and swimmer Timothy Hodge, who were also part of the 174 Paralympics contingent of Australia.

It was a matter of immense pride for Western Sydney University as Hodge, coached by Clinton Camilleri, an alumnus of Western Sydney University, won three medals – a bronze in 100m backstroke and a silver in 4x100m medley and 200m individual medley, respectively at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Hodge and Allan are current Western Sydney University students studying Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science, respectively. Hodge’s coach, Clinton Camilleri, is a former student of WSU who has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) degree. Hodge had previously represented Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympics and had won two bronze medals at the World Para Swimming Championships, London in 2019 and a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.

Tokyo 2020 was Allan’s debut at the Paralympic Games, where he finished fifth and ninth in the Men’s time trial C1-3 classification and Mixed team sprint C1-5 classification, respectively. He had previously won a bronze at the 2019 Apeldoorn and silver at the 2020 Milton UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships.

All three athletes spoke with W’SUP’s editor, Ayush about their time at the games. The trio spoke candidly during the interaction as they talked about their experience at the games, swapping kits with other nations, receiving souvenirs like badges and pins, cheat meals and their lives outside of sport.

Hodge had begun swimming as a method of recovery at the age of nine after his right foot was amputated.

“I learnt to swim and would swim regularly in the backyard pool,” Hodge said.

“As a 9-year-old, participated in a swimming carnival, then moved up to state competitions where I finished 5th, came back year after year and get kept on improving and getting better than the previous years.”

Allan attributes his interest to cycling after accepting a challenge from a friend of his as a young child.

“I started cycling as a really young kid but had shelved the bike for a few years and then got back into it again as an 11-year-old kid who was dared by a mate to ride the bike down a hill,” Allan said.

Camilleri’s journey to becoming a coach came after retiring as a professional swimmer and moving up from a casual lifeguard position.

“I was a swimmer myself and after retiring I became a casual lifeguard on the weekends and later moved into a coaching role with ‘Learn to Swim’ squads and just went on and on,” Camilleri said.

Due to the global pandemic, the Japanese government required all international athletes to undergo the necessary 14-day quarantine. While this could be stifling and boring for some, the three Australians managed to find different ways to pass the time. Ranging from Allan’s stationary bike delivered to his room to playing video games, the three men were well looked after.

Hodge has resumed his training and is aiming to return to the international stage in Paris 2024, where he hopes to improve on his results and timings from Tokyo.

Hodge also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the University for all the support he received from the University community via social media messages and publications, adding that the sports culture at Western Sydney University is great and it was this support during his Paralympic journey that helped him get through the long period of training, preparations till he finally stood at the blocks to compete at the Tokyo Paralympics.

 

 

Ayush is an editor for W’SUP.

Tileah Dobson is an editor for W’SUP and the news and queer editor for the Sydney Sentinel.

 

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Caldwell: “Nothing can compare to the joy that comes from someone buying something you have handcrafted”

Despite the challenges, the business continues to thrive and hopes to promote environmentally sustainable practices....

Amelia Caldwell, who will soon join Western as a student, started a business in 2021 based on up-cycling materials. Despite the challenges, the business continues to thrive and hopes to promote environmentally sustainable practices. Compiled by Shayma Abdellatif.   

Amelia Caldwell creates handmade jewellery from up-cycled materials. Photo supplied by Amelia Caldwell.

 

1.     What type of business do you own? 

“I created Dreamgazee, dedicated to up-cycling materials and creating handmade unique jewellery/accessories that can be used for self-expression of every individual. I also sell some other products when I can, including t-shirts, arm warmers, clay trays and even some of my own artworks…

 

“The core of my business is about repurposing and recycling – or more importantly up-cycling and reusing products, tools, equipment and materials that have been discarded or deemed ‘broken’. When creating pieces, the majority of my materials are second hand. By repurposing we can look at decreasing waste especially from fast fashion industries. I personally enjoy using a range of different materials such as pearls, sea-shells, different beads, wood, wire, decals, bleach, fishing line, thread, knickknacks and children’s toys… 

 

“During lockdown, I repurposed jewellery from a couple years ago that I no longer wear to create new products, I also had so much fun recording videos about my business for social media; I made an ASMR video showing myself stocking up my new storage unit and it’s beyond satisfying.”  

 

 

Handmade jewellery sold at Dreamgazee. Photo supplied by Amelia Caldwell.

2.     What motivated you to start your business?  

“At the beginning of 2021, I knew I needed to bring something new into my life after the stress and intensity of 2020. So, I decided to grab onto independence and entrepreneurship by starting my own small business…

 

“As a prospective WSU student, I’m looking forward to studying a Bachelor of Design and Technology and the opportunities that I will experience studying here. Over the past decade, I’ve truly been able to see how much I value design and the arts. I’ve studied Visual Arts, Woodwork, Textiles, Basic Design and Technology, Business Services, Ceramics, Photography and I also spend my own time learning about each of these topics to strengthen my skills and gain more knowledge. This has all assisted me greatly when starting my business!”

3.    How did COVID-19 and the lockdown affect your business?

“Surprisingly it benefited my business, as a creator whose sole form of connection is through social media and other digital platforms being in lockdown drew more attention to my business, especially due to the fact that everyone was online for one reason or another. One struggle I can point out is access to materials, there were times when I had run out of important jewellery making equipment and wasn’t able to go get them, therefore holding back my creation process and impacting my business.”

4.     What are the main benefits and challenges of owning a small business? Did you receive any support to establish it?

Getting my products out to an audience is pretty difficult! Social media is obviously huge now and there are tens, probably thousands, of small businesses out there all trying to do the exact same thing as each other; promote your work, attract and sell to clientele, develop customer rapport all whilst creating products, uploading/editing posts on social media, websites or web stores, handling postage, buying materials etc. It’s definitely a lot to handle but it’s all part of the business…

 

“Thankfully I have some help from my family but otherwise, I handle everything on my own. Some other personal struggles I’ve had are shipping costs in Australia, especially dealing with international shipping which is often over $20.00 AUD on its own!…

 

“But nothing can compare to the joy that comes from someone buying something you have handcrafted. That joy increases when people ask for custom pieces, they put their trust in you to create a product just for them which is incredible. Being able to share my work with others is extremely fulfilling as a creator/artist, the support is highly appreciated from everyone! Every single like, share, comment and save is important to me.”

 

5.    What is it like running a business while studying? 

“Definitely difficult. It can be super hard to balance out work and study along with things you WANT and NEED to do. In saying that, I should have a timetable, calendar, reminders and checklists; but I don’t. Somehow, I just push through, I listen to my mind and body, go with the flow of what I feel needs to be done which has been working well at the moment for me. I think that’s a big part of balancing work and study, understanding what your mind and body needs as well as the importance behind certain tasks. It will help you to get tasks done while not overworking or pushing yourself, taking care of yourself is the most important.”

 

Handmade jewellery sold at Dreamgazee. Photo supplied by Amelia Caldwell.

 

6.    Where do you hope to see your business in the future? 

“I’d really love to open up a stall in a market every now and again, get my pieces out to stylists and maybe even have my own personal online store. These goals are obviously big and will take time to reach but I’m really hoping I can get there eventually.”

 

7.     What advice would you give to other students? 

“I encourage others to donate materials or anything that can be reused rather than ending up in landfills, and contributing to the already growing climate crisis. We must learn to look at items we are going to throw out with new eyes, how can we create something from it? That’s my design process. To promote this thinking and process of creation would see huge changes in not only the fashion industry, but many other industries as well…

 

“Look at your design process and see how it can become more eco-friendly, sustainable and accessible. Also, to students and consumers in general, support your local small businesses! We appreciate all the help we can get, investing in slow fashion and handcrafted work is beneficial for everyone!”

 

 

Follow Amelia on @dreamgazee_ to view or purchase their products.

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WSU’s first student-created unit is here

After two years of collective efforts, the first unit of its kind is offered at Western Sydney University....
Photo: Samuel Suresh | 21C Student Curriculum Partner

After two years of collective efforts, the first unit of its kind is offered at Western Sydney University. The elective unit, We Are the University: Students Co-Creating Change, invites students from all disciplines to partake in creating change and resolving real issues within the university.

Students now have the chance to have a say in major issues and potential changes to the university. The unit is one of the successful initiatives by the 21C project and WSU Student Partners. It paves the way to get more students involved within the university, and to give credit to student volunteers for their efforts.

“Rather than getting them [students] to do heaps of more stuff for free, we thought it would be nice to try to wrap that learning in a unit,” said Dr. Peseta.

Dr. Tai Peseta is the Academic Lead of the 21C project. Among several crucial roles related to curriculum work, she contextualises and implements the initiatives developed by the project.

The approach of the unit encourages open discussion and mutual exchange of ideas. The dynamic of the relationship between academics and students is not centred around the wants or needs of students, rather on finding common ground and working in collaboration to achieve results that advance the university as a whole.

“It’s a completely different way of thinking about the work. You’re not just a student in this unit, you’re actually helping make the university, so you’re leaving a legacy for other students,” said Dr. Peseta.

Nine weeks after its release, the unit is receiving mixed reactions from the first round of students. While some saw this as a golden opportunity for change, others became overwhelmed with the responsibility.

“Some of them have said to me I hope this unit never ends, some of them have said this is massive what you’re asking for here that I’m so overwhelmed with the responsibility of doing it well. Some love the idea of helping the university,” said Dr. Peseta.

 

 

The students involved in co-creating the unit say this has been a life-changing experience, one that evolved the way they perceive education, the university, themselves and others.

Ashley Beathe, Maria Manthos and Chinnu Jose expressed their appreciation of the project and hopes for the unit. The three WSU Student Partners have been part of the 21C project since its establishment in 2017.

At the beginning of the 21C project, Chinnu said that she was not confident about her skills, however, she soon realised that her role was to offer a different perspective as a student.

“I always felt that the academics and staff appreciated the different perspective because it’s obviously one that they don’t have. But also, I learned a lot from them and what life around the university looks like for them,” said Chinnu.

Maria adds that the creation process was challenging, and many ideas went back and forth. The aim is to include student insight, and so all that was required was to engage in the relevant topics as students.

“That’s something I always tried to remember whenever I felt overwhelmed or out of place,” said Maria.

At the end of each semester, students will pitch their proposals to the Senate Education for a chance to see their ideas come to life. While the proposals will be tailored towards WSU, these will be accessible to a national and global audience. This means that successful projects could also be implemented anywhere in Australia or around the world.

“What I’m trying to do is get our students in the unit to feel like they belong to a global community of student partners,” said Dr. Peseta.

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Dear Minister, HECS is a necessity

Open letter to the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP...

Open letter to the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP

Dear Mr Tehan,

The recent legislation to axe the student HECS loan for students who fail 50 per cent of their units in their first year of university is an ill-judged decision. Most students in Australia rely on the benefit of being able to complete a higher education without the added pressure of paying their fees simultaneously.

Hence at a time where many are affected financially, with no foresight as to when the situation will ease, a decision like this can be a catalyst for increased worry and anxiety.

Choosing your course and commencing university can already be a hard step for many. Some are fresh out of HSC, some are mature age students who have children and spouses to care for, and many are international students who are just finding their feet in a newly foreign country. First year students do not need to be on edge of fear of having the rug pulled from under them.

In your media release, it is mentioned that the changes are to ensure whether a student was “academically suited” to their course on an ongoing basis. For myself, this takes me back to when I was in school and I had to remain in what my teachers confined me to based on my performance.

The truth is, if I had chosen to change my course in my first two years of university, I know I would have regretted it. My grades were nowhere to what they are now, but it is passion that has allowed me to excel, not my IQ. University shouldn’t just be about what you’re smartest at, but what your biggest passion is. It is the beginning of a journey that is aimed at taking you to your prime location; your career, and we should be uplifting students to do what they love. Not punish them for their shortcomings.

We understand that there have been some ingenuine students when it comes to the seriousness of their enrolment, but how great is this number compared to the majority of resilient students who are defying all obstacles to complete their degrees. Through this legislation, the Department of Education is stigmatising failure, rather than creating an open space for students. Ministers and universities need to address the core reasons behind it.

If I may, I would like to respectfully, on behalf of the many upcoming hard-working and resilient students, ask that you rethink this legislation. We are at a point where two in five school leavers enrol in higher education. We hope not to see a regression in this and continue to see an increase in university alumni across Australia.

Warm regards,

A university student

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Message from the president of the Student Representative Council

It is our mission for the year to listen to students and take action on concerns, suggestions and needs....
Mary-Pearl Chung, the president of the Student Representative Council.

Since the start of July, I have been in the role of president of the WSU Student Representative Council.

It goes without saying that this year will hold innumerable unprecedented challenges, not just within our university community but also globally and in our personal lives.

I am excited beyond words to represent and amplify the voices of WSU students— though I feel extremely humbled to have such invaluable support and guidance from my new SRC team.

Although we have only just commenced our term it is clear to me that the new SRC team is filled with outstanding talent, passion and experience of which I admire and am motivated by. It is our mission for the year to listen to students and take action on concerns, suggestions and needs.

 

Our vision for the council is that we will do our best to establish and maintain a more vibrant and inclusive university student experience.

During elections, I had three campaign promises that I remain committed to achieving with the role of the council;

  • To push for full transparency of SSAF funding and more student consultation into its decision making,
  • More events, initiatives and student societies across all WSU campuses (including online students),
  • Greater social justice involvement from the university through extracurricular initiatives and advocacy.

I believe that equity within the university community and a greater sense of belonging are so important in having a positive and memorable university experience. I am proud to be a student at WSU, a young university that has so much potential because we can draw from the successful implementations of other universities and be better to enrich our diverse and unique Western Sydney communities.

Over the past few months some new council members and myself have been working alongside the previous council to address various issues such as COVID- 19 student support, student concerns against ProctorU, the BLM movement and solidarity with Indigenous communities, among several other issues at hand.

However, I know that there is so much more that we as the SRC can do especially during these trying times deeply affecting so many of our students. As the President, my vision for the SRC in the year ahead is to have stronger relations and consultation with the student body— I want WSU students to feel like they can just reach out at any time to the SRC or myself for any concerns, suggestions or enquiries.

I know how I had imagined my uni life might be like, with all the excitement of clubs, societies, events and networking— and I want to be able to create that experience for as many students as I can. Remote online study has made this vision a little more difficult for sure, but I hope that we can work through this eventually.

Again, please do not hesitate to contact the SRC for any concerns, issues, suggestions or feedback related to your experience at Western Sydney University. You can also find us on our social media to keep updated with our work and ways to get involved in uni life.

I look forward to hearing from you all in the coming year.

Sincerely,

page2image12696

 

Mary-Pearl Chung
SRC President | Western Sydney University
president@westernsrc.org

src@westernsydney.edu.au
http://westernsrc.org
Instagram: westernsydneyusrc
Facebook: Western Sydney Student Representative Council

 

 

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INSIGHT: “Take Me Out” comes in hot as WSU’s new cheeky dating show

Are you looking for love? WSU's new dating show has got you covered!...

Here to fill the “single” void in your quarantine.

WSU’s Campus Life and WSSBS “Take Me Out”. Source: https://www.facebook.com/WSSBS1/

Brought to you by Western Sydney Sports Business Society, the cheeky event “Take Me Out”, based off the hit dating TV show will be coming to WSU students in Spring Semester 2020.

 

There are many opportunities for dating at WSU; especially with females outnumberingmale students. There is a wide variety of events and student clubs for the socialites, allowing students to be as involved as much as they like – and if that’s not your scene, there’s plenty of local social hideouts for everything you could want. However, if worse comes to worst, “Take Me Out” is accepting EOIs for the show to commence after the exam period.

 

WSSBS organised the successful Black-Tie Ball event in collaboration with the SRC and WBSOS last September, so it’s no surprise that they are among the hosts of the most popular activities for students at WSU.

 

“The students demanded it so we will deliver a fun and cheeky date show whereby the contestants can have a great laugh that will provide WSU with some quality entertainment and most importantly, set some sparks amongst couples,” says President of WSSBS Nikodin Matic.

 

This demand has resulted in an astonishing 32 expressions of interest in less than 24 hours since the initial post went up along with over 80 Facebook comments. WSU students have been encouraged to keep tagging their friends who are single and are ready to mingle, and we encourage expressions from all walks of life, including straight, bisexual and gay individuals. Ideally, the show is seeking a pool of 100 students which will ensure there are enough contestants to host fortnightly events with 3-4 individual contestants.

 

A couple of Universities have hosted a dating show based on “Take Me Out” throughout Europe, and the events have always sold out. Matic has no doubt that if WSU students give this event a go, they will be back for more and this will be a regular feature of our events calendar.

 

What is ‘Take Me Out’ about?

 

A host will guide the format to allow plenty of banter and fun. The original show only has 30 females, and one guy at a time. The WSU version will rotate it fortnightly so that it switches to 30 guys and one girl presenting at a time. Matic explains how the rounds will progress throughout the show as follows;

 

Round 1

The man enters the stage while busting some moves to a song of his choice where he meets the 30 girls (flirty 30) and says his name and where he is from. The girls can then turn off their lights if they aren’t impressed. “No likey, no lighty!”

 

Round 2

A pre-recorded video is presented of the man describing his personality and interests in a comedic way. At any point during the video, the girls can turn off their lights once again. “If he is not Mr Right, turn off your light.”

Round 3

The man can then either show a skill, talent or party trick live or a pre-recorded video of his friends or family describing him more. Sometimes the family and friends throw him under the bus for a laugh and a stitch-up while other times they help him out with the ladies.

Round 4

The power is given to the man this round as he gets to turn the lights off the remaining girls until just two are left lit. Alternatively, if only one or two girls are remaining from round 3, then round 4 is skipped entirely.

Round 5 

The host then reveals an interesting fact about one of those two girls, but doesn’t disclose which girl the fact is about The man then turns one light off and takes the girl whose light he left on, out.

 

 

The audience will then get an update on how their date went a few weeks later to see if it was a success.

 

INSIGHT: Take Me Out – Damion Merry: the most embarrassing moment EVER!! (4.2.12)

WSSBS is currently in negotiation with a couple of fabulous restaurants and activity providers to sponsor the event and provide a free date for the lucky couples.

The show will be recorded on zoom and edited and shared to the student cohort if the even has to take place online. Once COVID-19 restrictions ease, the event can take place on campus where WSSBS will organise someone to record and then edit and share the footage online.

 

If you’re looking for some isolation love, have run out of swipes on Tinder or are just looking for someone to bring to family functions, so relatives stop asking about your love life – it’s a sign you should apply and see what happens. Register your interest to be part of ‘Take Me Out’ here.