Arc @ UNSW Limited
UNSW Student Life
|Founded||15 August 2006|
Number of locations
|University of New South Wales|
The organisation supports the activities of student clubs, student volunteer programs such as orientation week, student publications, a student gallery and houses an elected student representative council. Arc operates the Roundhouse entertainment venue, the Whitehouse bar and café and the Graduation & Gift Store on UNSW's main campus in Kensington. Arc also operates a student support service, providing legal and academic advocacy.
Arc was established on 15 August 2006 and launched early the following year, taking over the functions of three existing student organisations.
In 2007, membership of Arc was free for UNSW students, of whom 18,000 (out of 40,000) signed up. In 2008 voluntary paid membership was introduced and membership dropped to around 2,800 students as of Day one, Week one, Semester one, 2008. However, in 2012, Arc membership became free as a result of the introduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).
- 1 Name
- 2 Structure
- 3 Publications
- 4 Student Representative Council
- 5 Arc Clubs and Societies
- 5.1 Club Awards and Prizes
- 5.2 Regular Clubs
- 5.2.1 UNSW Secret Society
- 5.2.2 UNSW PhotoClub
- 5.2.3 UNSW Culture Club
- 5.2.4 UNSW Falun Dafa Club
- 5.2.5 UNSW Latin Dance Society
- 5.2.6 UNSW Revues
- 5.2.7 UNSW Debating Society
- 5.2.8 UNSW UN Society
- 5.2.9 UNSW Whitlam Club
- 5.2.10 New South Wales University Theatrical Society
- 5.2.11 Film Society
- 5.2.12 Society of Orchestra and Pipers
- 5.2.13 D2MG
- 5.2.14 Chocolate Society
- 5.2.15 K-POP Society
- 5.2.16 Pokémon Society
- 5.3 Constituent Clubs
- 6 History
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The name Arc @ UNSW is derived from geometry, the shape of an umbrella being considered an apt metaphor for the organisation's role encompassing the spectrum of student life. The use of an asperand owes much to that symbol's ubiquity in computing, although it does not appear in the logo. UNSW has previously used the asperand to brand its association with the Australian Defence Force Academy, "UNSW@ADFA".
Arc has three constitutional student bodies:
- the Student Development Committee (SDC) - supporting clubs, volunteer programs, courses and activities;
- the Postgraduate Council (PGC) - representing the postgraduate community at UNSW; and
- an elected Student Representative Council (SRC).
The organisation runs a variety of volunteer programs, manages the university's annual orientation week (pictured), organises short courses and provides facilities for students such as a pottery studio, music rooms and a dance studio. Arc publishes a weekly events guide, Blitz, and a student newspaper, Tharunka.
Arc operates The Roundhouse, an iconic entertainment venue and bar.
In 2016, the Members of Arc voted to repeal and replace Arc's Constitution and adopt affirmative action for Student Director positions. The new clause mandates that at least half of the Student Director positions on the Board must be filled by women. Each year, there are four (4) Student Director positions up for election and at least two of these positions must be filled by women. The current composition of the Arc Board is:
- Eight (8) Student Directors (of which one (1) Director is appointed to the position of SDC Convenor).
- Two (2) Ex-Officio Student Directors (Presidents of the Student Representative Council and Postgraduate Council).
- Two (2) Alumni Directors.
- Two (2) UNSW Directors.
- One (1) CEO of Arc@UNSW Limited.
Further information: Past leaders of University of New South Wales student organisations
The first Chair of Arc was Kate Bartlett (2006/07 term); followed by Caitlin Hurley (2007/08 term), Simon Crawford-Ash (2008/09), Caroline Wallace (2009/10), Jessica Mobbs (2010/11), Natalie Karam (2011/12), Alex Peck (2012/13), Chris Mann (2013/14), Benjamin Heenan (2014/15), Tom Morrison (2015/16). The current Chair is Tina Zhou.
The current CEO of Arc is Brad Hannagan. The current SRC President is Sophie Johnston. The current PGC President is Nina Teroganova.
Notable former UNSW student politicians include activist David Madden and parliamentarians Kerry Nettle, Penny Sharpe, and David Coleman. Sharpe, along with Ken Fowlie, served as presidents of the National Union of Students of Australia. John Niland, who served as UNSW's vice-chancellor from 1992 until 2002, is a former UNSW Student Union president.
Arc produces a number of publications throughout the year. The two regular publications are Blitz, a bi-weekly What's On guide, and Tharunka, a student written magazine focusing on political issues. A number of annual publications are produced in conjunction with volunteer programs run by the organisation, such The International Cookbook, a compilation of student submitted recipes, Unsweetened, which showcases written pieces and Zing Tycoon, an artistic zine produced by College of Fine Arts students.
Blitz is a student magazine published bi-week in Session and O-Week by Arc @ UNSW, based at the University of New South Wales. Blitz under this name first appeared in session 2, 1988, but a similar "what's on" style publication had been issued by the then University Union since the early 1970s. Initially it consisted of a simple sheet or two of paper, but it evolved into its current magazine style format in session two 1994 when a former editor from another student publication on campus, Tharunka, was hired to found a weekly "What's on" magazine. Blitz sometimes pays for casual contributors for submitted articles and photographs and employs a student editor, student designer and two student writers.
Blitz typically covers the going's on around campus and conducts interviews and publishes stories relating to current student activities. It widely publicises Arc services and activities on campus. Due to its non-partisan policy, it does not cover political issues, with the exception of voluntary student unionism. However, in 2004 an edition of Blitz was withdrawn by the student union because it contained a guide to rolling a joint. The editor Janet Duncan claimed there had been censorship of her editorial in the following issue. Arc @ UNSW announced that the organisation would continue to publish the magazine after the introduction of voluntary student unionism in 2007.
Tharunka, meaning "message stick" in the language of the Aboriginal people local to the area, is a student newspaper originally published by the UNSW Students Union from 1953 until 1992, when that body was replaced by the University of New South Wales Student Guild. The Guild published Tharunka from 1993 until 2006 and the successor student organisation, Arc @ UNSW Limited, continued the publication of Tharunka from 2007.
Tharunka is managed by a small editorial team and actively solicits contributions from the UNSW student body. Including staff wages, the publication's budget is under $50,000 per year.
Student Representative Council
The SRC, formerly known as the Student Guild, is the peak representative body for students at UNSW. The role of the SRC is to advocate on behalf of students to the University, to Arc and to the wider public. It runs Collectives for student groups, organises activities and campaigns and works within the University's governance structure to advocate for students' interests.
The SRC comprises office bearers and 12 councillors. The council's role is to direct the Office Bearers and hold them accountable for their performance. The office bearers are:
- General Secretary
- Education Officer
- Welfare Officer
- Women's Officer
- International Students Officer
- Indigenous Officer
- Environment Officer
- Ethnocultural Officer
- 2 Queer Officers (one women-identifying)
- Students with Disabilities Officer
Elections for all positions are held in second session.
The SRC is affiliated to the National Union of Students.
Arc Clubs and Societies
Arc Clubs and Societies are overseen by the Student Development Committee, which is composed of three Clubs Representatives, two Volunteer Program Representatives, the CoFA Grants Committee Convenor along with the ex officio positions (SRC President, PGC President, Chair of the Board). Currently, there are approximately 240 clubs and societies affiliated with Arc. Arc Student Development facilities the clubs and societies at Kensington and COFA.
Club Awards and Prizes
Each year, the Student Development Committee award prizes to the best clubs and societies on campus including Arc Club of the Year (The Secret Society in 2012), New Arc Club of the Year (The Culture Club in 2012), Constituent Club of the Year (Medical Society in 2012) and Regular Club of the Year (Photo Club in 2012). There is also a people choice award for best club or society, which was awarded to the United Nations Society in 2012. The Club Event of the Year went to the Culture Club in 2012, and the Club Photo of the Year to Photo Club.
Regular clubs represent specific interest groups on campus, and appeal to a wide range of tastes and activities.
UNSW Secret Society
The most notorious club to surface at UNSW in recent years has been The Secret Society. Winner of Arc Club of the Year 2012, this society invites some of the most talented and intelligent students to join the ranks of the mysterious organisation. The Secret Society is the only invite only society at UNSW and selects students based on academic and extra curricular merit. It is rumoured that a wax sealed envelope will be given to the lucky recipient without them even realising they have been approached by a member.
UNSW PhotoClub is the hub for photographers from UNSW to develop and hone their skills, providing both an environment for discussion and the exchange of ideas. The club has nurtured many talented photographers whose interests cover a wide range of disciplines, including portraiture, photojournalism, fashion, street photography, advertising, documentary and fine art.
UNSW Culture Club
Provides cheap and discounted access to cultural events and activities in Sydney including theatre, movie nights, art galleries, opera and ballet. Each semester, the Culture Club runs a wine tour to different wine regions around Sydney.
UNSW Falun Dafa Club
Offers free weekly exercise classes to rejuvenate both mind and body.
UNSW Latin Dance Society
The Latin Dance Society offers affordable Latin dance classes for UNSW students, specialising in salsa and bachata. The teachers that serve this society are well-respected dance teachers with years of experience in teaching at all levels. The society offers classes from beginners to advanced level, with a focus on social dancing techniques. They organise several social dance events throughout the year, and are appreciated for their work in encouraging many new dancers into the Australian Latin dance community.
UNSW Revues provide some of the major theatrical comedy productions on campus each year.
UNSW Debating Society
The Society was ranked 11 in the 2008 World Universities Debating Rankings, slipping to 17 in 2009 but rising to 16 in 2010. It won the Australian British Parliamentary Debating Championship in 2004 and 2005.
UNSW UN Society
The Society was ranked the 10th best performing international Model UN university in the world, according to recent data by Best Delegate. This owes to their successes at WorldMUN and NMUN in 2013, where the UNSW delegates won 5 and 4 prizes respectively.
UNSW Whitlam Club
An affiliate of the NSW Labor Left, the Whitlam Club is the social apparatus of the Labor Left Students UNSW, a major political faction on campus. The club was founded in the 1990s on values of social justice, equality, and democratic socialism and is known for its involvement in campus and national activism. Many recent SRC presidents have become involved in advocacy and activism through the club, including Charisma Kaliyanda, Ross Willing, Joel Wilson, and Billy Bruffey.
New South Wales University Theatrical Society
The theatrical society produces many shows each year.
Screens modern and classic films every week during semester.
Society of Orchestra and Pipers
The society that runs the University's orchestra and wind band with UNSW through the Large Instrumental Music Ensembles (LIME) Committee.
The Hip Hop Society that runs dance classes.
The society fund raises money for charity with chocolate.
The society that spreads awareness of Korean music and culture around the university. There is only one of such type out of all Australian universities.
The society that runs events to spread awareness of Pokémon and provides free food on most events.
Each Program, School, Faculty or College on campus can form their own club or society. Examples include, the Actuarial Society (ASOC), Arts Society (ArtsSoc), Computer Science & Engineering Society (CSESoc), the Medical Society (MedSoc), UNSW Mathematics Society (MATHSOC), UNSW Economics Society (EcoSoc), UNSW Civil and Environmental Engineering Society (CEVSOC), UNSW Business Society (BSOC) and the UNSW Law Society (Lawsoc).
University of New South Wales Student Guild
The first student organisation at the university was the Students' Union (SU), established at the then New South Wales University of Technology on 8 September 1952 by the University Council. The SU was replaced by the Student Guild of Undergraduates and Postgraduates at the end of 1992. The last president of the SU was Jo Kaar of the National Organisation of Labor Students.
UNSW Student Guild
The University of New South Wales Student Guild of Undergraduates and Postgraduates (commonly referred to as the UNSW Student Guild) was the principal student union at the University of New South Wales. The Guild replaced the University of New South Wales Students' Union and the Postgraduate Representative Association on 1 January 1993. The Guild represented students at all faculties of the university save for the College of Fine Arts and the Australian Defence Force Academy. It had a constituent board for postgraduate students called the Postgraduate Board. The Guild's first President was Penny Sharpe, its last was Jesse Young. Membership of the Student Guild was compulsory for UNSW students at the Kensington campus until 1 July 2006. In late 2006, it commenced the process of winding up following the establishment of Arc @ UNSW.
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By the time of the Guild's establishment, student politicians from the left-wing National Organisation of Labor Students (NOLS) had established a firm ascendancy. In 1994, however, right-wing students running as Us polled unexpectedly well, beating the ticket of the president-elect, Warwick Adams, 4-to-1. In the end, a complex network of preference deals between left-wing groups locked Us out.
A major phenomenon in National student politics at the time, the Non-Aligned Left represented centre-left coalition that avoided the extremism of radical activist groups like Love and Rage or Resistance. At UNSW they were in many ways populist predecessors to the Everybody phenomenon and, later, Students First in that they exploited links within the campus club and society community to gain power. Reminiscent of Democrats and (at the NUS level) Independent factions, they gathered a very significant volume of support at UNSW and on other campuses around the country. The Guild President in 1993, Alex Hanlon, was prototypical of the group which later involved Amanda Graupner (later the last NUS delegate from the NAL and a member of the Australian Democrats) and Greg Moore (also the president of the UNSW Union but not related to the UNSW Students' Union President of similar name).
As if to mirror the defeat of the federal Australian Labor Party in 1996, after 13 years in office, right-wing students under the Everybody banner came to power under David Coleman. But the key to Everybody's success was not right-wing ideology: it was instead a strategic alliance with international students, coupled with a formidable network amongst colleges and clubs.
Non-left groups were to hold the Guild for seven of the next eight years thanks to this formula as a coalition of nonaligned, centrist and conservative students build a formidable get-out-the-vote machine though links to the residential colleges and communities of foreign students at UNSW. During this time, Australian Liberal Students Federation and National Liaison Committee-aligned student politicians, along with a large number of genuinely non-aligned students from the faculties of law, medicine and engineering, running under the Everybody, U'n'I and SpeakOut! banners, prospered.
In the 2000 elections, however, the Everybody/U'n'i/SpeakOut! group fell apart. Without a core political base beyond the personalities of key individuals there was little to hold it together. This disintegration had been in place since the resignation of Nina Pham and the increasing tensions between the Guild Council and Tharunka. The election was poorly contested and a left-wing alliance of "Student Power" candidates led by members of the National Organisation of Labor Students (NOLS) in conjunction with identities from the National Broad Left (NBL), and other unaligned leftist and environmental activists, capitalised on the situation. Student Power pursued a more radical and activist political agenda. The new administration's budget dramatically increased funding to the Guild's activist departments and related collectives, dipping into the Guild's reserves.
A fissure of the NBL and NOLS alliance, coupled with the Guild's failure to cultivate affiliated clubs, helped propel the Labor Right-linked Students First ticket to victory at the 2001 election - with over 70 per cent of the vote.Students First, founded by Sam O'Leary and David Hughes, was based around the UNSW Labor Club (of which O'Leary was the President) and linked to the Australian Labor Party and the Student Unity faction (of which O'Leary and Hughes were, at the time, the State and National convenors respectively). Despite this political core, the ticket had a very broad support base, derived from college students and members of a large number of campus clubs and societies. Students First campaigned on a platform of reducing Guild activism on global non-student political "activist" issues in favour of a strong focus on the needs of students, the politics of higher education and lobbying on campus-specific issues.
Students First sought to undo what they perceived as the fiscal irresponsibility of the previous administration and redirect funding into clubs and societies. The Guild participated actively in the Federal Government's review of Higher Education in Australia, making a series of submissions to the Senate. This tied in with the group's ideological focus on education and student issues rather than engagement in broader political movements such as the anti-globalization movement, which it claimed was a misuse of student money, no matter how valid such movements might be on their own terms.
The 2003 Guild election saw the incumbent Students First group in decline as experienced people moved away. Students First faced a renewed challenge from National Organisation of Labor Students (Power) and Australian Liberal Students Federation (Your Own University) candidates. Power and Your Own University both outpolled Students First. But Power's candidates were controversially excluded by returning officer Andrew Phanartzis after the ticket was caught with campaigners from outside the university—grounds for disqualification under the regulations. Power's preferences flowed to Students First, nudging the incumbents ahead of Your Own University.
In response, NOLS, the dominant National Union of Students faction, ruled the NUS component of the ballot invalid, excluding the UNSW delegation from the organisation's national conference. The decision was reversed in a deal between NOLS and Student Unity, NUS being unwilling to forfeit the Student Guild's $135,000 affiliation fee.
In 2004, the Guild joined calls for then UNSW Vice Chancellor Rory Hume to be dumped for his role in the Bruce Hall scandal. When the embattled Vice Chancellor resigned in April, then Guild President Courtney Roche told ABC Radio that "Hume has simply meant more fees for students." Roche later told Tharunka that Hume's handling of the Hall whistleblowers had been "shocking".
In November 2004, the Guild was attacked by The Daily Telegraph columnist Michael Duffy for attempting to prevent the expression of support for voluntary student unionism at UNSW. "Student politics is still notoriously corrupt and secretive," Duffy wrote, reporting that "the editors of the student union magazine Tharunka, have been told by the Guild Council ... not to publish articles in support of voluntary unionism."
Students First won the 2001, 2002 and 2003 elections—though the results of the last election were rejected by the heavily favoured NOLS opposition. In 2004, Students First pushed through changes to the Guild's constitution in order to make better use of the organisation's resources. This proved a high water mark for the group, which spent most of the latter part of the 2004 term fighting internal battles.
In 2004, the University of New South Wales Postgraduate Board, hitherto an autonomous department of the Guild, indicated its intention to split from the Guild.
The 2004 election was won by the National Broad Left (NBL) and NOLS-linked Power ticket, with Students First only a token presence on the ballot paper.
In 2005, the Guild attracted negative publicity in the mainstream and student press after it offered monetary incentives to campus clubs in return for getting students to attend a protest against voluntary student unionism. Then president Manoj Dias-Abey defended the $500 prize pool as educative. Education Minister Brendan Nelson dismissed the Guild's protest, telling The Sydney Morning Herald that "The average, normal students whose compulsorily collected fees are paying for this sort of rent-a-crowd have probably had enough. This is a perfect example of how they continue to be forced to pay for activities that they may not need or want."
In the 2005 election the incumbents under a new name of Voice defeated a combined Unity/Liberal challenge with an overwhelming majority. The election highlighted in particular the effectiveness in strategic alliances between large student clubs and societies with politically affiliated tickets. On the first day of polling, over 85 campaigners from Voice were seen to march down the main walkway. "It was a sea of red" claimed one bystander. This election was the subject of a student-made documentary, Politics 101: Big Fish, Little Pond, timed to observe student politics as the implementation of voluntary student unionism drew closer. Voice won the 2006 election, students electing Jesse Young as President. The Guild's position on a restructure presented the maintenance of almost all of their expenses as a minimum position during a 2005 review of student organisation services.
Voice's reign as a coalition of Labor Left, National Independent, and Greens-aligned students was prolonged by the presence of Osman Faruqi of the UNSW Greens. Faruqi was elected as a councillor in 2008, became SRC President for the 2010 term, and in 2011 was the first student elected to a consecutive term since 1956. The 2012 election was strongly contested by a coalition of Labor Right and Liberal-aligned students running under Stand Up!, receiving 45% of the vote, but Voice remained in power until 2014.
In the most recent elections, the alliance between Labor Left and the Greens-aligned students broke down over disagreements about the inclusion of Student Unity candidates onto the Voice ticket for the 2015 SRC. When the UNSW Independents and Greens rejected a deal that would have ensured an uncontested election, Labor Left broke off from the Voice alliance and formed a new alliance with Labor Right, known as Activate. In an extremely close election, during which the Activate ticket was banned for one and a half days of the five-day voting period, the Voice ticket, now composed solely of Independent, Greens-aligned, and Socialist Alternative candidates, was defeated on a margin of 90 votes out of the 4,210 cast.
University of New South Wales Union
In 1959, the university established the University of New South Wales Union to provide campus services. Though the Union shared a membership base with the Students' Union, its higher membership fees and control of on-campus retailing immediately made it the larger of the two organisations. The overlaps between their respective roles were to be contested for the next 45 years.
At the beginning of 2006, the Union rebranded, referring to itself as the Source.
The Source was primarily involved in providing student services such as retail outlets, entertainment and social activities. It also ran events including Orientation Week, Oktoberfest, Sourcefest, weekly dance parties and the weekly Blitz magazine which included a What's On guide for the Kensington Campus.
In late 2006, it commenced the process of winding up following the establishment of Arc @ UNSW.
College of Fine Arts Students' Association
The College of Fine Arts Students' Association (COFASA) began life in the mid-1970s as the Art Club at what was then called the Alexander Mackie College. The club was formed to cater to the specific needs of tertiary students of fine arts. At the end of the decade, a Student Representative Council was formed. In 1990, the council changed its name to the College of Fine Arts Students' Association to reflect its broader focus.
The COFASA operated as a 'single structure' student union combining political representation with service delivery. The organisation maintained retail spaces, a student common room and various publications. In addition, it performed a student advocacy role and sent delegates to the National Union of Students.
In late 2006, it commenced the process of winding up following the establishment of Arc @ UNSW.
In 2005, the Federal Parliament passed legislation making membership of student unions voluntary for the first time. This policy, known as voluntary student unionism (VSU), threatened the funding model behind the four UNSW student organisations with compulsory membership provisions.
A report commissioned by the university administration recommended that three of those organisations – the Student Guild of Undergraduates and Postgraduates, the University of New South Wales Union and the College of Fine Arts Students' Association – merge into a single student organisation, a structure in use at the University of Melbourne.
A new company was registered under the name ACN 121 239 674 Limited in August 2006. A transitional board with representatives from the university and existing student organisations managed the process over the following six months. The expected fall in membership fee revenue forced the company to significantly reduce the number of staff – two-thirds of the organisations' 300 paid positions were axed.
The organisation's final structure was adopted on the basis of a report from consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.
A variety of names were considered by the company before "Arc" was settled upon. The Union, having rebranded as "the Source" in 2006, was of the view that the term "union" was a liability for student unions: organisations such as Students At Macquarie had also moved in this direction. While discussions continued, the company was simply called ACN 121 239 674 Limited or the "New Student Organisation". The "Arc" brand was launched in early 2007.
- Australian student politics
- National Union of Students of Australia
- Voluntary student unionism
- University of New South Wales
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