Our two newest female College Councillors, Sasha Kovic and Eleanor Cheetham, are former Andrew’s women, both freshers in 2005. They enjoy great success in their respective fields and the College looks forward to working with them closely moving forward.
When were you at St Andrew’s?
Sasha: I was a St Andrew’s fresher in 2005 and had my arm twisted to stay for a fourth year in 2008 as one of the inaugural Sub‐Deans. There were only three of us in our year and it wasn’t the norm to stay so long but I really got a lot out that extra year at College.
Eleanor: I arrived at Andrew’s as a fresher in 2005. I had my interview with the principal over the phone from Greece where I was travelling at the time during my gap year, and flew home just before moving in. My brother and father also went to Andrew’s so they were very encouraging of me follow suit! I was at Drew’s for the next three years.
Where are you from originally?
Sasha: I grew up on a cattle property near Bungendore NSW and went to school in Canberra.
Eleanor: I grew up on a farm between Goulburn and Braidwood in the NSW Southern Tablelands – always proud to be part of the country kid contingent at College.
Can you tell us about your experience at St Andrew’s?
Sasha: My parents always say that I enjoyed a four year gap year. I tend to agree. The calendar was always jam packed full of sport, events and nights out and I somehow managed time to squeeze in some study. Chatting in the dining hall for 1.5 hours at lunch while enjoying multiple trips to the buffet seems like such a luxury now. Not only did I meet wonderful people at St Andrew’s who will be lifelong friends, I also became great mates with many from Intercol in my senior years. In fact, 10 years on from starting College, I’m having a great time sharing a house with two girls from my fresher year.
Eleanor: In a few sentences?! Suffice to say that the highlight of my time at Drews was the concoction of great people who have become my closest friends today. We spent our years at Drew’s madly running between everything on offer; from initiation to sporting field, music performance, memories of many great nights and the occasional VD (they were a little more scarce then than they are now)!
What did you do at College and/or University that you are most proud of?
Sasha: Well I can claim that I ate 7.5 meat pies in 30 minutes for charity, a challenge that I won’t undertake again!
Eleanor: For me it wasn’t really about individual contributions – it was always a group effort and shared experience. Bringing home Drew’s first Rosebowl was a brilliant day for the college, and I still remember very clearly how proud our boys were of us for doing so. Runner up is hard to choose between carrying the haggis and surviving walkabout…
What have you been up to since you left College?
Sasha: After completing a combined degree in Civil Engineering and Commerce (Finance) I worked with two construction companies, Brookfield Multiplex and Richard Crookes Constructions, building university student accommodation, high‐rise residential apartments and a hospital in Sydney. Recently I switched roles from being a builder to a developer and am working as a Project Manager for Frasers Property Australia (formerly known as Australand).
Eleanor: During my time at College I began working with Australian Galleries. I continued managing their Sydney operation staging exhibitions with established Australian artists for six years, then moved overseas to throw myself into the deep end of New York’s art world. I directed a contemporary gallery in Manhattan and travelled around the east coast art fairs. Returning home I have managed private art collections and public exhibitions like Sculpture by the Sea. Now it’s time to do it myself as I am planning to open my own contemporary gallery (Gallery & Tonic) in Surry Hills, Sydney during 2016. It’s a great journey to be travelling.
Why did you join Council? How did that come about?
Sasha: As luck would have it, I was working across the road from St Andrew’s, building the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA Hospital. I had the chance to catch up with John Seargent, the Vice Principal of the College at the time, who mentioned that the College was about to embark on the Harper Master Plan and wanted to nominate some new Councillors with a property/building background. They were also keen to elect the first female alumna. Ticking both those boxes, I realised that I would be able to offer the College some of my construction expertise, so I then agreed to be nominated.
Eleanor: Wayne Erickson had been sending subtle hints in my direction to join Council for a few years, so when a vacancy arose he and Chairman Charlie Taylor asked me whether I would be a nominee. After a great conversation over a long lunch about the College’s future and potential for residential life moving forward, I happily accepted their invitation. I guess it’s a way of giving back, and helping shape the involvement the College has with the broader community.
Can you tell us about your involvement on Council? (Committees etc)
Sasha: I’m a member of both the Major Works Committee and more recently the Operations Committee. For Major Works we are developing the design and implementation of the Harper Master Plan, which involves several new buildings on the College grounds including a post graduate wing and a Learning and Performing Arts Centre (LPAC). It’s exciting being involved in the design of a new College building including looking at how to improve the post graduate community experience and also making it enticing for 4th and 5th year students too. There’s also a lot of the pressure to ensure each building has the right look and architectural harmony, so we don’t upset the Alumni!
For the Operations Committee, we review the day to day operations of College. We discuss issues such as the Thyne building renovation programed for this summer, evaluating the best internet servers and monitoring the kitchen food budget. It’s a fascinating insight as to how this organisation is run. Council is comprised of a very impressive group of people who are adding great value to the College from their work and life experience. We meet monthly and each Committee provides an update on their work progress. We discuss what’s working well and perhaps what’s lacking in the College and receive direct feedback from the Senior Student.
Eleanor: I am the Chair of the Residential Life Committee. I’m new to Council so at this stage for me it’s about learning and contributing the best way I can through my background and experience. I am thrilled to see such a diverse group of members on Council – there is a great mix of ages and perspectives, which is so important for growth.
What do you hope to achieve during your time on Council?
Sasha: I’m very pleased to be involved with Council at such a significant time in improving the College grounds. I’m hoping to produce some exceptional building facilities for the College that will improve the all‐round experience of College Life for St Andrew’s students.
Eleanor: The College is a brilliant melting pot of great people. My area of interest is the continued well-being of College life, maintaining the culture of great traditions while embracing new ideas and connections to the community outside of the College gates.