Meet Philippa Bucknell (Fr 2021), who has been voted on to the University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council. Her role as a councillor of the 94th USYD SRC commences in 2022.
Philippa, who grew up in Gunning, a small country town between Goulburn and Yass, is studying a Bachelor of Arts / Advanced Studies majoring in Politics and International Relations. We caught up with Pip to find out more.
Why did you apply to become a SRC Rep?
The SRC gives me the opportunity to make meaningful change in areas I am really passionate about, such as supporting rural and regional students, as well as being a voice for the college community.
Becoming more involved in leadership opportunities had been on my mind since I joined the university. After participating in the John Howard Debating Cup I knew student politics on campus was going to be beneficial to my future. USYD’s Student Representative Council is the perfect place to expand my political connections beyond the college grounds. Furthermore, many successful politicians have started their careers as Presidents of the University of Sydney SRC due to its networking opportunities. Through the busy campaigning and election process, I have gained real life experience.
How did you find the election process?
The process of being elected to the SRC, has helped me build my campaigning and organisational skills. To be nominated, I needed to find other ticket members and a campaign manager, define our brand “Wave for Colleges” and outline a policy statement. Learning about factual allegiances amongst other candidates has been eye-opening. The process from nomination to election was very busy – constant Zoom meetings, updating potential voter spreadsheets and reaching out to campaigners.
I gained a lot of confidence from the encouragement from college residents and the behind-the-scenes work of my ticket members. A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported me! There was also a significant marketing aspect to the campaign, with Facebook posts, events and pages created to raise awareness. The election was held over three days and one of the important things I have learned is that consistent communication and personal contact can make a big difference in encouraging someone to vote for you.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
This position allows me to advocate for change in areas where I feel we can improve life for USYD students. I will be further exploring my proposed policies, such as supporting the ongoing recognition of colleges as an historical and fundamental part of the university. Due to my rural upbringing, I am also passionate about the support for and expansion of USYD’s rural and regional student community. The SRC of 2022 will play a crucial role in helping students approach a post-pandemic life and I am committed to bringing back social events that offer an essential part of the university experience.
What other activities have you taken part in at College?
Despite the pandemic, St Andrew’s has continued to offer us all a multitude of co-curricular activities to take part in, both social and academic. Currently I am running the St Andrew’s Instagram page with a group of freshers, which is great experience towards my Arts/Marketing major. Additionally, I have participated in the ‘We Need to Talk’ sessions run by senior students, which provide an opportunity to debate controversial issues. I have enjoyed participating in interviews for prospective St Andrew’s students and representing the college at the USYD open day. In addition to this, there are lots of opportunities to participate in social games of touch football, basketball, or tennis.
What made you choose St Andrew’s?
St Andrew’s stood out for me straight away when I was deciding to apply for residency. The success of students after they leave the campus is demonstrated in the College’s influential alumni. Furthermore, everyday student life includes a packed social calendar, balanced with a focus on consistent work ethic and academic standards. St Andrew’s has offered me support academically through personal tutorials, in addition to the strong presence of pastoral care leaders. However, the main reason I joined St Andrew’s is to challenge myself. Students here are undeniably motivated and therefore competitive, making the St Andrew’s experience so unique and valuable.
Has St Andrew’s supported you to achieve your goals?
St Andrew’s has already fostered some incredible opportunities for me in my fresher year. The students are ambitious and focused on their goals, an environment which has allowed me to really decide where I will head in my future career. Additionally, through the subject-based tutorials run by older students, I have been given so much support in the transition from high school to university. I was encouraged by the College community to run a campaign and get elected.