Here’s All the Undergraduate Candidates for the 2020 UNSW Council

By Jo Bradley

Voting for the UNSW Council ends tomorrow (Monday the 29th, at 4pm). If you’re a UNSW student, you are probably vaguely aware of the elections because of the scandalous outing of then-candidate Claudia McDonnell’s racist social media posts via the UNSW Discussion Group (McDonnell has since exited the election after receiving widespread criticism).

While the McDonnell situation has been very exciting, it’s important to focus on the candidates who are still actually running. As Tharunka Editor Henry Chen writes “While these events may have increased voter turnout and attention on the elections, the implosion of McDonnell’s campaign has drawn scrutiny away from other candidates.”

Firstly, if you’re unsure what the UNSW Council is, have a read of Tharunka Sub-Editor Jack Zhou’s simple explainer, where he describes the Council as an “executive committee that approves all the major decisions of UNSW”.

Here are the 37 candidates vying for the one unpaid position on the UNSW Council, and the personal statements they submitted (as available on the Big Pulse website when you go to vote). If you want to learn about how these candidates responded to Tharunka’s questions about representing UNSW students, our candidate’s intentions, and how they plan to respond to the Federal Government’s proposal to raise university fees, see Tharunka Editor Henry’s recent interview with candidates.

These candidates are listed in the order they appear on the Big Pulse voting website. The link to the voting form has been emailed to all of you via your student email. These statements have been copy-pasted directly as they appear on the Big Pulse form, with no changes.

Jia Song

I have already studied in UNSW for 4 years and I am major in criminology and criminal justice. I usually care about current affairs and news with listening to the voice from different stands. In most times, I have more focussed on the rights of daily life and submit my feedback to varying sectors. University is so important to our study, everyone of the uni has been responsible to contribute oneself to make it better. The Council may achieve this goal by receiving advice from students, so I believe that I can keep in eye finding problems and addressing them with other mates in this council.

I have done some kinds of executive jobs in the past several years, I feel confidence in collecting materials, making drafts and writing up reports. I am a fast learner to familiar with all processes that we need of the council.

Hannah Loh

Hello all! I’m Hannah, a 2nd year Medicine student 😊 Undeniably, our learning has been disrupted by COVID-19. But I have been blown away by the resilience of our student and staff body. We have bounced back from a situation that could have undermined our learning, to instead come together and work even harder to make the best out of the online learning we have available to us. As we slowly return to normalcy, I want to ensure we don’t simply return to the status quo. Instead, I hope to bring forward your ideas and plans as we work towards innovating our learning environments for our digital future, whilst still ensuring we all have access to the physical resources we need, especially for placements and practicals. I hope you will give me the honour of representing you as we work together to lead in this new and different world.

Hariram Sathasivan

I am a suitable candidate for this position, as I have an interest in helping the university achieving the mission by participating in planning of the academic and extracurricular activities. I have prior leadership experience in school as a House Leader, in which I was involved in organising events such as sports carnivals and house meetings in which I achieved a high engagement of students by encouraging students to take responsibility and celebrate the success of the team. I am sure I can make a similar impact on the propagation of the mission of UNSW amongst students.

Moreover, due to my educational background (I am currently studying B Actuarial Studies/Commerce) I have developed skills on how to utilise the university budget to create the most beneficial impact on the university.

Jennifer Lin

I’m a first-year student in UNSW, majoring in Actuarial Studies. With great passion and enthusiasm, I feel honored to make a precise statement for this election as members of university council.

I had been elected as an assistant president of Public Relation Department during my high school times. Although I barely have experience of being a member in school’s council, but there are a lot similarities between the work I had done as an assistant president and council members. I have superior leadership and great communication skill after the three-year working experience in Public Relation Department. Additionally, I had a pretty good relationship with my group members and I treat them as my intimate siblings – we love each other.

In short words, I am competent in doing this job with abundant confidence. Also, I personally see this election as an trial for me so even I’m not been elected

Alexander Crawford

“Hi! I’m Alex, a second year at UNSW. As undergraduate representative on the UNSW council, I will stand for the best interests of the university as a whole, including the student body and staff. I believe that I will be able to advocate for issues raised about our university, both by staff and students, and that I will incorporate this into overseeing the university’s performance and success.

I’m running because I want the voices of everyone at our university to be heard – I may not be the most qualified or experienced, as only a second year, but I am the most passionate about representing the student body and helping student concerns be addressed. I feel incredibly lucky to have such great staff and students here at UNSW, and I really love the culture and want to do everything I can to ensure it thrives. Thank you (:”

Haonan Zhong       

Hello everyone! My name is Haonan ZHONG, or you can call me Echo. I am a first-year student studying in Computer Science. I came from China. As a student, I enjoy the process of working hard to solve problems in my studies and willing to do my best to help the people around me. After school, calligraphy, playing erhu and drums are favourite things.

Furthermore, during middle and high school life, I have been responsible for class management, and also have experience in participating in student unions, which has played a vital role in improving my communication and teamwork skills. In my opinion, communication, team leadership and cooperation are my strengths. Now being a member of UNSW, I do hope to contribute my energy to the school. I will sincerely appreciate that, and it will be my glory to be in the UNSW Council.

Timothy Morsanuto

As a rural student living on Campus, I consider you -my cohort- to be like my family. The friendly, welcoming attitude of so many UNSW students and staff have inspired me to give back by applying for this position. I’m in awe of the diversity and respect that abounds in our campus, as well as through our (now online) classrooms and lecture halls. I find myself naturally drawn to admin roles within my course, and I’m sure many would know me as the devout manager of many Messenger group chats for students of ANAT, BABS and Math. During these unprecedented times, I will strive to bring our community together through the internet and drive positive change in our attitudes toward online classwork and communication. Beyond the gradual post-COVID return to normal, I will continue to speak as a united voice for my fellow Undergraduate students. Thank you all.

Princy Thakkar

Hi. I am Princy Thakkar from India. I am student of Actuarial Studies. I secured 97% in my Year 12 examinations. I was a prefect at my high school which helped me equip with leadership and conflict management skills. I have even participated in various MUNs and have played the role of forum moderator. Moreover, this polished my oratory skills and broadened my knowledge. I have even learnt C programming, Advance Excel, programming in excel, Xero Accounting Software during my gap year after high school. My other hobbies include baking and cooking. If given a chance, I shall work with utmost sincerity and discipline and shall prove to be a valuable asset.

Alexander Humphreys

I am an Arts/Law student experienced in representing student concerns in education institutions, including senior leadership positions at school and as a 2020 Law Faculty Student Representative. My representation skills and relationship forming capabilities with leadership will facilitate constructive discussions on pressing issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably force change, therefore there has never been a more important time for students to be active in decision-making processes at UNSW. I will advocate for changes which improve education quality, emphasise student well-being and celebrate diversity.

During my time at UNSW, I have met students from multiple Faculties and diverse cultural backgrounds. My understanding of student experiences enables me to effectively represent undergraduate students. Acknowledging I cannot perfectly understand the concerns of a 35,000 strong community, I will actively listen to students to be the most representative voice possible.

I would be honoured to serve the undergraduate student community in this role.

Jack Petersen

If you’re from UNSW Discussion Group, vote to #SaveJackPetersen

Otherwise, read on. Many people will tell you it’s easier to get a job at Deloitte than your first appointment at CAPS on-campus. Especially for someone like me, who was just beginning to overcome social anxiety when I first came to UNSW in 2018.

This is not good enough, and as UNSW stares down a revenue collapse in the hundreds of millions of dollars, now more than ever we must protect the wellbeing of the student body.

That’s why as council member I will veto any budgetary or policy amendment which undermines CAPS, Wellness Warriors, Student Minds or any other mental health group on-campus. I will also strive to improve these services; our most vulnerable students should not have to jump through hoops to get help.

I’m the mental health candidate in this election, and I hope I’ve earned your vote.

Weiming Ma

Strive to help everyone in need, especially during this time of the year where lots of international students are facing difficulties. I am warmhearted and able to speak in both English and Mandarin that helps in forming strong and stable relationships with Asia international students. Even though i am not sure what exactly i should be doing as a council member, but i am willing to do my best in making everyone’s life better.

Fiamma Kitching

Hello my name is Fiamma, I am currently a third year student enrolled in a dual degree Fine Arts/Social Science. My majors are writing, media studies, painting and textiles when I am not a University I work in the Arts sector as a songwriter and artist. The Arts are recognised as one of the most vulnerable and poorly remunerated industries, I would like to offer advocacy in a professional manner to see students are representing UNSW to world class standards, as well as receive world class discrimination free tuition. I have a teaching background and worked in social services.

All the best to all nominees.


Vishaal Darshan Somaiya

I have no record – most you voting right now are either standing for the post yourself or voting for a friend who has convinced you to vote. Since this is a secret vote, so let me offer you the reader a proposition. Life is give and take so I would like to take your vote and give you – information. Don’t think of me as a representative but rather a librarian, If you have any questions about UNSW small or big, scandalous or mundane you can ask me and I promise you I will get you the honest answer especially if I have to create a ruckus with people like Ian Jacobs for it cause I’m a fan for some nice drama and I don’t care about university politics/secrecy. I’m doing this for the fun of it and because I couldn’t be school captain according to my therapist .

Calista Kusuma

I have a passion for making an impact, and this is what I want to do through the UNSW Council. My experiences range from being an Analytical Journalist where I craft pieces analysing key issues and interviewing industry experts, a Marketing Coordinator, and an Industry Consulting Project with PwC (COMM2233 course), as well as development programs with BCG, McKinsey and Bloomberg. These have grown my communication, intuition, and analytical thinking. I’m actively involved in the student community too- currently being a founding Co-President at the UNSW FinTech Society and previously a director at Capital W and Com(Int)Soc. These grew my understanding of student needs, which I hope to bring to the Council. UNSW enabled me to grow to my full potential- I want to play a part in the university’s mission to help others do the same, and give back to a place that has given so much to me.

Ahad-Anhiang Zafar

My name is Ahad-Anhiang Zafar and I am running for council because I want to contribute to the University. One of my key initiatives will involve trying to engage more of the student community by creating incentives for students to become more involved. I know that although students are quite engaged, there is still a large population who feel disclosed, so my aim is to help them get more out of the University experience.

Stephen Bletsas

This is my second year at UNSW Sydney studying a Bachelor of software Engineering/Commerce. I believe that being part of the UNSW council committee, I would play an important role in bridging together all undergraduate students among the staff, faculties and administration by representing them. I consider myself to be a hard-working, good team player who is willing to learn quickly in order to fulfil my roles and responsibilities to the best they can be. If given the opportunity to be a member, I would be glad to contribute my personal time and effort in making the difference for the committee and the campus community.

John Economides

I am John Economides a second year undergraduate student currently undertaking a bachelors of Actuarial Studies and Mathematics. On campus I am involved throughout many societies, holding an executive role, being a peer mentor and simply being a member in societies based around all things, from sports to politics to degrees. UNSW has shown nothing but positivity and support for me to follow all my personal endeavours and I hope to be able to return the favour and I believe my background in many different areas of student life as well as my business degree allows to add a unique and valuable perspective to the UNSW Council.

Avreet Kaur

There is a key need for a strong voice, and I believe I can be that voice. For me, change is about working hard and coming up with logical solutions that will have a long term impact. It’s about providing solutions that can be implemented instead of just talking about what needs to be fixed- so I am passionate to make a difference.

Jack Campbell

As a second year Medicinal Chemistry student who spent a gap year in the military I am passionate about improving the UNSW experience for students. It is my firm belief that the university is capable of promoting a culture that focuses on putting students and staff first. I will bring this about by ensuring a student-focused bounce-back plan as university life returns from COVID-19. This will be in conjunction with overseeing a more equitable funding distribution of the Student Services and Amenities Fee. Improving mental health services is vital in maintaining a strong supportive culture amongst undergraduate students. Furthermore, I will aim to develop connections between undergraduates and industry partners so that students have greater direction into their professional lives. Through my experience as a Yellow Shirt and a member of Enactus I am certain we can forge a more transparent relationship between the UNSW administration and students.

Ashlee James

Hi, I’m Ashlee !

My motivation as a nominee is to make a positive difference, and have the opportunity to ensure that the views of students at UNSW are heard.

I believe I am suitable for the position, as I’ve had the opportunity to partake in multiple positions of leadership in the past. This includes being the student representative on the ‘School Board Council’ in High School, and a member of the Leadership Class/SRC.These positions involved conveying student feedback, expressing project proposals, event planning, volunteering and fundraising, and the improvement of school facilities within budget.

My proudest achievement whilst on the School Board was pushing for the construction of unisex bathrooms (a proposal voiced by my peers) in addition to the preexisting female and male bathrooms. The project was approved and implemented before graduation.

I know that I can make a positive difference, and hope you consider my candidacy


Yujiao Jin

I am a student of the science department

Peoly Gunaratne

As a first year student passionate about climate justice and uniting the racial divide, if elected into the Student Council I will push for UNSW to take a more active role in promoting the importance of sustainability throughout University, push for greater social justice funding to be provided to support the projects of collectives and prioritise student welfare and health at all times. Having co founded a non for profit youth led organisation Provokewoke and being an active facilitator for United Nations Youth, I have countless experience in creating and leading successful campaigns that champion the needs of students and have experience effectively communicating the demands of young people in a way that results in tangible change. I support the fight against all discrimination, not simply through symbolic events but through systemic revision of university processes that will help dismantle prejudice and ultimately work to unite the UNSW student body.

Isaac Gresham

I believe that I would be well-suited for the role as I have a passionate love for learning and am a hardworking individual. Over the course of my first semester at UNSW Canberra, I have thoroughly enjoyed studying all my Bachelor of Arts subjects and look forward to studying future courses provided by the university. As a result, I am highly vested in ensuring a positive future for UNSW Canberra and this role would provide the means to be apart of the management team who ensures such. In addition to a thorough appreciation for the university and the opportunities it provides for students, I am a hard-worker who will constantly seek to achieve established strategic goals. I have consistently demonstrated this through a high level of engagement in all my classes and a strong commitment to achieving quality results throughout the semester.

Arsham Emad

Hello. I am a first year student studying a Bachelor of Software Engineering/Master of Biomedical Engineering. Having been fortunate enough to attend the best engineering program in the country at UNSW from Tasmania on a scholarship I have come to experience UNSW’s fantastic academic activities, through coursework, and the exceptional community here driven to enable all to succeed in their goals. I want to give back by contributing to help shape the future of UNSW. For this reason, I tender my nomination for the UNSW Council Staff and Student Elections 2020. I have had prior successful experiences as a council member in my prior town’s youth advisory council and my secondary school’s student representative council, where I initiated my own project to approval and funding. I believe with such supportive people our university can continue to excel for the benefit of all. The best to all the other candidates.

Yiran Zheng

My name is Yiran (Betty) Zheng.

I am here to nominate myself for being a member of the UNSW student council. Clearly, I understand that such a position would require selfless dedication and continuous development of personality. Therefore, in life, I have never stopped working hard, aiming to fulfill life purpose. I am dedicated to making real-world contributions and boosting educational success through technical proficiencies and diverse skill sets.

Ambitious Student in the final year of Economics bachelor degree (the University of New South Wales) with solid academic achievement, demonstrated commitment and integrity.

Over 3 years of distinguished education-related employment history as academic assistance, student coordinators, course consultant, and tutor for a range of university courses, so from a student’s perspective, I can say that “WE KNOW WHAT OUR VOICES”

Chris Li

Name: Chris Li (Quanyu Li) Nationality: China

Faculty: Engineering Major: Computer Science


2009-2012: Served as a member of the Student Council in elementary school dedicating to deal with school affairs. And I participated in the preparation of the school anniversary celebration for many times.

2012-2019: During the stage of middle school and high school, I served in the Student Union and was elected as an outstanding student cadre at the district level. I also elected as Wuhan education image ambassador.


I am outgoing and have the quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability.

I have strong self-confidence, with excellent leadership skills and the huge advantage of coordination.

I am full of resources in any emergency and able to stay calm all the time.

I have always been a good listener and constantly listen to others’ opinions to improve myself.

Gracia Yu

My name is Gracia, a second-year undergraduate student studying in commerce and actuarial double degree. Since stepping into the school, UNSW has offered immense help to every aspect of my life, thus I value this council position as an opportunity to give back to the university.

Having had a strong mathematics foundation, it empowers me to have a clear, strategic, and logical mind. Furthermore, my developed communication skills, as well as my bilingualism (in both English and Chinese Mandarin), allows for simpler converse with the fellow UNSW community, such that I can better learn your concerns, as well as hear out your suggestions on how to improve the school and your own university experiences with efficiency.

The necessity for a council member is the passion to make our UNSW a better place. I am ready to devote all my diligence, empathy, innovation, and vision to the good of the school.

Dongfang Qu

I have been in charge of general secretary of Student Council in China who is responsible for planning meetings for college leaders and budgeting of all activities. Furthermore, I have already been studying in UNSW for about one year so that I know well about how things can be improved. And I appreciate if you could give me this chance.

Lisa Tarantino

I have been a UNSW student since T1 2020. I also work as a Research Administrator and volunteer as a Scenario Group Facilitator within the Faculty of Medicine. As I bridge the divide between student and staff, I believe I can contribute a unique perspective to the UNSW Council and help establish bonds within both the staff and student bodies. If given the chance to contribute to UNSW Council, I would like to volunteer my time to champion both student and staff interests and ensure UNSW remains committed to its strategic plan.

Dominique Djaidiguna   


My name is Dominique and I want to be your representative in UNSW council. I believe that it is worth taking the time and effort to understand the philosophy of university governance in order to support students like you and me. As an engineering student myself, I believe that quality teaching is crucial in shaping one’s goal and passion. I want to incentivise fellow students and staff members to help construct the ideal learning environment, both administratively and physically. I will take this opportunity to fairly voice your concerns to improve and aid current and future student life.


Aaron Taplin    

I am Aaron Taplin, and I have been developing my skills in teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving throughout my high school career. Below are some of my achievements during the development of these significant skills.


+ I received the School All-Rounder Award

+ I received a position as Junior School Captain


+ I received the School All-Rounder Award

+ I received the Science Investigation Skills Award


+ I received the position as CEO of a simulation business for the Northern Collegiate Australian Business Week competition

+ I received the Local Community Service Award

+ I received a position as a Gold Coast City Junior Council Executive Committee Member

+ I received a position as School Captain


+ I received the Stuart Robert Leadership MP Medal

+ I received the Long Tan Teamwork and Leadership Award

+ I received the Dale Wood School Spirit of the Year Award

Close statement for Aaron Taplin

Calvin Li

Hi everyone, my name is Calvin. I’m an international student from China. I know skills are required to be elected so here i am.

I’m fluent in English and I feel comfortable communicating with ppl. I finished my high school at Nanjing Foreign Language International school. and had an intern as a ESL tutor before i started my college trip.

I’m diligent in studying. I did a wam of 77.8 for my first term in my first year study. I know its not an outstanding grade, but I believe things’ll get better once i get familiar with Aussie culture & system.

I’m socialized and good in organizing. I like to attend all kinds of social activities while getting most out of them. my fellows and I organized an annual highschool basketball tournament a year ago. We were responsible for finding sponsors,advertising, hire referee and all stuff.

Harikrishna Manogaran

All lives matter! Vote for me and I will Ensure equality

As well as being the Center of voice for all students!

Charles Lowe   


– Lithgow youth council – 2019

– Gold Duke of Edinburgh 2018

– Bronze Duke Of Edinburgh 2016

– TKS Future Project, (2016-2017). I collaborated with USYD in developing ecological and commercially viable alternative of Omega-3 production.

– Full Colours for Drama; productions included “The Adams Family” (2015), “A Fleeting Night’s Dream” (2016), “Romeo and Juliet” 2017 and “We will rock you” 2018.

– Cultural and Leadership Exchange (Tokajuku High School, Japan) 2016

– TKS Cadet Corps – Sargent of medics, three years of field medical training.

– TKS (The Kings school) Food Committee 2013-2017

– TKS “Model United Nations Club” 2017


– Braeside award for performance. 2017

– Broughton Forrest Best All Round Boy 2016

– Broughton Forrest Best All Round Boy 2015,

– Certificate of Academic Achievement from Head of Science department, 2015.

– Headmaster’s Recognition, Academics, 2015

– Certificates of Consistent Effort, Speech Night 2013-2016

Daniel Garfinkel 

Hello, my name is Daniel Garfinkel, and I am in the third year in the double degree of Law and Economics. I am here to listen to your needs and represent you in the Staff and Student Council. As your representative, you would be able to easily communicate with me via my mobile or social media, and I would be committed to addressing all your questions, concerns and suggestions.

We currently live in an uncertain time, and today, more than ever before, is crucial that you have a representative who listens to you and speaks your concerns and suggestions at the Council.

I am passionate to make a positive impact on our community and ready for the challenge. Thank you!

Sung Go  

Hello UNSW,

My name is Sean and I am a current commerce/computer science undergraduate student. UNSW is a large and diverse campus in NSW with almost 60,000 active students per year. So, to maintain and enhance our student experience, it is crucial that we make the right decisions at the right time. If I were to become part of the council, it would provide me with the opportunity to help shape UNSW’s future into a more effective learning and socialising environment.

About myself, I am a person who likes to take part in the community I participate in. I am a current UNSW Vinnies Subcommittee member and have been involved in multiple community groups and projects including social justice committee, scouts, youth frontiers, Duke of Edinburgh, Salvation Army and child and aged care centres.

As such, I believe I can be of benefit to UNSW and its well-being.

Shuyao Wang   

As an International student, I could experience and show more in the international perspective, which could help school do better in helping international students and raising the reputation among them. As a student, I also wish my uni could become better and better.

Voting ends at 4pm on Monday the 29th of June, 2020.