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SRC Candidate Interview | Imandi Mudugamuwa

What is your current relationship with the Arc Board and how do you plan on growing it?  

Not super well versed on this – some overlap in terms of people who support Revive and the Arc board and can’t think of anyone of the top of head. Something we support is having open dialogue with uni, uni management and arc board. Keeping channels of communication open is quite important to meet student needs.  

What is your current experience in the SRC or other bodies?  

I haven’t been involved in SRC before this year – but I have been involved in the Women’s collective and their initiatives including the night walk to ensure campus spaces have more lighting and make campus spaces safer. In terms of other student bodies, I have been involved with clubs and societies, I was the Law Society Policy Submissions Director; and I would coordinate submissions to government enquiries relevant to student body. I also coordinated submissions on informative consent laws and what other change should be made. I allowed for pushing for change in community. I was ASEAN society director in 2021, organized a panel on women’s empowerment in Southeast Asia, coming back to it last year conference CEO and VP of externals, through that experience I realized that students want to be more engaged in those conversations and provide their opinions as well, going forward I want to facilitate students sharing their own opinions and be more involved in starting change. That’s part of the reason why I’m running for women’s officer, and which needs are most pressing and what has been done to make changes happen.  

Tell me about Revive and why you’re running for them?  

They’re a group of students that’s really united by the need to work together to create policy change. Really keen to work actively with the uni to create policy change and a more balanced approach- really keen to make realistic and pragmatic changes that work together with the university towards achieving. Some notable achievements include the pilot program pushed for by current women’s officer, which is a really big achievement towards free menstrual products on campus, some changes we wish to push for. Revive wants to increase engagement with the SRC and that’s something that’s been dropping in recent years so running with new name and reaching out to people should increase engagement.  

Why do you think so many students find the SRC irrelevant?  

Students don’t find the SRC irrelevant but they definitely feel disconnected from it- while the information is out there, talking to students on campus they don’t all know what the SRC is so there’s a messaging issue and working with clubs and societies alongside other uni stakeholders is important to know what the purpose of it is. Most students don’t know what the purpose of the SRC is or what they can do for the student body. The SRC got us flexi week but students were previously unaware of those kinds of changes and the SRC needs to interact more with other uni stakeholders such as clubs and societies.  

Are you currently a member of, or are you affiliated with any political parties?  

I am not affiliated with any political parties, nor am I a member. I care about making campus a safer space for all women, I care about policies and making meaningful change happen.  

Should you take over as women’s officer what would be your number one priority?  

It’s not one priority specifically- in broad terms I want to improve messaging and awareness around issues such as reporting of gendered violence, improving lighting on campus, improving awareness of night shuttle bus and reporting procedures around sexual assault and gendered violence so it’s clearer for women in those situations who want to achieve that kind of support. Hiring more paid counsellors who are specialized in women’s experiences like assault and family violence to work towards- the uni only has one or two paid counsellors, I suggest that if they can’t hire more counsellors onsite they redirect students elsewhere but subsidise the costs. My number one priority is improving women’s and students safety and welfare on campus.  

Do you think UNSW cares about its students?  

I think that UNSW definitely does care about its students but there’s a disconnect between the university and what they believe students need vs. what they actually need. SRC has a role to voice those concerns- there are so many things uni needs to do on these issues such as free menstrual products, psychological support services and student welfare need to keep support open and the uni has financial and pragmatic constraints so need to ensure that we create gradual but real and pragmatic change. The uni does care about students but they also have their own financial limitations and not knowing which issues are important to students and how to prioritise resources. The national student safety survey provided great input on sexual assault and how prevalent it was on campus, gathering opinions and creating these conversations is great but need to gather more student feedback to understand student needs and priorities.  

What global issue is currently on your mind?  

Roe v. Wade has been on mind since supreme court handed down its decisions- the conversations in Australia have been different to those in the US but shows that we can’t be complacent in issues that we care about and access to abortion can’t be taken for granted as shown by what we’ve seen in the US. We need to keep fighting for those rights.  

What is your favourite TV show?  

Scandal- created by Shonda Rhimes who did Grey’s anatomy and Bridgerton. Love Olivia Probe- one of fave characters of all time I’ve seen in media and books. Really good to see strong female characters on television. Am studying law, coming from similar background and seeing her succeed in such a male dominated field, creating her own firm and carving out a space for herself is really empowering. In higher levels law is still a bit of a boy’s club. Has taught me to be assertive and confident in what I stand for.