As part one of a two-part series Nexus Magazine has begun to look at Life after Level four. This week we had a chat with WSU President and frequent Nexus collaborator Kyla Campbell-Kamariera about student Hardship.
NEXUS How are you holding up in Quarantine?
KYLA I never expected to be a virtual President but here we are… I’ve got a good work – study balance going on so I’m probably holding up better in isolation than being on campus.
NEXUS What has the WSU’s reaction been to COVID-19 in General?
I think the whole organisation has reacted really well. We could’ve just said ka kite ’til Level 2 but we’ve remained committed to students before and throughout this ordeal which I’m really proud of.
NEXUS How has your approach differed from other Universities?
KYLA Well for starters, the University have suspended payments for all students who moved out of the halls…
NEXUS How can students access hardship grants and student support services?
KYLA Just reach out to us! We’ve been blasting our online communities with our student support contact.
NEXUS How much are you (and the rest of the WSU) working with the University on Student Hardship funds?
KYLA Alumni have been donating funds and I’ve been in regular contact with the organisers. They’re doing an amazing job and I am super grateful! Especially to each donation.
NEXUS What do you think of the Governments Student packages for Covid-19?
KYLA Poor. We’re a demographic that are so at risk! Like part–time workers who have lost hours, student parents, single student parents, mature students, International students and the rest who have been given ping pong paddles to play tennis.
NEXUS Do you support NZUSA’s call for a Student Universal Basic Income?
KYLA I personally do. I’m a postgrad student too so I don’t even qualify for a basic student allowance. A student universal basic income will help the economy in the long run because of our consumer behaviours. If we’re gonna get money we’re gonna spend money.
NEXUS What advice do you have for students facing the economic realities of a level 2 world where jobs might be difficult to come by?
KYLA Hit our hardship and student support services up! And don’t be afraid to get government assistance either. We’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and life is not the same anymore!
NEXUS What else are you doing to advocate for students with the University during lockdown
KYLA We’re making sure with the transition to online study that students are supported and flattening existing teaching staff expectations pre-lockdown. The world has changed and approaches to study needs to as well. 12,000 or so students didn’t all sign up to study online for a whole trimester so we deserve to be cut a little bit of slack. With academic integrity maintained of course.
NEXUS Any final words you want to add?
KYLA Go easy on yourself. It’s easy to fall into a state of comparison at the moment while watching Instagram stories of people working out, being productive, making judgements and whatever else. Need I repeat myself but we’re in the middle of a worldwide crisis!
ANY UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO STUDENT CAN ACCESS THE WSU SUPPORT SERVICE BY EMAILING SUPPORT@WSU.ORG.NZ OR VISITING THE FACEBOOK GROUP “ARE YOU OK?” THAT IS PART OF THE WSU VIRTUAL CAMPUS
NEXT WEEK NEXUS WILL DISCUSS STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH, STUDENT SAFETY, AND ACCOMODATION AS PART OF LIFE AFTER LEVEL 4