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July 2012

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Got ideas that could improve your courses or faculty? Ever wondered, 'why is it like this?' or 'did they even think of the students when they came up with that?' – well that’s exactly what being a faculty board student rep is about!

Being a rep for your faculty is an opportunity to get involved in the inner workings of the uni and help the student perspective be heard; you’re the link between decision makers and students, and students are the reason the university exists. Being a student rep will add depth to your uni experience and set you apart from your peers when potential employers are looking through hundreds of CVs. And it isn't going to take hours of your time, you don't need to make big speeches in front of the staff, and you don't need to already know how everything works!

During my year as student rep I've been working to improve the orientation for new reps, so they can make the most of their role and feel more confident in it. I've gained valuable insight into how the faculty works, and I've been able to bring student issues to the attention of the faculty and University board, such as informing and rallying the students to voice their concerns about the effects of possible staff cuts. If you’re looking for an opportunity to stand out, this is it!

For more information, visit the elections website. To nominate, contact the administration office of your school or faculty.

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And we’re back. Semester two has just begun and once again we’re filling our bags with textbooks, paper and pens. Back to setting our alarms for ungodly hours of the morning and re-teaching ourselves how to write. Fortunately, this semester, the uni is giving us a little help with life around campus, via the new Sydney Uni App.

Available on iOS and Android for free, it gives us access to a number of useful Uni resources, including Blackboard, the library catalogue, news and semester dates. You can also search the name of a professor or look up units of study with the swipe of a finger. The newer students – and, shamefully, some of us more experienced ones – will find the map feature very useful, and hopefully a room finder will be in a future update. There's also links to faculty handbooks, student email and the MyAdmin page.

You'll also find a selection of videos regarding uni life, including interesting lectures, talks from staff and experiences from current and past students. Enough to keep everyone interested – from year 12 hopefuls to second-year masters.

So dear students, good luck with the new semester, and make it a little easier on yourself with the new App.

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WOW. I’m now in the Olympic Village, a city within a city, housing 15,000 athletes of all shapes and sizes from all over the world. I arrived on the 17 July, straight from the USA where I won 3 Gold medals in the Junior World Championships. After humid 35 degree days, I must admit that the cooler drizzle in London was a nice change. Having said that, the cold lasted a little too long for my liking!

The first day in the village I felt like a little kid exploring Disneyland; walking through the streets looking up at all the different flags, pointing out different people, taking photos of everything! The Australian apartments were hard to miss, decked out with flags and green and gold banners spelling out 'Australia'. Being a team of over 700 people, including officials, we need quite a bit of space!

Our apartment is fantastic. We're on the 8th floor and have a beautiful view of the Olympic stadium and greenery around the village. Latvia and Sweden are opposite us and from my room I can also see the Russian base.

After settling in we headed to the uniform distribution centre, where I received two suitcases full of clothes! There is a lot of gear - all of it green or yellow or white. We also got fitted out for our Opening ceremony uniform which was exciting.

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The current business environment is more uncertain than ever, and the University of Sydney Business School is definitely no stranger to change. And as a student of theirs for the last two years, I can certainly testify to the exponential trend of improvement and innovation taking place there, and the new Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is part of that change.

The MBA is very exciting news for graduates who are seeking to further their professional careers and become great business leaders in their fields.

But with all the MBA programs already out there, why create another one, and what makes this MBA so special? I believe the answer is very simple – adaptation. There’s no doubt the global business environment is becoming increasingly more complex, and as a result, what is required from business leaders has changed. The University of Sydney’s new MBA degree has been developed to adapt to these circumstances and even has an exclusive partnership with Korn/Ferry International, one of the world’s leading executive talent firms.

It is definitely a great time to be studying business, and I am very proud to be a student at a Business School that is so dedicated to innovation.

For more information, visit the MBA website.

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Whilst this time of year usually offers me a sense of reprieve – getting uni results back and enjoying the winter holidays – this time it’s coupled with an important milestone; ‘50 days to go’ until the London 2012 Paralympic Games!

Earlier this year I was selected on the Australian Women’s Goalball team to represent Australia at the Paralympic Games in London. I’m also in my 4th year at Sydney Uni, studying a combined Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degree. So I’ve decided to defer second semester to focus on my training, but in doing so I’ve had to make up subjects by overloading and going through summer school.

So what is Goalball? It’s a sport exclusively for the Vision Impaired and Blind, in which players defend the ball by listening to the bells inside it. Whilst I have the maximum amount of vision allowed for classification as a Paralympic athlete, all players in Goalball are blindfolded to ensure equity. This video probably explains it better than I ever could.

Well so much for that relaxing winter holiday! Training has intensified before we leave for a staging camp in Wales, then we head into the Village in London. At the moment I’m trying to refine my technique and strategies on court, as well as undergoing an extensive cardio and weights program to maximise my strength, speed and power on the court. When the going gets tough, I know that in less than 6 weeks I am going to be headed to the most amazing experience of my life – and hopefully come away with some wins.

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Here in Hilo the vegetation is lush and tropical, and we look to windward and face the rain. When the skies are not laden with moisture, nevertheless a haze of vog – volcanic smog – leaves us with skies scarcely better than Los Angeles', behind a faint blanket of sodium yellow. Further up in the highlands, however, and you might be in country New South Wales amid stands of eucalypts, rusty brown grass, cattle grazing and a clear blue expanse above. As the mountains thrust up so too does the temperature fall, so that Mauna Kea, the White Mountain, is sometimes capped with snow. However this only accounts for a small part of the great diversity of landscapes to be found on Hawai'i, and in this the dominance of the volcanoes is absolute. Cross over to Kona - “leeward”, the west coast of the island - and the rain shadow of Mauna Kea can be seen in the dusty, black deserts that approach almost all the way to the coasts in places. To the south, Kilauea - “the spewer” - is the most active volcano, sitting on the side of Mauna Loa but with a magma chamber all to itself. It is the domain of Madame Pele, the volcano goddess – though these days the US National Park Service exercises temporal authority, in the wonderful Volcanoes National Park. Over the last several days I've been exploring Kona and Volcano with some of my friends here, and there could be a story there worth telling.

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