As we bid farewell to the 2019-20 LSS Committee, Purely Dicta picked the brains of some of your outgoing Directors and Student Representatives for all the spicy memories and juicy tips they acquired over the past year, in the inaugural LSS Mass Interview!
What is your best memory from the year?
Lauren – Second Year Rep: Seeing all the pieces, people and pizza come together for Garden Party! It’s such a huge event for one person to organise, and I truly felt like I had a big family there helping bring everything to life. It meant to a lot to me.
I also frothed Clerkship Info Panel – it was such a rewarding event to run, and I received feedback that it was really useful for second years. It made me feel happy and proud that I could deliver practical value to my peers.
Chris & Isabella – Careers Directors: The best memory from the year has been working with the entire team to put on events and to see all of our Co-Opts moderate their own panels successfully. We’ve particularly loved our team Kahoot nights and building a sense of community.
Monique – Third Year+ Representative: Lunch breaks spent lying on the grass in the sun at University Square with my friends, talking about absolute nonsense but having the best laughs.
Paige – Indigenous Students’ Representative: When we were allowed to go to MLS to see and interact with other humans.
But outside of that my best memory would be the hosting of the Love v Commonwealth lecture with guest speaker Tim Goodwin. Tim is such a great speaker and barrister and was really excited to have someone who was part of the case talk about it.
Billy & Tim– Activities Directors: We recognise it’s more of a series of memories, but highlight of the year would have to be Law Camp. The both of us spent hundreds of hours pulling that weekend together, and to see the enthusiasm that the 1st years had, both beforehand through ticket sales, and at the event itself, was magical. LC is typically a logistical nightmare, so it see it run so smoothly was brilliant.
Momo & Alex – Environments Directors: There are many memories from this year. Some of the most memorable are our “Pamper the Penguins” flower revegetation excursion (reminiscing what we’ve done for all of them cute fairy penguins really brings a smile to our faces), and a virtual toast to the hard work put in the drafting of the Climate Emergency and Environmental Crisis Declaration passed unanimously by LSS and VELSN in September.
Chloe & Jen – Competitions Directors (Internal): Our “Introduction to Comps” info session during LMR to the first year MLS students. An information session like this has never been run before, and participation was way higher than we expected. It was so exciting to see everyone motivated to participate in the competitions. This memory became even more special as the year continued and it became clear that it would be one of the few times that we all got to be together.
Em – Treasurer: Being able to bust out spreadsheets and really Excel (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
Jake – International Students’ Representative: Law Camp, definitely. All those there to watch my team doing the “Mean Girl” dance and see my outfit were in for a treat. For those who weren’t there, you missed out, big time!
Annabelle – Disability Representative: Getting to dress up and dance as Rizzo from Grease as a law camp leader was a big highlight. Winning the Australian Law Students’ Association’s ‘Best Health & Wellbeing Initiative’ award for our LSS was pretty nice too!
Thea & Bonnie – Womens Directors: It has to be our international Women’s Day panel! We were very fortunate to be able to host this event in-person. We had a wonderful array of panellists, and discussion centred on philanthropy and the challenges of having women’s issues taken seriously both in the legal profession and beyond.
Jon & Megan – Competitions Directors (External): Definitely getting the Negotiations Competition together. There was a while there where we thought that it wasn’t going to happen. So, getting it up and running, and seeing how high quality the negotiations ended up being was so rewarding.
Rose, Chloe & Brigitte – First Year Representatives:
R: Definitely that one meeting that only went for 20 minutes instead of 4 hours.
C: Best memory was the split 3 seconds we got to spend on campus.
B: Playing weird rounds of ‘Never Have I Ever’ late into the night at our First Year Zoom events.
Georgia & Georgia – Communications Directors: It sounds cheesy but every interaction we’ve had with our co-opts even though it’s been online has been so fantastic – they’re all so creative and supportive and we’re so grateful for them! Also all of our meetings that turned into zoom hangman sessions.
Kavin & Sammy – Queer Directors: The Professional Panel and Annual Lecture with Justice Kirby were the highlights of the year. Because of the pandemic, we were able to look beyond Victoria and managed to invite some great speakers both interstate and internationally.
What’s one way that you’ve tackled Covid-19 for the LSS?
Lauren – Second Year Rep: I’m loving the virtual second-year cook-off at the moment! I am a food fiend and it is so much fun (and inspiring) seeing what everyone is able to whip up whilst locked at home, or otherwise separated from each other. I get a really warm feeling seeing second years connecting with each other over carbohydrates and other staple food groups. Goes to show that there is no shame in making food the centrepiece of your life (as I do).
Chris & Isabella – Careers Directors: We successfully transitioned all of the Careers events online and ensured that students had the opportunity to learn about a variety of career pathways. Most notably, the Meet the Profession Networking Evening where we ran 16 simultaneous zoom rooms at once and had over 200 attendees.
Monique – Third Year+ Representative: Being flexible and adaptable to unforeseen changes which have resulted in either the cancellation or postponement of events and projects run by the Third+ Year Representative Portfolio. I also have emphasised engaging in consistent communication and information transparency with all the parties I work with, especially my Valedictory Team and the portfolio’s Vice-President to make sure everyone is kept up to date.
Paige – Indigenous Students’ Representative: Like everyone I have learnt to use Zoom. Would not say I am an expert – technology hates me. But I have become zoom competent.
Billy & Tim – Activities Directors: COVID has caused a LOT of issues for the Activities portfolio (as you can imagine). Our motto/purpose is to ‘bring people together’, which was damn near impossible due to the nature of the disease. Unfortunately, this meant that nearly ALL of our events weren’t able to run (except for trivia), and we really had to go back to the drawing board and build from the ground up.
Highlights this year have been the creation of E-Sports (especially the chess tournament, shoutout to Matty Z), as well as running club that has been hugely successful online this year.
Momo & Alex – Environments Directors:
(Alex) I feel Covid tackled me; but bouncing back, improving my e-teamworking skills!
(Momo) Staying positive before each committee meeting.
Chloe & Jen – Competitions Directors (Internal): We managed to transition all nine competitions, over 250 teams, to a virtual format pretty smoothly within a pretty tight time frame! We’ve also managed to find a way to still make our Grand Finals “special” by live streaming them to the JD Community! We hope this has served an educative purpose, as well as being a bit of fun, and can’t wait to see more involvement next year!
Em – Treasurer: I’ve done my best to manage financial expectations and sustainability as we head into a pandemic-induced recession.
Jake – International Students’ Representative: Fighting for international students’ rights and the education that they paid (a lot) for.
Annabelle – Disability Representative: Meeting with senior members of faculty to advocate on behalf of students with disabilities, to educate teaching staff about how to ensure their online and physical classrooms are accessible.
Thea & Bonnie – Womens Directors: Shifting the whole darn portfolio online! It has been wonderful to see the community that has grown within the Women’s Facebook Group – especially with the weekly Q&A.
People are so honest, and take the time to share genuine experiences and advice. We have had so much positive feedback!
It has been so wholesome and lovely during these difficult months. It has really brought our community together and we couldn’t be prouder of the everyone in the group for all the care and support they show each other.
Jon & Megan – Competitions Directors (External): Converting all our comps online was definitely a struggle – Gibbs and Negotiations are normally so social and interactive. But making sure that people still had access to these comps was a good way that we could contribute to the feeling of community that the LSS worked so hard to create this year.
Rose, Chloe & Brigitte – First Year Representatives:
R: Everyone’s favourite – cohort drinks at (zoom) Revs!
C: By ask our peers to suspend their disbelief, for just a moment, to immerse themselves in the icon that is virtual partygoing.
B: Fielding countless questions from frazzled First Years regarding what on EARTH was going on at various points during the semester.
Georgia & Georgia – Communications Directors: Social media and online platforms were really important during Covid-19 lockdowns – it was so great to be able to start making fun insta stories to keep people connected to MLS and to see other portfolios start making their own social media content too!
Kavin & Sammy – Queer Directors: Coffee Roulette and our social events such as the Mixer had to switch to a virtual format. These were particularly important events/initiatives as we really wanted to keep everyone connected and maintain a sense of community amongst the LGBTIQA+ students at MLS.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your successor?
Lauren – Second Year Rep: Get organised SUPER early on (I’m talking early in the summer holidays) and don’t be afraid to ask for help as you are a single-person team.
Also, if something doesn’t seem right, or you think it could run better (E.g. LOCKERS!!!!!) don’t be afraid to set the wheels in motion to get it changed! Pushing for an improved locker system for 2021 is one of the best things that I pursued during my time as second year rep.
Chris & Isabella – Careers Directors: Have 10 phrases or questions on standby for any online networking.
Monique – Third Year+ Representative: Make sure to stay connected with your fellow classmates! It’s so easy to be detached from the Law School in your final year, but it’s the last time you will be able to see everyone so frequently and in the same place on a regular basis, so make the most of it!
Paige – Indigenous Students’ Representative: Don’t be shy to reach out for people to help. It is surprising how supportive both MLS and external organisations are in bringing your ideas to life.
Billy & Tim– Activities Directors: This is somewhat dependent on whether we’re online/IRL for 2021, BUT we think generally… the Activities portfolio has so much scope for creativity and inclusivity. Nothing is predetermined (except for Law Ball), and there’s so much scope to change things up and to deliver the best social/sport calendar that you think will be valuable.
Also on that note, 2021 is may be a difficult year financially for the LSS, so the next directors may need to invest some time brainstorming creative solutions to cut some of the Activities expenses (especially as Activities tends to be the most costly portfolio).
Momo & Alex – Environments Directors: 1) Navigating LSS’s bureaucracy is key. Plan ahead and coordinate with other portfolios/VPs. 2) Don’t be afraid to try out new things/initiatives! That’s how we got to hosting “Pamper the Penguins” in the first place. On that note, we’d like to see the LSS host tree-planting excursions before we graduate. (sorry, that’s two pieces of advice ahaha)
Chloe & Jen – Competitions Directors (Internal): Be organised and prepared to adapt your plans, but most importantly have a great team around you! We could not have gotten through this year without our incredible co-opts.
Em – Treasurer: ‘Schedule send’ is your friend.
Jake – International Students’ Representative: Don’t worry, you can do this! All you need is a brave and caring heart.
Annabelle – Disability Representative: Back yourself!
Thea & Bonnie – Womens Directors: Expect the unexpected! Even when we were running events as normal so many different challenges and opportunities arose which gave us new ideas or changed our plans and taking on those opportunities was often super fulfilling.
Jon & Megan – Competitions Directors (External): Every time you think you’ve given yourself enough time to do something, give yourself another week! External comps is the type of portfolio where so much of what you do is reliant on other people (problem writers, other student societies). Giving yourself time to respond to problems and chase people up is probably the best way not suffer too many stress-induced sleepless nights.
Rose, Chloe & Brigitte – First Year Representatives:
R: Don’t be afraid to question why something is the way it is.
C: Dare to be different. The only limitation is your creativity (and maybe a pandemic).
B: Embrace the role and don’t be afraid to take initiative… the position is what you make it!
Georgia & Georgia – Communications Directors: Be creative! Whether it’s publications, social media posts, web development, merch design – don’t be afraid to use your imagination and your team!
Kavin & Sammy – Queer Directors: You guys will have a big year ahead of you with the prospect of returning to campus! Make sure you get the wheels in motion long before the actual events are planned. Do the bulk of your work in the holidays, such as drafting comms/emails so that you can just copy and paste during semester when it gets busy.
How have you worked with other parts of the MLS community during your role? (e.g. other student societies etc.)
Lauren – Second Year Rep: The saintly Judith Marychurch as well as the facilities and admin teams have been on the receiving end of a lot of my musings re the locker system. I am SO grateful for their support.
With respect to the broader Melbourne Uni community, I loved working with the Med faculty to get the Law v Med Sports Competition off the ground (albeit virtually).
Chris & Isabella – Careers Directors: We successfully collaborated with the MLS Graduate Services & Careers team to source panellists for the Beyond Law School Series. We also collaborated internally with the Equity & Social Justice portfolio and the Second Year Representative to provide assistance with their careers focused events.
Monique – Third Year+ Representative: I have worked with my fellow classmates, the MLS faculty, and other student societies in creating the Yearbook!
Paige – Indigenous Students’ Representative: As Indigenous Representative I work quite closely with some of the faculty, particularly Kirsty Gover. This year was very exciting with the opening of the Indigenous study space which would have been a great place to work and collaborate with each other. Unfortunately, COVID forbid such enjoyment but thanks to Kirsty the area will still be there with new furniture and artwork when we are allowed back to the law school.
Momo & Alex – Environments Directors: MULSS Environment Portfolio has closely collaborated with VELSN in drafting the CE&EC Declaration. We were also collaborating with FAME on our “Movies that Matter” series, and the MLS Green Team to introduce a reusable plate & mug scheme, but then COVID happened…
Chloe & Jen – Competitions Directors (Internal): Having nearly 250 teams registered meant that we had a pretty wide reach throughout the JD community! However, we have also worked with GLSA who were also running their International Students Moot this year to better navigate the online environment together!
Em – Treasurer: I haven’t had to personally work that much with other parts in my role, but I am a huge fan of GLSA (from back in the day when we shared an office space) as well as other student groups like FAME. I think it’s so important to have groups tailored to a wide range of interests – after all, it’s always different horses for different courses!
Jake – International Students’ Representative: I worked with GLSA quite often to host events for international students. I also worked with De Min to publish a bunch of articles written by international students. It is great to bring different parts of the MLS community together to serve the same crowd of students.
Annabelle – Disability Representative: Lots of my work as Disability Rep goes under the radar – I spend a lot of time in meetings with senior members of faculty to alert them to accessibility and ableism concerns at MLS, one-on-one contact with students, and coming up with initiatives and events for students in JD disability spaces specifically.
Besides that, I’ve collaborated on an initiative with internal comps to make future competitions more accessible. I think there’s a lot of scope for the Disability Rep to improve intersectionality initiatives with other portfolios in future!
Thea & Bonnie – Womens Directors: We have had some discussions with faculty in working to better address sexual harassment on campus and in the legal profession. This is obviously a super important issue and although it can be troubling to think about it we feel super passionate about working to more effectively combat the root cause of the issue while we are still at university.
Jon & Megan – Competitions Directors (External): We’ve worked with academic staff to put teams together, get coaches, collate academic materials and source judges for comps.
Rose, Chloe & Brigitte – First Year Representatives:
R: Jack of all trades, master of none – a bit of yoga, bit of mooting, bit of how ya going.
C: Rose hit the nail on the head with this one.
B: ^ Agreed.
Georgia & Georgia – Communications Directors: Collaborating with FAME to turn our amazing Media Law Panel event into an amazing interview series with Purely Dicta!