An update from the GSA President: July 2022

We have finished the semester and hopefully most of us have finished our end of semester assessments.

For those of you struggling with the stress and anxiety that this period produces, the GSA has a range of initiatives and spaces to help. Likewise, the University has free counselling services.

New President

This is my first President’s blog so I thought I would include a bit about me.

I’m Jesse Gardner-Russell (He/Him), I’m studying a Master Biotechnology, having completed my Honours Research in Stem Cells last year.

Building a strong University community is at the centre of my vision for the GSA. Moving to Melbourne from regional Victoria, after working full time in IT during my gap year, I initially struggled with the daunting task of building new relationships in a foreign environment.

Like many of us, my social life has been defined by the university communities I have been a part of. I’ve made friends for life, developed support networks and had incredible experiences I’ll never forget.

I’ve run numerous clubs, bringing other groups together for food festivals, cooking lessons and more. I’ve also fought for change in the way clubs run, helping develop Clubs policies such as: 100% online event reimbursement, online clubs training, increased grant caps, a new support and feedback model and subsidies for training.

I feel very honoured to have been elected as the President of the GSA, and I hope that I can help build a University community which delivers social and academic support for every student.

Newly Elected Reps

The GSA elections and Annual General Meeting have demonstrated that the democratic voice of Graduate Students is alive and well.

On behalf of all candidates, I would like to thank the Graduate Students of Melbourne University for placing their faith in us for the year ahead.

The new GSA team is brimming with ideas and passion, and we cannot wait to begin delivering for all Graduate Students.

The Term So Far

We have hit the ground running, beginning the induction process just days after the close of polls, so that no time is wasted during this busy period.

Semester 2 Orientation planning is well underway, with the GSA team having worked tirelessly to develop a robust orientation program that puts Grad Groups and Student Advocacy at the heart of GSA.

Beginning the term with SSAF funding negotiations with the University, working on the development of University wide Mental Health and Wellbeing policies, and laying the groundwork for semester 2 programs, has been a trial by fire. However, the continued support of interim CEO Jeremy Waite and the GSA Staff, has made this experience seamless.

The Year Ahead

With the change of GSA leadership comes with it fresh ideas and energy for semester 2. We believe that as a part of the University Community, that the GSA has a responsibility to build connections and experiences for all graduate students, regardless of where or what they study.

With the phased return to campus entering full force next semester, we are putting engagement and advocacy at the heart of our vision. This process will be challenging for the many graduate students who have yet to spend time on campus, and they will need the full arsenal of GSA support in navigating those varied and unique hardships.

As always, if you ever have a concern, please email me at


GSA President