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Janice Rodrigues

Who are you?:

I’m a small Indian-Australian girl from Western Sydney who’s passionate about equality for all.

What have you been doing at IMAGI-NATION {UNIVERSITY}?:

I’ve been one of the Presidents running the program at the University of Sydney. So far, we have been recruiting mentors around campus, we’ve had several mentor trainings and we have been going out to schools. Unfortunately, everything was put on hold with Covid, but we have got some tutor squads running online and hope to have a virtual online program day with UOW and other AIME Presidents across NSW.

How have you been doing it?:

I’ve been doing it with the help of my other Presidents from USYD/UNSW – Bart and Abiya. I’ve also been working with Jade and Brenden, along with the UOW Presidents and others across Sydney (Saahil, Pete, Georgia). We’ve been working collaboratively to run the program!

Why are you doing it?:

The whole reason I’m doing this and volunteering with AIME is the opportunity it provides to make real change. At uni, I study Politics, IR and Socio-Legal Studies – which basically forces me to look at heaps of issues with the world and Australia. But despite this theoretical study, we don’t really get exposure to the real world and I felt as though too much theory work at uni was killing my drive to help make social change 😅. I have volunteered at a few places before, but AIME has been unique in that it has enabled me to grow my own skills whilst actually getting to help students first hand. Also, the goal of AIME, to reduce educational inequalities for children is something I believe is super important. Not only do I not see many students from Western Sydney (where I live) and students of colour in my course or at USYD – which I found alarming since my whole degree is meant to facilitate a career where students can make change in the future, I also haven’t met any Indigenous students (or openly Indigenous students). As such, within the last two years, the extent of educational inequality has become even more clear for me and AIME has been amazing as it has essentially taken this issue and decided to reduce it as much as possible.

Which Professor teaches your favourite IMAGI-NATION {UNIVERSITY} lesson and why?:

I guess this isn’t really a lesson, but I really like Professor Asterix’s Paper on Hoodie Economics – it shows how we are in charge of where we place our values.

What lessons in organising change would you pass on to other students in your course?:

1) Don’t be scared to embrace the unknown –> it might seem hard or scary at first, but you’ll get the hang of it and it will definitely help you grow as a person.

2) Make sure you’re organised – always collect data!

3) Have a team to support you in making changes.

4) Try and be passionate –> the energy you put in will be the energy you receive back from others.

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