So what are Issues Groups, and what do they do at Congress?

One week to go until Congress 2015, and we're breaking down Issues Groups and key tasks

Student voice matters!

We’ve heard the voices of Victorian students and we are taking the hot topics to Congress 2015! From March-May this year, VicSRC consulted with almost 1,000 students at 12 Regional Conferences across Victoria to determine the Top 10 issues that matter to students in 2015.

These issues form the basis of the Issues Groups delegates are part of at Congress


So, what next?

The Issues Groups work on two tasks at Congress:

1.       Belief Statement (to debate at the Congress session on Day 2)

2.       Congress Cup Action Pitch (to pitch to the group at the end of Day 2)


Belief Statement explained

Delegates have the task to develop a statement that can be proposed to the formal Congress session for debate. This is a Belief or Policy statement – it is an idea that you want the VicSRC to commit to.

The idea is the important thing; some action might follow, but this is not part of the statement.

Process

Your group’s topic came from ideas that have continued to concern students for the 10 years of VicSRC Congresses. These ideas have been considered at Regional Conferences this year, and your topic is one of the Top Ten identified by students throughout Victoria.

Brainstorm in your group about the specific issues that are relevant to students today, across the state, within your topic. What does the topic mean? What is most important? What are some current examples? What concerns you most? Try to come up with at least three possible specific ideas.

Continue to talk about them, and decide on at least one idea to propose as a Belief Statement.

What will happen in Congress?

You will propose this Belief statement as a formal motion to Congress. You will need someone to move and second it.  It will then be debated, so you will need some other members of your group to be prepared to discuss and support it.

What will happen after Congress?

If Congress agrees with your Belief Statement (ie. your motion is passed), it will become the policy of the VicSRC. It will be published as part of the Congress Report and brought to the attention of the Government.

The new VicSRC Executive, who will be elected at Congress, will look at all the agreed statements and work out what action, if any, needs to be taken. This might simply be using it as a guidance for future statements, or writing a letter about it, or developing a larger campaign. Your proposal doesn’t have to tell the Executive what to do (but you might like to suggest any thoughts you have).

Read more: Issues Group Task Guidelines and Examples


Congress Cup Action Pitch explained

Your task is to develop a bold and innovative idea around your issue that the VicSRC can implement in 2015-16. This is your Action Pitch – an action that you want the VicSRC to undertake. The Action should be SMART.

Process

Your group’s topic came from ideas that have continued to concern students during 10 years of VicSRC Congresses. These ideas have been considered at Regional Conferences this year, and your topic is one of the Top Ten identified by students throughout Victoria.

Brainstorm in your group about specific issues that are relevant to students today, across the state, within your topic. What does the topic mean? What is most important? What are some current examples? What concerns you most? Try to come up with at least three possible specific ideas.

Continue to talk about them, and decide on one Big Idea to propose as your Action Pitch – the area in which the VicSRC should focus its action during the next year.

What will happen in Congress?

Your group will have 5 minutes to pitch this proposed Action to delegates at Congress. Delegates will also have a chance to ask you questions about your idea. You should be as creative as possible when presenting your idea (a projector with speakers is available for your use; all digital materials must be with the AV team by 1 pm on Day 2). The style of your pitch will catch delegates’ attention, but the action idea itself is the most important part of your pitch.

All action proposals are important and will be seriously considered, but delegates will prioritise all of the Action Pitches and choose the Top Idea for the VicSRC to implement.

What will happen after Congress?

The Top Idea chosen by delegates will form the major project actions to be implemented by the new VicSRC Executive in 2015-16. (The Executive may consider other action ideas if time and budget permit.) The Top Idea will have a budget of $5000, with the VicSRC and partners to seek further funds if needed.

Read more: Issues Group Task Guidelines and Examples


The resolutions that pass at Congress become the VicSRC's advocacy platforms for 2015-2016. We can't wait share what Victorian students decide to shift from issues into state-wide action!

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