It was perhaps the first time that two very ambitious members of the Pakistan Student Association (PSA) ran for president during PSA’s Annual General Meeting in 2017. The election for president and vice-president ended in an atmosphere far from amicable, but interestingly both the positions were filled unopposed. It was also the first year when three members of PSA got elected to key positions at the La Trobe Student Union (LTSU). As a society, PSA had mostly run casually in the past, and was not even affiliated with the union until about two years ago. The sudden upsurge in its organisation was an indication of what was to come in the months after.
Then came a flurry of events hosted by PSA in 2018, including its participation in the Orientation Club Festival, National Day Celebration, fundraiser for a domestic cancer hospital, Traditional Mushaira (poetry), Holy Iftar Feast, and the upcoming Independence Day Celebration on 14 August 2018. There is more in the pipeline, including a movie night and a camping trip – thanks to ongoing support from the LTSU. PSA’s existing members continue to garner both criticism as well as compliments from the alumni, but all agree that a lively PSA has offered international students from Pakistan an environment to connect and feel like home.
Whether or not PSA wins the best society award for the year is insignificant. A more relevant discussion is whether enthusiasm for the society will remain in future years and if the common goal of every member to help the community persists. The enthusiasm and contributions of existing members have helped shape PSA into the success that it is today. The incoming PSA members will be filling some large shoes!
The current team has realised that a major task is to groom the future PSA members. Given that most of the PSA members are studying two-year master degree courses, it is commonplace that members leave university with less than a year of involvement in PSA activities. It has been a challenge for PSA to get more international students involved in the society. Indeed, every club and society faces obstacles in encouraging their members to be more active and productive.
Words by Mohsin Khawaja.
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