How to Vote for Student Elections Painlessly

Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Disclaimer: UniMelb Adventures prides itself from being a non-affiliated, apolitical publication and this article serves to inform the student population about general elections. This article was written originally for Farrago Magazine and has been abridged.

So its Week 7 and you have an assignment due on Friday. You’re rather tired and you just want to go to that regrettable 9am tute you got into because you forgot about class registration followed by a 2 hour lecture about why you should buy this textbook that the lecturer made and how it’ll teach you real life skills. However, you have a five hour gap between those two classes so you decide to go to the Baillieu to get some study done.

As you head to the Baillieu, you are bombarded by a kaleidoscope of Pink, Red, Orange and Black Shirts telling you to vote for them and how they’ll change your uni experience.

Flustered, you walk away from the Baillieu and feel rather peckish. Union House hasn’t filled up with people yet and you want to grab something eat there. However, as you head toward Union House, you see yet another swarm of Pink, Red, Orange and Black Shirts telling you, well you guessed it, to vote.

Seeing as you have nowhere to go, you watch as each shirt shoves each other telling you why they will once again change your uni experience. The tussle then descends into a melee and you get caught up into the screams, rap battles and backflips and you end up becoming the one screaming.

At this moment, you just want to go home and maybe skip uni all together. For most people, you could just say “no thank you” or “I’ve already voted” and thats the end. But here’s the thing:

Elections actually matter.

Your vote is rather influential in how the Union represents you in the following year.

So listen up, we’re in for a magic tram ride of a trip on what elections are and how to vote.

First Off, What is UMSU and why should I care about them?

UMSU is the University of Melbourne Student Union, which represents all UniMelb students. It is responsible for things like student clubs and activities, as well as student services and advocacy. So think of the ‘free’ student BBQs, carnivals or weird parties that happen throughout the year because your student contribution, the SSAF goes towards the services of the union.

Okay but, why should I vote if I don’t need to?

Voting lies at the heart of-Okay let’s not get dramatic. Voting is important and vote early, vote often like they do in Chicago.

In seriousness,  don’t vote often but vote early if you need to.

Voting in student elections is important because you get to choose who represents you, how often you can get more free food or find the help you need. If you’ve got issues about university admin, enrolment, grades and even your commute, UMSU on paper is supposed to represent your concerns about your university life.

You’ll have to vote for many positions. From president, the top dog of the union to the General Secretary to the fun aunt that is the Activities office and so on.

So vote, otherwise you won’t get a say on what matters to you during your years at uni.

So you’ve stopped screaming and actually going to vote, so how do you actually do it?

This is where things actually get messy and weird like your 4am essay due tomorrow. We will try our best to explain to you how to vote as if you were a five year old. The only problem? Five year olds can’t or don’t vote but its good to know.

  1. Go to a Polling Booth

A polling booth is where you vote. Here, you get a piece of paper called a ballot where you put down who you want to vote for. You can find polling booths at the following locations:

  • Baillieu Library
  • Union House
  • FBE Building
  • Murrup Barak (open Tuesday, Wednesday)
  • Southbank (open Tuesday-Thursday)
  • Burnley (open Wednesday, Thursday)
  • Stop 1 (open Tuesday-Thursday)

Most polling stations open around 10-11am and close around 5-6pm. We will get back to you when the finalised times are set but show up after 11am and you should be okay on how to vote. If you can’t be at any of these booths to vote, you can submit a postal vote at

             2. How to Actually Vote

You’ll get multiple colorful sheets requiring you to vote on many things and many positions. The first few pages are regarding OB positions such as President or Welfare followed by Committee and Council contests. The premise is the same with those, vote for who you desire but its better to preference all for Committee/Council seats.

You have to preference THE NUMBER ONE for WHO YOU WANT TO WIN. YOU CAN THEN PREFERENCE YOUR 2ND MOST FAVOURITE AND SO ON, depending how many candidates there are. However, the elections are using what is called, Optional Preferential Voting which means you can vote in the following ways:

  • Vote for One
  • Vote for All
  • Vote for Some

Here’s an example of the ways you can vote:

The ways in which you can vote for student elections.


  1. Run Away

After you’ve chosen who you want to win, you put the ballot inside a cardboard box. You are now a democratic citizen who is exercising their rights as a student. You can now run away from the Color Run and Circus and head back into another one, your classes. Yay!

So When Do I Know Who Won and Stop Caring?

Don’t stop caring but generally you’ll find out late Friday of voting week on who has won President and maybe the other OB position. Usually Farrago, the student magazine will have live tweets and rolling coverage on Facebook. So stay tuned to see how your vote ended up and the joys of democracy will start flowing in?

About the Author:

Alain is a third-year student who still hasn’t gotten his P’s licence. He still spends too much at uni, and rather going to some cafe, he’s lazy and you’ll probably see him in Arts West a lot doing something for Farrago Magazine and more recently, editing this blog. 





How to Get Involved at Uni

Alain Nguyen is a second year student who spends too much time at Uni and has called it home. When he’s not at Uni, he’s a wannabe photographer and is still trying to get his Ps.

So you’re sitting down having a coffee and you have a five hour gap until your next lecture. You wonder to yourself, ‘How do I kill time without studying?’ as is the life of a university student. There are many opportunities for you to get involved with Uni and boost that resume of yours for when you go out into the real world to look for a job.

Clubs and Societies

This one is probably no stranger to anyone. There are over 200 clubs at the University of Melbourne that run a variety of academic, cultural and social events to suit everyone’s needs. Many events will give you free food for your troubles and you’ll never go hungry! From clubs that appreciate dogs to volunteering groups, there is surely something for everyone.


If you want to take a step further and be behind the scenes running operations, you can always run for a position at an annual general meeting (AGM) or special general meeting (SGM). Alternatively, just email the club and see if they have anything available.

The University of Melbourne Student Union

The Student Union (UMSU) not only offers cheap movie tickets and free BBQs, but also has many programs that you can get involved with: Host Program, VCE Summer School, Destination Melbourne and the Union House Theatre, to name just a few. Departments also host their own collectives, so it’s worth emailing the office bearers for more info. The student magazine, Farrago, also welcomes writers pitching their work or ideas to them. Finally, if it’s something you would consider, you can even run for student politics in September.


The University

UniMelb is a large place and there are many paid and unpaid opportunities available to students. One of the most popular is Open Day, where current students inform prospective students and their parents about what life at the University is like. There are also faculty specific programs such as demonstrators in the Faculty of Science. Careers Online is a great resource. The UniMelb-only directory lists opportunities from internships to volunteering placements. It even has a calendar for events that can help you find a career, such as resume boosting and how to network. Also, a program called Students@Work provides on-campus opportunities. If you’re at the point where you’re doing a postgraduate degree, you can even apply to be a tutor!


Beyond the University

Melbourne is a big city! There are many places to volunteer or work. You just have to look!

– Alain

Best Places to Study Outside Uni

Alain Nguyen is a first year student who spends too much time at uni and has called it home. When he’s not at uni he’s probably eating somewhere in some alleyway cafe or slowly working towards getting his P’s.

So it’s exam time and you seem to spend more time trying to find a free seat in the Baillieu or the Giblin than you are studying for your exams and you don’t know what to do about it. Fret not because here are some places OUTSIDE of uni for you to study! And besides, it’s bad to live at uni.

Source: Mohammed @ Monash Stalkerspace, via The University of Melbourne Confession (Facebook)

  1. State Library

An easy start to a list of places to study is the State Library opposite Melbourne Central. The place is massive and has an abundant number of power points for you to study. If you want more quiet places at the Library, head to the Redmond Barry (yes, one and the same) Reading Room, the La Trobe Reading Room and the Chess Room (however it can get noisy there). A word of warning: come early to grab a spot as it can get full with high school students and other uni students.

Source: By Diliff (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

  1. City Library

There actually lies a library on Flinders Lane between the chaos of Degraves St and Centre Place. The City of Melbourne library is small but it’s cozy and quiet enough for you to study. Like any other public place in the world, it can get full and a bit noisy if someone decides to play the random piano there.

  1. Any Cafe on Degraves St or in Melbourne

If you don’t mind noise and on the off chance that the City Library is full, head to any of the cafes on offer around the area and you can grab a bite to eat and study at the same time. Double check on the Wifi however.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

  1. Library at the Dock

There is another City of Melbourne library in Docklands and it’s modern, clean and has nice views to procrastinate while you’re studying. It’s a bit further out but still worth a visit.

  1. RMIT University

Yes, RMIT is on this list because it is literally on UniMelb’s doorstep. Building 80 is particularly nice and modern and has a lot of floors for you to find places to study. If you don’t flash your Student ID or anything UniMelb related you’ll be fine and can blend in with the students there.

  1. Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre

Across the tram stop on Faraday St is the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, which is a gem hidden in plain sight. The place recently underwent a $15.5 million restoration, so make full use of the changes.

Source: City of Melbourne

  1. Parks (and Recreation)

If South Lawn is full then why not head to the many parks around the city? There’s Argyle Square, the Botanical Gardens, Birrarung Marr and the Yarra River. You could even have a picnic! The only drawback with studying outdoors in Melbourne is the weather, so bring an umbrella.

There are probably many other places in the city you could study that aren’t a library or cafe. I personally study in parks or train stations. Let us know if you know a hidden study gem in the city or somewhere to procrastinate!

– Alain

Your Guide to Arts West

Alain Nguyen is a first year student who spends too much time at uni and has called it home. When he’s not at uni he’s probably eating somewhere in some alleyway café or slowly working towards getting his P’s.

Over the past semester, you may have noticed a big metal structure being built next to the Baillieu Library. Older students will remember the “old” Arts West that was knocked down… But lo and behold we now have a “new” Arts West! The following is a guide for everyone who has classes there or wants a new place to study and chill at uni.

Classes have started but the official opening isn’t until September. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enter. The building has six floors plus a basement lecture theatre (Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre) that has been retained from the old Arts West. Let’s begin the guide from there.

The lecture theatre has been refurbished and now sports a nice orange glow to it. It is the largest lecture theatre in the uni with a whopping 506 seats. There are also toilets and vending machines located down there.


The Atrium or Ground Floor is the main place where people will probably meet up. There are study areas, a student kitchen, the M-ASS (Melbourne Arts Student Society) office and rows of safe laptop/phone charging lockers that are free to access for now. There is also the Arts West gallery which hasn’t opened yet.

ground floor

The First Floor houses the Forum Theatre, some teaching rooms and study tables (one by the stairs and another next to the theatre).

first floor

The Second Floor has more teaching rooms, some “object rooms”, the media laband more study areas. However, the most striking feature of this floor is that there are beanbags! A great place to do some readings (read: sleep!).

second floor

The Third Floor has more study tables (again power-point friendly), an “interactive cinema space”, and more teaching rooms.

third floor

The Fourth Floor is similar to the other floors but is also where the Faculty of Arts’ School of Historical and Philosophical Studies is located. There is a great study area that has a Be quick to grab that spot!

fourth floor

The Fifth Floor has the research lounge and the West Terrace. At this point, it is unknown if these areas will be restricted but for now there are couches and a kitchenette for your needs. Outside, there is a great view of the uni and beyond. There is a small garden, some chairs and tables but it can get really cold out there.

fifth floor

The Sixth Floor houses mainly academic staff offices.

All floors connect to the “North Wing” where there are offices and spaces used by the university. Another notable feature of the Arts West building is the way classrooms are laid out. Some are sleek and modern forms of the tutorial room with heating, natural lighting and swivel chairs. These are called Project Rooms or Collaborative Learning Rooms.

In addition, there are the “Lectorial” spaces which are like a hybrid of tutorial rooms and lecture theatres. On one final note, scattered throughout the building are, standing work spaces that all have power-points with them  if you are in a hurry or need it for your posture.

arts west

Now that you’ve got a basic outline of the Arts West building, let us know what you think of the new building. Will you be visiting it?


Handy Apps for Swotvac and Exams

Alain is a staff writer for Unimelb Adventures. He is a a first year B.A student who is going to major in Politics and International Studies and Media and Communications. He enjoys travelling, photography and looking for the next hot restaurant to rave about whilst crying at his bank balance.

Do you find yourself taking millions of Snapchat selfies? Do you get the sense that time is passing you by way too quickly and you don’t know why?

With Swotvac in full swing, here are some suggestions of great free apps that can help you maximise your study whilst minimising your procrastination.

Revision Apps

  1. Quizlet

Quizlet is a study app that lets you create flashcards in interactive ways. The app allows you to play mini-games with your notes and even has audio options for your revision.

  1. Brainscape – Smart Flashcards

Brainscape is another flashcard app that seeks to promote interactivity in revision.  It provides “brain games” and personalisation of your study plan. The app also allows users to share their flashcards and collaborate with other people.

  1. Mindmeister

If you’re more of a visual learner like me, Mindmeister could be the app for you! It lets you create mind-maps and organise them into folders. Like other apps, users can collaborate and even make changes to the mind-map in real time.


Organisation Apps

  1. Evernote

You’ve probably heard of Evernote and maybe even use it already, but if you don’t it is well worth a try. The app is a multifaceted platform that provides bookmarking, note taking, clipping and list services. All of which are essential for organising notes come exam time.

  1. Tide

This is a minimalistic app that seeks to provide a simple way of keeping up with the pomodoro method. For those who don’t know the pomodoro method is a time management strategy named after a tomato!  It is essentially 25 minutes of focussed work followed by a 5 minute break repeated. The app provides multiple background sounds, such as the ocean or a busy cafe. If that doesn’t suit you can even play your music over it.

  1. is a simple list making and to-do app. It lets you customise categories for your needs and provides a self-tailored priority list for your day. Just touch, swipe and drag and you’re a listastic user.

  1. Google

Google has many apps to offer, but the main ones are: Docs, Sheets, Drive, Photos and Calendar. They offer a seamless and intuitive experience for your organisational needs. Handy tip- because every student email account is using Google, you can have double the storage if you use both your UniMelb and personal accounts.

  1. Scannable

Brought to you by the people behind Evernote, Scannable is a mobile scanning app. You simply use your phone’s camera and it automatically detects pieces of paper. It can be fiddly but it’s useful if you don’t have access to a scanner.

  1. Slack

This is a team communication app. If you want to send messages only relating to study, then Slack is the way to go. You can organise chats to different folders and with individuals. It can be more effective than Facebook as there is no newsfeed or pictures of dogs – meaning you are less likely to be distracted!


Study Break and Fun Apps

Doing well in exams isn’t just about cramming and studying until 6am. You need a balance of study and cool down periods. Of course there are your social media apps and actually GOING OUTSIDE but here are some apps I’ve used in the past while taking a study break and revising at a more leisurely pace.

  1. StumbleUpon

I call this app (which is also a website) the procrastination app. Just sign up with your email or Facebook account, choose a few topics that interest you and the site will give you random links (pictures, comics, sites, videos, essays etc) that you can divulge in.

  1. Khan Academy

Many of my friends who do Science have found this great. Apparently it explains topics really well, from calculus to history. The site or app is organised into categories and within them, are videos going through key concepts and examples. There are also interactive exercises to track your progress.

  1. Curious

Curious is an app that aims to provide you with new pieces of knowledge everyday. You can customise how much time you have a day (5, 15 or 30 minutes) and the app will tailor your needs with video lessons, such as, how to create a budget, play guitar or mindfulness meditation.

  1. TED

You’ve probably already heard of TED Talks and your subject tutors and lecturers might already use it, but TED is a wide-reaching platform that is worth you taking a look at as well. It has a speech on just about anything, from spam emails to breakups, and there is surely something that can inspire you or help you revise.

  1. Menulog/Foodora/Ubereats/DeliveryHero

Food is a very important commodity in studying. With these apps, you can get it delivered to you. If you’re in area that’s not a library or uni, having food delivered to you can save time and prevent you from having to go down to the closest cafe/KFC/friend’s apartment. Be careful, however, as some of the apps require a minimum spend and remember to try and eat healthy – it can actually improve your brain power!

  1. Beanhunter

The daily fix of java is one of the post popular  motivations  for leaving the house to study. It seems we just can’t get enough coffee whilst studying and many students even find cafes great study locations. If you’re one of these people, this app can help you! It shows a map of the closest and highest rated coffee shops within your area. Perfect for when you need your caffeine fix or you’re in the ERC or Baillieu at 12pm going up and down the stairs trying to find a study spot.


If you know of any other apps that might be of interest to your fellow students, feel free to comment below!

– Alain