Welcome, Alex!22 September 2017
There’s a new Office Bearer in town! We interviewed the new Indigenous Officer, Alexandra Hohoi to find out a little bit more about her!
What are you studying?
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Australian Indigenous Studies. My vision is to eventually work in research, studying Indigenous knowledge and learning.
What inspired you to take office?
Universities aren’t historically safe places for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for that reason we still are so low in representation, particularly at The University of Melbourne. During my time here I have seen so many of our students struggle, fail and drop out. And when it’s happening again and again you have to ask why. Why does this institution continue to fail us? Why is it such a struggle to exist here?
I remember hearing someone say that the only way to be at university is to be okay with never feeling safe, and that’s fucked up. I wanted to take office so that I can create safe spaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I also want to help the University transform into a place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can safely exist.
What are you enjoying about being the Indigenous Officer?
Having an avenue to provide support to students through a position like being an Office Bearer is so empowering. Since I have been in office we have hosted a few social events which are always such a fun time.
But I have also had the opportunity to chat with a few students who have experienced racist encounters at university and being able to tell them that they are supported, powerful and able to do something about those encounters is so important.
What do you hope to achieve in your term?
I hope to make the students who are here right now feel like change can be made. I want them to feel powerful, like we can make University even better for our brothers and sisters coming after us. I want the Indigenous students to feel encouraged through strong social networks, to have fun while at university in the face of the racism we encounter on a daily basis.
I also hope to be able to work with the University in a constructive way. I want to educate and be a strong voice for my peers. As a people with 65,000+ years of knowledge, we have a lot to offer the University and we also have a lot to gain from higher education.