Graduate: Adam Guise
Greens candidate for Lismore in the 2015 State Election, Adam Guise, took 10 years of exploring different careers related to his degrees before finding his calling in community campaigning.
Having grown up on the Mid North coast of New South Wales on farms in the Macleay Valley and the Nambucca Valley, Adam had an appreciation of the country lifestyle that made Southern Cross University his study location of first choice. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws in 2004, and a Graduate Diploma of Education at Southern Cross University in 2005, Adam tried his hand at numerous jobs before settling on his current pursuit.
"Moving to Lismore to study at a regional university was a real boon for me staying connected to the landscape I love. I was always reluctant to move to the city for study when there were great regional universities like Southern Cross University offering the courses I wanted," Adam said.
"I am grateful for my time at SCU and the high calibre of lecturers I had.
"During University I was engaged in political ideas, but not overtly political or a member of a party. Some of my favourite subjects were in my politics major, which was chiefly due to my tutors who consistently challenged me and expanded my field of political ideas. However, it was not until relatively late in my life that I became overtly political.
"Throughout University I thought I'd practice law, but after graduating I realised I was driven to remedy the causes of injustice, rather than simply be a cog in the system dealing with the symptoms of the problem. This is why I added a teaching degree at the end of my studies, so that I could inspire a new generation of kids to fight for social justice and protect our life support systems.
"After graduating I worked at Trinity Catholic College for five years, before backpacking solo through Asia and Europe. It was here that I realised how much I loved Australia, both its people and its environment, and was the catalyst for returning with a renewed passion to become politically active.
"The best thing about SCU was the quality of teaching staff. I distinctly remember my lecturers being at the cutting edge of their fields; and with the combination of generous face to face teaching hours and a high internal student presence, university provided some of the most intellectually satisfying years of my life.
"I took the plunge of city life to take up the position as policy and legislation advisor to Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham in NSW Parliament in 2013. This is where I put my law degree to good use, through the drafting of legislation and policy in the member's portfolios of mining, agriculture and crown Lands. During this time I had the opportunity to successfully negotiate 23 amendments to the government's reforms of the cemeteries and interment sector. It is humbling to think that I am likely to be buried under laws that I helped write!
"As a graduate from University I realise that not everyone has this opportunity, and that it seems a privilege to have the chance for a university education, rather than a right. This opportunity will be severely constrained if we go down the path of student loans and privatisation. It will be a sad day for the lucky country if we turn our backs on seeing education as a right, rather than a privilege.
"Having now spent most of my adult life in the University town of Lismore, I realise how important universities are to regional areas. Not only do they bring opportunities for further education to locals, they are also the lifeblood to their region. As one of the largest employers in our community, Southern Cross University brings a whole lot of income into our community through student rent, food and services. Not only this, universities keep regions progressive in ideas and vibrant in terms of the youth, culture and extra-curricular activities student life brings to a region.
"It took me 10 years of trying my hand at different things and travel before I realised what my calling was. My teaching skills, legal knowledge and political understanding gave me the confidence to be active in the Gasfield Free Northern Rivers campaign for the past two and a half years. This culminated in a great victory for people power at the Bentley Blockade which has resulted in a temporary reprieve from further unconventional gas drilling in the Northern Rivers."