PSC's Pals are a student volunteer group who are fostering a sense of community and inclusivity at Photography Studies College. They connect with our first year students, helping them adjust to tertiary study and city life. Pals also arrange various fun activities throughout the year. This month Pals organised a photography exhibition at PSC's pop-up gallery in Southbank, which was accessible to all students. Paul Halse, a third year Bachelor of Photography student, on behalf of Pals, tell us more about these unsung heroes.
Image by PSC's graduate Steph Doran featuring some of PSC's Pals this year.
Who are PSC's Pals?
Pals are a group of volunteers from each year level in the Bachelor of Photography. One of our main duties is to assist students transition from high school into the tertiary student lifestyle. We also organise activities and events throughout the year. It was introduced in 2016, by first year convenor Sarina Lirosi, as a way of connecting with and supporting first year students.
What are some of the things you can help new students with?
As Pals, we hope to share our knowledge and experiences to help students fit in. Part of our job is to foster a sense of belonging, even if it's just by being a friendly, familiar face in the student lounge.
PSC's Pal Rani Joensen at our barbecue by the Yarra River on Orientation Day.
Do you think this is unique for a college?
This kind of peer-to-peer mentor program exists in many universities, mostly in the first semester of first year study. However, here at Photography Studies College we run this program continuously throughout the year and have different students from different year levels join at various times. All students are welcome to join Pals.
What are some of the benefits of having this program?
It connects the first years with the second and third years. We also end up assisting each other on assignments and paid photo shoots. These networks continue even after students graduate - and opens a lot of opportunities in the industry.
Opening Night of PSC Pals student exhibition.
This month Pals organised an exciting exhibition for all of PSC's students, why did you decide to do this?
Our aim was to bring the PSC student community closer together by creating a group exhibition – we wanted to be inclusive. Any PSC student could be a part of the exhibition regardless of their level of experience. It was held at PSC's pop-up gallery in the Southgate shopping precinct.
How did Pals put this exhibition together?
Over a couple of months, we worked hard to organise this exhibition under the guidance of Sarina
[Lirosi]. We first thought of a general theme that everyone could relate to in different ways. 'Change' ended up being our general theme because it's relatable, timely and open to interpretation. Then we split ourselves into different groups based on our strengths. I was part of the installation team, which involved getting the prints to the gallery space, and curating and installing the work.
PSC's Pal Elisey Agarev next to his work showcased at the Pal's student exhibition in Southbank.
How did you feel about the exhibition on its opening night?
I felt really proud of the work done by PSC's students, to be part of this community, and Pals.
What other duties do you perform in your role as a member of Pals?
One of our main events is helping out on Orientation Day, which is at the beginning of every academic year, just before classes officially start. It's when PSC welcomes new students to the college and introduces them to all the teachers. It's a fun and exciting day full of activities, including at photo hunt in the city, which culminates with a beautiful barbecue on the Yarra River.
PSC's tutor and Pals creator Sarina Lirosi with Pal Farley Webb at the Pal's student exhibition in Southbank.
What do you find most rewarding as a member of Pals?
It feels good just to help students feel really welcome and ensure they have fun too! We also get mentor training, and learn important skills in curating, teamwork and leadership.
The Pals student exhibition runs till 27 October at PSC's Southgate pop-up gallery, Level 2 (next to American Rag), Southgate Centre, Southbank.