Humans of RMIT: Tara Robinson

Tara is FIRE+ Club President, studying Bachelor of Environmental Engineering.

My RMIT journey started when I began a bachelors degree at the University two years ago, having moved to Melbourne from Queensland.

I am most passionate about diversity and inclusivity in engineering, education and industry and was attracted to the courses at RMIT because of the hands-on approach to learning and connections to real-world projects and the opportunities to create impact in the areas that I am passionate about.

It is this passion that led me to lead the Females in RMIT Engineering+ (FIRE+) Club.

In 2021, our group is really working towards making sure that all clubs at the university and RMIT as a whole, is being inclusive of everyone within RMIT Engineering. Not just females, but all LGBTQI class members, people with disabilities and anyone who is underrepresented in the field.

Speaking first hand as a woman in engineering, most of the projects tend to be male-dominated and it can be very intimidating going into that environment. By creating opportunities for females through our club, we’re able to showcase these projects to women and hopefully encourage some people to come out of their shell, move beyond the confines of the classroom and feel confident to become more engaged with the community.

My other passion lies with Sustainability. As an engineering student, I’m really passionate about gaining an education about how our engineers can help everyone in the world work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As I work towards finishing my degree, I hope to find a role that is focused on contributing to SDGs and make a lasting impact in the world.

As RMIT starts preparing its next strategy, there are five things I would love to see the University work towards in the future.

Firstly, I believe that RMIT should make it mandatory for all first-year students to complete Indigenous awareness and understanding training. RMIT has over 18,000 international students, some may have never had the opportunity to learn about Australia’s indigenous culture and history.

As we continue to conduct our business across the lands of Australia, it is integral that our student body recognizes, respects and values the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture to our society.

I would like to see RMIT run a large scale stem career fair within the next five years; a week-long event held on campus with industry groups, workshops and online discussion panels. There is no doubt that RMIT has fantastic industry connections, however, students are lacking the large scale opportunities to network, develop skills and find jobs with the University’s industry partners.

To help further improve the student experience, it is important for RMIT to create dedicated workspaces for students of the same discipline to study. As most of our classes shift to online, it is becomingly increasingly obvious just how many areas on campus are underutilized by students. This is a perfect time to reallocate study spaces and tutorial rooms for use by students in different programs, we could create safe spaces to study collaboratively and share knowledge.

I’m also keen to see free sanitary items placed in all bathrooms across our major campus. I’m a strong advocate for access to period products being a right, not a privilege.

By providing easy access to essential pads, tampons and reusables, RMIT can greatly help those that need it, especially since so many students have been facing hardship throughout the pandemic.

My final goal for RMIT is to create a student-to-student mental support system. RMIT could be achieved by pairing final year students with penultimate or final EU students based on discipline, background or shared interests. This would be an extremely beneficial initiative to make students transition to University life better, especially for minorities and students in underrepresented groups in different programs.

If you would like to join the FIRE+ group, membership is free! You can find more information via Facebook or on the RUSU website.
For anyone who is passionate about inclusivity and diversity, you’ll get so much out of joining through social events, industry events and workshops about diversity.