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KSU Election 2014: Pulse Candidates Profiles

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Following Insite’s debate, KSU Candidates in the Hotseat, we conducted short interviews with all of Pulse’s candidates.

Join us on quad for our next debate: The KSU election debate, where presidential candidates Gayle Lynn Callus (SDM) and Clive Gerada (PULSE) go head to head in what should be a heated debate.

Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Is terrified of spiders and so gives them names. Such as ‘George’ and ‘Michael’

 

“We must work on students’ inclusivity”

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Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Still has a poster of Ira Losco in his room

 

Student organisations should be made part of the decision process”

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Role: Social Policy

Fun fact: Cycles every day to University because she’s lazy

 

“We need a more proactive KPS”

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Role: Financial Officer

Fun fact: When she was a child she went to take a picture at a zoo in front of the monkey’s cage, however as she rested against the railing she ended up in the cage with the monkeys.

 

“Transparency is key and we must work on it”

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Role: Secretary General

Fun fact: Is extremely ticklish.

 

“KSU should be in the centre of student’s life, together with them.”

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Role: Vice President

Fun fact: I got held in an airport in Chile for carrying an apple which had already travelled through Vienna, London and New York.

 

“KSU should foster student participation and not remain hidden”

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Role: Public Relations Officer

Fun fact: Has on average 15 cups of coffee every day

 

“We need a yearlong relationship with people outside the University of Malta as well as inside”

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Role: International Coordinator

Fun fact: Everybody thinks his nickname is ‘Paki’ because he’s from Pakistan

 

“International students must be integrated as one with us”

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Role: International Officer

Fun fact: Is the voice in the classic duo Kemmuna Airways’ song ‘Superman’

 

“We want a more united University”

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Role: Education

Fun Fact: Has a one-eyed hamster named Peppinu.

 

“We have to build upon what has already been done.”

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Posted in Interviews, News

KSU Elections 2014: SDM Candidate Profiles

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Following Insite’s debate, KSU Candidates in the Hotseat, short interviews were conducted with all of SDM’s candidates.

Join us on quad for our next debate: The KSU election debate, where presidential candidates Gayle Lynn Callus (SDM) and Clive Gerada (PULSE) go head to head in what should be a heated debate.

SDM Candidates

Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Has a triple-jointed finger

 

“I will constantly try and appeal to the students”

Becky

Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Has a doppelganger who was also in his same course (MD).

 

“We must motivate the individual student to become more involved”

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Role: Social Policy

Fun fact: …Let me think about it…

 

“We must work in favour of intellectual argument”

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Role: Financial Officer

Fun fact: Can speak like Donald Duck

 

“We must put the money we earn in line with what we spend”

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Role: Secretary General

Fun fact: Has been playing violin for 12 years

 

“We must look to the future and think ahead”

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Role: Vice-President

Fun fact: Has an obese Labrador

 

“We should take the role of Vice-President to the level it deserves”

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Role: Public Relations Officer

Fun fact: Accidentally fed his family mercury.

 

“Student apathy should be worked upon”

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Role: International

Fun fact: Went to Switzerland with her scout’s group for three weeks doing activities such as fishing, camping and so on.

 

“We need to hold more meetings with organisations’ international officers”

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Role: International

Fun fact: His nickname is ‘Il-Lion’

 

“We must work hand in hand with other student organisations”

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Role: Education

Fun fact: Was a lifeguard

 

“KE must be more representative and empower student representation”

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Posted in Interviews, News

The Criminology Students’ Association: An Optimistic Revival

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The Criminology Students’ Association, formerly known as Għ.S.K (Għaqda Studenti tal- Kriminologija) have had a turbulent couple of years going through no less than 2 revivals – the latest being in 2012. Andrea Gonzi sits down with President Ilona Degura and Public Relations Officer Antonio Zerafa about the difficulty of starting up a defunct organisation from scratch.

With a student body that is often times deemed to be apathetic it comes as no surprise that there are student organisations that seem to quickly flourish but also flounder just as quickly into obscurity. It’s the fact that many organisations seem to revive out of nowhere that is an intriguing aspect of our student political scene.

Unfazed by the fact that this interview was going to revolve around their organisations’ constant revivals both representatives seemed upbeat and optimistic about the future of their fledgling organisation. Incumbent President Ilona Degura, points out that the reason why the organisation had recently become dormant was the fact that it was primarily composed of 3rd year students who were in their final year therefore making it much harder to pass on the torch to new members. When queried on why she revived the organisation she explained that it was a mentality of, ‘Look you too can make something out of being a University student and give something back to your own course’.

When queried on whether the organisation’s dormancy was due to passive students PRO Antonio Zerafa opined that labeling criminology students as being ‘passive’ or ‘active’ wouldn’t be fair on them because it was the organisation itself that was in a state of dormancy. He explains, ‘We’re not close enough to the students yet to judge’ however he felt that 1st year students have shown great enthusiam to take part.

Ms. Degura highlighted that the main aim of this year’s executive was to get students closer to the organisation to eventually form a bond with it, ‘We want to see what they want and need from us’.

In line with the general perception of an apathetic student body both representatives highlighted that the hardest aspect of reviving an organisation is filling out the ranks with dedicated members. Ms Deguara also pointed out it was a challenge to increase the organisation’s appeal to both the students and organisations alike. When queried on whether funding has been an issue Ms.Deguara highlights that they still need to raise the bar in this area however she felt that for any type of organisation funds are intrinsically linked with its members and as their organisation’s popularity increases so will the amount of funds generated.

When queried on what their organisation can offer to the student body and students in general Mr. Zerafa replied that ‘Criminology is one of those courses that can offer really interesting debates both on and outside of the campus’. He explained that it’s also important to dispel the perception of the general public and 1st year students that criminology will only lead to employment as a police inspector.

Ultimately, Ms Deguara concludes, that although it is the organisation’s aim to promote criminology to the general public, at the moment the first thing that the organisation must do is draw people in by finding out what is really expected from them.

Posted in Interviews

Rumoured Candidate for KSU confirms Nomination – Paul Caruana Turner to run for Pulse

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An InsiterOnline article last week suggested that political rivals SDM and Pulse have already earmarked a number of candidates to contest next month’s KSU elections – in an exclusive interview with InsiterOnline, rumored Pulse candidate Paul Caruana Turner comes forward to confirm his candidature, explaining the motivation behind seeking a post on the council.

“The closest indication of who the other candidates are is from your [InsiterOnline] article – I’m here to confirm mine as we haven’t met each other yet,” Paul says confidently, confirming that he will be contesting an administrative post on the council, that is either of the President, Vice President, Secretary General, Public Relations Officer or Finance Officer posts.

Rumoured candidates Paul Caruana Turner [Left] and Clive Farrugia [Right] with Pulse President Matthew Zerafa [Center] at a Press Conference [Summer 2013]

Paul Caruana Turner [Left] with rumoured Pulse candidate Clive Farrugia [Right] and Pulse President Matthew Zerafa [Center] at a Press Conference regarding the introduction of ‘Legal Studies’ [Summer 2013]


Joining the Pulse team having built a reputation both on and off campus, Paul brings forward experience as a gay-rights activist for WeAre [the LGBTQQI association on campus]; an executive member for the National Youth Council, as well as a student representative at the Faculty of Laws – one might say KSU would be the next natural step for Paul.

However, he says that the choice wasn’t planned – he argues that such a progression was not in his hands and that the decision to contest depended on Pulse selecting him, rather than his personal decision.

 

“I never planned it out… I was always an active person, but I never thought I’d be asked”, he says, speaking of KSU seemingly appearing as “some sort of elite club” to the every-day student – “not that I think that I should be part of any elite club, but it seems that way from the outside,” he quickly adds.

For Paul, the decision to contest follows a campaign he spearheaded together with the law students’ association and social democrat organization Pulse last summer – on the implementation of ‘Legal Studies’ at intermediate, which would have left prospective law students unable to select a subject which was designed for them.

The issue left Ghsl and Pulse at loggerheads with SDM, ELSA and KSU – all of whom had a different approach to the issue while student representatives like Paul struggled to make ends meet when it came to uniting student organs.

Describing his motivation for joining Pulse in their campaign, he says that the he always found the social democrat organization whenever he needed support:

“In my time as a student activist, if I can call myself that, we always found Pulse when we needed organizations to back us,” Paul says, with reference to the legal studies issue, “When you need to sway public opinion or create awareness about something… you need bigger organizations, when we needed one – we always found Pulse.”

“KSU took the side of the administration, they sent us messages to keep quiet and not put the situation in the spotlight – I felt that was wrong. I thought to myself, are they joking? They’re meant to be the people on our side championing the cause.”

Further elaborating, he says that KSU have lacked an element of representation throughout the past year – pointing out that a joint stand which We Are and KSU were meant to take on homophobia in Russia never materialized. But where does Paul see KSU improving on its work when it comes to student representation?

“KSU has let the students down a lot in terms of representation”

“KSU has the potential for power”, he argues, “if you look back to 1997 for example, the KSU under Manwel Delia was able to bring Msida to a halt and they marched in the streets, they were the voice of the students. I think there we saw that there is potential behind KSU, what has happened – I don’t know, from my personal experience – KSU has let the students down a lot in terms of representation.”

Given that KSU election turnouts have stood at just over 30% at best for the past few years, the conversation regarding KSU quickly turns to one about student apathy – Paul points towards apathy as a result of KSU’s shortcomings.

“This is why sometimes you hear, ‘ah students are apathetic’, I don’t think it’s fair to blame the student – I think you should be pointing the finger to KSU; what are you doing to get them out to vote? I think that it’s not fulfilling its potential.”

He says that SDM’s success in KSU has caused the council to go into stagnation, and as a result, has left students disappointed with the council – “there’s been SDM in KSU for the past years – they have their fixed formula, this works and they’ve stuck to it… students have become disenchanted because whenever there was an issue which doesn’t seem that important to the outside world – and that’s the thing, people on the outside don’t always understand [student issues].”

“If KSU focused less on their social programme and more on student representation – then we’d see a greater input from students in elections.”

Asked about conrete proposals, Paul hesitates due to the manifesto not yet being finalized, however he says that his focus will be towards the council working better with organizations.

“The manifesto hasn’t been finalized, definitely if I can speak in more general terms, it would be more student representation – the social programme is good and fun, I think there are too many events, you have a situation where KSU events clash with events with member organisations, KSU should be collaborating.”

Posted in Comment, Interviews

365 Days of Work – No Sleep for Sterlino

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Jack of all trades and master of most JON CALLEJA talks to DAVID GRECH URPANI about the secret to juggling between fashion, design, music and parenthood. As he embarks on a new project, InsiterOnline visits a creative polymath who has recently found his way back to campus.

Risk Win Big

Risk Win Big – Jon Sterlino (365 Days)

 

Better known as Sterlino, he speaks of one of his more recent feats – attracting mammoth clothing company Nike to one of his designs, which will be released under their brand this autumn. However, his story of creative work goes further back, boasting a long history of creative exploration spanning across all media.

The brain behind many of Malta’s sights and sounds – from glamorously simple designs sported by the likes Charles & Ron, to owning his own urban clothing brand Fat Gold and No Good and the sounds of the DJ Duo Mathematikal, Jon Calleja has had his fair share of contributions to the island’s aesthetics and branding.

The busy life of foreign clients and a multitude of specific requests does not come without its comic reliefs: “I had some commissions from India to create weird Bollywood posters like ‘Phata Poster Nikla Hero’”, he shares as he cringes momentarily, “trying to make that phrase interesting – twice as I had to redo it due to the client’s inability to spell – was quite the challenge.”

Having recently also become a father, you would think that Jon, more widely known by his alias Sterlino, is getting ready to tone it down a notch. This seems to be far from the case, however, as he’s just embarked on a new project in the form of a resolution for 2014.

Every day this year, he plans on posting an image a day of his hand drawn illustrations via his page Hello Jon. Already well into the third month, Jon’s project, aptly named 365 Days of Work / Play, keeps churning out stunning visual pieces, and is set to keep going strong all the way to January 2015.

“I fell in love with that shoe. I ended up creating my own t-shirts at an early age, using normal paint you could buy from an ironmonger”, he reminisces, Jon’s earliest inspirations were as spontaneous as his projects nowadays. He traces back his love for fashion and design to the moment that he first laid his eyes on the Nike Air Max 1 in the late 1980s.

Fast forward to 2000, and a 19-year-old Jon was just getting enrolled for a course in graphic design at the Targa Gap Art & Design (today’s MCAST).

“It was very limiting back then, so although I did learn quite a lot, you could say that some things ended up being self-taught,” he admits. This combination of education and experience culminated when he moved to London for two years to freelance at various design agencies. “Life in London is so different – I sometimes used to get inspired by people waiting in the London underground while commuting!”

Never to Late to Learn

“Never to Late to Learn” – Jon Sterlino (365 Days of Work)

Despite his staggeringly long and impressive portfolio, 33-year old Sterlino still believes there’s more to learn from life, and this year, he’s back to University following a Fine Arts degree in Digital Art. Although hectic at times, he says this is a perfect opportunity for him to rediscover things from a completely different point of view. However, Campus Life isn’t the only thing he’s returning to this year.

“It’s great to be back in the music scene,” he smiles, looking glad that we’ve moved on to his other passion. With the new addition to the family, Jon had needed a bit of a break from the scene. “Family always comes first. I’m blessed to have a wife who encourages me to do whatever makes me happy though, and this year felt ripe for a comeback.”

All things considered, Jon has the makings of the perfect dad. “Our house is littered with instruments, so I’m hoping that he picks up one of them and starts exploring the world of music. He’s already banging on this toy drum,” he beams, already very proud of one-year-old Jack. While he would obviously love it if his son followed in his footsteps, Jon quickly adds that he would never allow himself to force Jack to do anything that he doesn’t want to do.

Jon’s year sounds busy enough if you had to leave it at that, but so far we’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg. Also being the designing powerhouse behind FM, Money and Skipper magazines, multiple deadlines become quickly become a daily thing. How does he manage to keep up with so many different things and still produce such great results?

“I don’t know…black magic?”, he laughs nervously,“Seriously though, I try to make time for everything in life. If it’s something you love, you will undoubtedly make time for it.”

He goes on to recount all the nights he spent awake finishing a track or a piece of work. “Life is too short to not do whatever you love. Sleep when you’re dead,” he finishes off, already standing up, probably thinking of the dozen other things he needs to get done by the day’s end.

Photo by Nicky Scicluna

Posted in Comment, Culture, Interviews

And Then We Held Hands: An interview with David Chircop and Yannick Massa

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Over the weekend of the 26th to the 28th January, Malta participated for the first time in the annual Global Game Jam (GGJ). Held at the Institute of Digital Games, at the University of Malta, fifty Malta-based jammers met up to push the boundaries of their creativity together. The event produced eleven games in the space of just forty eight hours along the theme of “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Today I had the opportunity to speak to David Chircop and Yannick Massa, whose board game “…and then we held hands…” went home with the People’s Choice award.

Q: Some introductions first; tell me a bit about yourselves.

David: Full time UoM student, reading for a Master’s in Digital Games, but I manage a part-time podiatry practice, as well as acting on the side. Occasionally, I produce stand up and theatre events too.

Yannick: As for myself, I’m a QA Engineer professionally after studying ICT for two years at MCAST specialising in software engineering. Looking to get into the game development industry as a Unity developer, though I also act and role play a bit. I am also part owner of Mechanimus Studios, a small company focused on traditional pen-and-paper role-playing-games (RPGs).

Q: Theatre looks like a common interest, so I’m guessing that you guys knew each other before the game jam?

David: Yes. We met each other on Facebook, when Yannick commented on a photo of my playing Battlelore. He asked me where I found it, because the game is out of print and crazy expensive. Then a few weeks later, we met while working on Shakespeare.

Yannick: Yeah, on The Winter’s Tale. David, we still haven’t played Battlelore.

David: Planning to play it this week!

Q: Any previous game making experience?

Yannick: I published a full RPG with Mechanimus Studios called Sanctuary’s Edge. Other than that, I made a few digital games during a Unity course I did and a few for myself in my spare time. I’ve written a lot of adventure plots for different sorts of RPGs too, mostly dark fantasy or the sword and sorcery genre.

David: I’ve designed a few board games. One is called In Memoriam and another is Castille, plus I’m working on another card game project at the moment. I also made some video games as part of my M.Sc. one on sadness and suicide and another on abuse on Ask.FM, though Castille originated from the Master’s too.

Q: Tell me about your game. I’ve had the pleasure to play it with Yannick’s help and it was a unique experience.

David: The theme is a major part of the game. You can say it’s the selling point: It’s about two people in a broken relationship that have drifted apart. The goal of the game is to reconcile that relationship. It’s co-operative, so you either both win or both lose – you essentially play against the game.

Yannick: The player’s reality changes according to their position on the board. Changing perspectives is key to providing more options to yourself and your partner for navigating the board. Each player’s move has an impact on the other player’s next move and all of this is compounded because the players are not allowed to speak to each other when playing.

Q: One mechanic that stood out to me was the ability to use each other’s cards. How did you come up with that in particular?

David: Yeah, you don’t generally see that in board games.

Yannick: There’s a bit more to the co-operative element than winning or losing together; the core mechanic is empathy. Once we had the ‘theme’ of the board game, the mechanics developed on their own.

David: Yes, agreed Yannick. The way we worked is we started with the theme, then found mechanics that fit. We always start with what we want the game to about and how we want to make it feel. The mechanics are discovered as we explore that theme.

Yannick: About the cards, we figured people in a relationship aren’t only fuelled by their own emotions, but their partner’s as well. This naturally developed into using each other’s cards.

David: This lets you reach your own emotional goals by ‘using’ your partner, sort of piggy-backing onto his/her emotions, but you have to make sure you don’t block them by using up cards they’d otherwise need themselves.

Yannick: This also helped us realize that over-dependence on a partner’s energy is damaging to a relationship, so the balance mechanic was born.

David: Exactly. The balance, as well as the losing condition, are tied to using your partner’s emotions so much that they can’t move and you break up, representing one person sort of strangling the other in a relationship. You can use your partner to move, but you still need to leave space for them to move.

Q: The allegory behind the game sounds like an important factor to you then.

Yannick: Haha yeah, we developed metaphors for all the end conditions.

David: All the mechanics mean something, none of them are ‘just there’. They represented the dynamics of a relationship.

Yannick: In truth, making this game was a bit of a co-operative, synergistic game in and of itself!

David: So true, Yannick.

Q: Even now, I can see that you guys bounce well off each other. Is this why you stuck to just the two of you at the jam? You were one of the smallest groups.

David: Well, there was a guy who wanted to join us at one point, but he was a programmer and left when he knew we were making a board game.

Yannick: We were looking for artists mainly, though we could find one that was unattached.

David: To be fair, we didn’t look that much. We started talking and after about fifteen minutes everyone seemed to be taken, so we just did the art ourselves.

Yannick: Turned out to be an advantage though, because the minimalist style was popular.

David: We’ve had good comments on it, even on boardgamegeek.com. The URL is http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/153999/and-then-we-held-hands.

Q: Sounds like you’re going to continue working on the game.

David: Yes, we’re looking into publishing routes at the moment and we’re refining the artwork.

Yannick: Also cleaning up some of the loose ends.

Q: Did you guys expect to do so well? Quite a few of the jammers had to vote for you to win the People’s Choice.

David: Not really. I mean, I was quite happy with what we came up with, but we struggled to settle on something in the beginning.

Yannick: Yeah, as Dave said, I didn’t expect any of this. I mean, I went home on the first day feeling like a failure because after almost eight hours of brainstorming we hadn’t settled on an idea.

David: We came up with a lot of stuff, all of which was cool, but we couldn’t find something worked. We must have prototyped two to three games before we settled.

Yannick: I think by the end of the first night, all we had was a rough idea of the board. We were technically ‘done’ by Saturday night, but we still needed to print the cards and write the rulebook.

David: And polish out some things, but by the second day at about 3 A.M. we had a game and the art ready. The art took us a good amount of the last part of the second day and because we needed it finished to able to print. Then we went to three different printers on Sunday morning to find someone open to print the cards.

Q: So you practically finished it over Saturday?

David: Yes, once we settled on the concept things fell into place.

Yannick: Yup. That felt amazing. We went from vague concept to finished game in one day.

Q: Almost finished! Any tips for future jammers?

Yannick: Hah, personally I don’t think I’m very qualified to dispense advice, even at this point.

David: I think ‘do not be afraid’ is the best I can do. Just go for it, it’s meant to be fun so go in with an open mind and willingness to cooperate.

Yannick: Get excited, get making and get jamming I guess. For sure, fear really got us down at the start.

David: But, then we slept on it and went for it again the next day. Also, do sleep a little because it really helps to freshen you up, especially if you are designing.

Yannick: Yeah and stop and walk away from the game often. At least, that’s what we did; went out for walks or a beer and ate pretty often.

David: A lot of water too.

Yannick: And coffee.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yannick: You can find and download the game, for free, at http://globalgamejam.org/2014/games/and-then-we-held-hands. We’re always encouraging people to play and criticize. Please, if you don’t like something we want to know!

Amendment: A few days after the interview was done, …and then we held hands… exploded in popularity following a review and play through by popular YouTube board game reviewer Rahdo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpkjVknnVh8. Soon after, the game shot up to first place on the hotness meter at boardgamegeek.com, overtaking the immensely popular Android: Netrunner and remains there at the time of writing. The game was also highlighted on Shut Up & Sit Down another popular board gaming website: http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/blog/post/games-news-240214/ on the 24th of February.

 

 

 

Posted in Interviews, News