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.