Who's Who at the RSC? - Gavin Perri

5 June 2017

Do you ever see a face around but you're not sure who they are or what they do? Us too! This month we are going to be starting a monthly interview segment, getting to know the people who make the RSC tick. We want to interview staff, academics and students, so let us know if you would like to nominate next month's  interview-ee. To start us off admin superstar Gavin Perri has answered a few questions about his day and the history of the RSC News:

What is your role in the RSC?

Administrative Coordinator

What did you do before you came to the RSC?

Secondary School teacher at Marist College Canberra

What would you do in a typical day at the office?

I usually start the morning by greeting Sam and Michelle at the front office, if it is freezing cold outside, I will state, “Yeah nah it’s a warm one, I might have a cold bath later today”, or if it is stinking hot outside, I will state, “Geez it’s freezing outside, we will have to turn the heaters on”. Without fail, Sam and Michelle laugh, even though after the 300th time this must not be funny (some people may rightly argue that this was not even funny the first time). Similarly, if the duress alarm goes off for an inordinate amount of time and is not muted, even after a staff member has attended to it, I always remind the front office staff that it is my favourite song.

I believe these “anecdotes” best characterise my typical day in the office, as for any particular enquiry I usually have an associated Rules, Regulations, Policy, Procedural or even worse, a Form to fill out, which is unfortunately, as funny as a person pointing out how hot it is outside on a 40 degree day, but if I add a “Dad’s joke” it attempts to soften the blow.

Why did the RSC News begin?

The history of The RSC News precedes me by many years …  Due to the tireless work of Professor Elmars Krausz who has collected and digitised the RSC News over the years we can still access and read each issue, and answer this question directly:

“Communication at all levels is essential for efficient, equitable and informed administration. The Research School of Chemistry organisation is based on mechanisms calculated to make all opinions heard in the right places. We now add a further link in the information chain in commencing the RSC News. This will contain the obvious practical information about seminars, lecturers, visitors, social events and so forth, but also I hope will be a medium to make members of the School more aware of general questions of policy and developments and the decisions of Faculty Board. Although some of this is contained in the Dean's statement to Faculty, a more frequent and continuous availability of information would be useful. I hope also that staff members may from time to time be prepared to summarise the general implications of their work for members of the School who are not specialists in their area.” – A.J. Birch RSC News Vol. 1 No. 1 25th May 1970.

I am sure each editor has had their particular views on the purpose of the RSC News. Personally I like the community aspect of the publication, I believe it provides a snapshot of the people working within the school. The chemical research will most likely be published or accessible in journals, but the stories of the people behind this research is rarely known (outside of their social sphere) or published.

What do you hope for the future of the RSC News? / How would you like to see the RSC’s media and communications grow?

I would like there to still be an RSC News in 50 years time! The longevity of the newsletter, I believe, is correlated with contribution, and fortunately for the RSC we have had and still do have an excellent number of staff and students who have regularly contributed! Otherwise it would have devolved into “Gavin’s monthly magazine”… actually this should be the impetus to keep people contributing…

With regards to growing the RSC media and communications, and once again revisiting the first ever issue, the RSC News has changed from a typed newsletter in 1970 to a HTML newsletter today, the lay nature of the publication makes it very suitable for the stories to also be accessible, posted, liked and twittered on social media.

Who makes the best coffee in Canberra?

Unfortunately I do not drink coffee :-(

What is the funniest thing that’s happened to you at ANU?

I once donated blood after work, but I did not eat and drink as much as I should have during the day, later that evening I returned to the ANU campus to watch a show at Teatro Vivaldi Restaurant with a local artist singing John Lennon’s greatest hits, and in the same audience that evening was then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. I was feeling light headed, and there on a stage surrounded by flashing orange lights was John Lennon singing “Give peace a chance” to the Australian Prime Minister. In that moment I finally understood the sixties.

Gavin has many hilarious stories to tell about his time at ANU, and is great to have a chat with about just about anything. So don't be shy and say hi!