The Challenge for #collcons

If we haven’t endeared you to collaborative consumption (#collcons) yet it’s probably not possible. We introduced you to the phenomenon in An Idea the will change the world, shared the adventures and insights of three boys who crossed the America’s relying on the collaborative economy only in Meet The Sharing Bros – Living the Collaborative Economy & sharing it with you, and we interviewed Mel O’Young who studies, works, lives and promotes the collaborative economy in 5 Minutes with Mel O’Young from Airbnb & Let’s Collaborate, NYC. Now, the spirit of critical intellectual inquiry urges us to look at the challenges of this new market shift and make sure we’re giving you a fair, balanced window into the sharing economy.

So what’s the number one criticism? Is the disruption a little too disruptive?

“What’s going to happen to my job?”

You don’t really have to look too far at the moment to come across concern about the new set of challenges the powerful and rapidly spreading shift of the collaborative economy stirs up.

A recent TIME article by Katy Steinmetz put a lens on the potential for the on-demand economy to take advantage of workers, because the typical person behind the Uber wheel, the vaccuum cleaning your house or the hammer fixing your cabinetry is rarely an ‘employee’ but rather an “independent contractor, which entitles them to greater flexibility but far fewer protections and benefits”.


The article, The On-demand Economy Takes Workers for a Ride, highlights the regulatory issues associated with what is arguably a whole new type of employment. How do you make this economy safe without a knee-jerk reaction that stamps out innovation?

US Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton has even said that multi-billion dollar economy raises “hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future”. In other words, collaborative consumption has made it all the way to the Presidential debate. But does that mean we should shy away from those questions?

Currently there are multiple lawsuits in the US addressing the legal status of the workers behind the collaborative economy, with companies like Lyft “fighting class actions alleging that their contractors are actually employees and should therefore be paid minimum wage and reimbursed for work related expenses”. However, with great technological and social change always comes challenge to our legal systems, and this will inevitably be a legislative contention.

Lyft Logo

Lyft Logo

Author Steven Hill is critical of this markets development and characterises it as ‘runaway capitalism’. His book, Raw Deal: How the ‘Uber Economy’ and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers chooses to focus on the degree to which ‘instruction’ for workers is enforced by the company, in particular how Uber enforces certain instruction around the condition of drivers cars, their provision of bottled water to passengers and even the décor style and approach to interaction with passengers. Does this sound less like an independent contractor and more like an employer/ employee relationship to you? If so then you might sympathise with some of Hill’s concerns.

‘If they really are drivers as contractors of their own businesses, then Uber should really have little to say to them about how they conduct their business,’ he tells Late Night Live.

There are also plenty of those who think this is just some kind of start-up fad; hyperbole around a tradition of sharing that has been part of social structures since the dawn of time, but is now hopped-up on the drugs of technological efficiency.

Sharing; not a new concept.

Sharing; not a new concept.

So what do you think? What will you ask our Distinguished Speaker Rachel Botsman when we have the Q&A at the end of our event of Wednesday October 7th? There are plenty of pertinent questions to ask.

Chloë Spackman, GLP Manager

Make sure you’ve marked the evening of Wednesday October 7th in your diary so you do not miss GLP’s 2015 Distinguished Speaker, Rachel Botsman, inspire you with her vision for Collaborative Consumption. Not only is the event compulsory, but it will be of great benefit to your development as a Global Leader. You have been automatically enrolled in this event on Thrive. Please refer to your emails for further information as sent out by GLP staff.


5 Minutes with Mel O’Young from Airbnb & Let’s Collaborate, NYC

By now you hopefully know something about our 2015 Distinguished Speaker Rachel Botsman and the phenomenon she coined as ‘Collaborative Consumption’ as we have introduced you to the concept in our last two blogs;

‘An Idea that Will Change the World’ and ‘The Sharing Brothers’.

But let’s hear from someone who works, studies and lives the Collaborative Economy – Australian raised, NYC local Mel O’Young. Mel knows our DSS Speaker Rachel Botsman well, and she is the United States East Coast curator of (Botsman’s comprehensive online resource for collaborative consumption worldwide), so who better to get some insight from?

5 Minutes with Mel from Airbnb & Let’s Collaborate, NYC

Melissa O’Young is an Australian living in New York who is fascinated and passionate about the collaborative economy. She is the founder of Let’s Collaborate!, an organisation that is connecting and promoting the sharing economy movement in New York and also the Head of NY Community for Airbnb. Prior to joining Airbnb, she was building community for Virgin Unite, the non-profit arm to the Virgin Group.

Melissa O'Young Headshot

Melissa O’Young, Collaborative Consumption convert, former Community Curator at Virgin Unite and current Head of Community for Airbnb, NYC.

Her passion for the sharing economy started when she studied it academically through her thesis, and then worked in an advisory role with the UK Government.

  • How did you come across the collaborative economy and what made you decide to focus on it?

A journalist called Rachel Hills once interviewed myself and two other girls for a magazine article on “luck”. When I moved to London, Rachel reached out and invited me to Rachel Botsman’s launch of her book What’s Mine is Yours, the Rise of Collaborative Consumption, which turned out to be a very lucky encounter.

I was studying at that time and Rachel’s book made me realise there was a gap in academia in examining the potential of the collaborative economy. I researched it for my thesis, and now the collaborative economy has evolved to be a major component of my life.

  • Tell us the top 3 ways your discovery of the Collaborative Economy changed your daily life.

My passion for the collaborative economy resulted in me starting Let’s Collaborate! in 2012, an event series where I gather sharing economy thought-leaders to discuss trends and issues in the sharing economy. This has changed my life through meeting a beautiful network of people who have similar values and a vision for a more sustainable, equal, and collaborative world.

Let's Collaborate!_Horizontal_Color (1) copy

It has also changed my daily life through the services I use – the collaborative economy has provided many alternatives from buying handmade pieces on Etsy to obtaining unique fashion items through clothes swaps to trying new ways of eating on Feastly.

Lastly, it has also changed my life through the work that I do. I am very lucky to work for a sharing economy company that is making a significant impact on the way people travel and interact with each other. When using Airbnb, people of all different backgrounds, races, religions are meeting each other in each other’s homes, and I’ve heard from many people in the community that it has turned them into better people. It’s pretty amazing spending your workday knowing that your work will have a positive impact on others.

  • For students who are inspired by the collaborative economy, what would you suggest beyond getting rides from Uber?

This is a hard question for me as there are so many interesting sharing economy services out there!

In health care, there is Cohealo, which allows for medical equipment to be shared. This makes perfect sense to me when expensive medical devices are unused 60% of the time. Health care specialists can rent the equipment and owners of the medical devices can profit from their machines, which sit unused most of the time.

In food, La Ruche qui dit oui (also known as the Food Assembly) is an interesting model for what the future of food might look like. The Food Assembly allows you to order fresh produce online, and then collect it at a local venue where you can talk with neighbours and meet local farmers. It is a scalable food marketplace with a business model that allows for local farmers to receive four times more than what they would get at supermarkets. You can read more about how it works here.


I also love sharing economy organisations that creatively tackle social and environmental issues. The Good Gym is an organization that believes that going to the gym is a waste – they gather people to run together to do good things from running to work on a community project to running to visit an isolated person each week. On the environmental front, Revivn remove out-dated electronics from companies, wipe out the data, and then give these electronics to communities that need them. This makes total sense when we have such a problem with e-waste yet there are communities out there that need access to technology.

  • Why should Global Leadership Program students be excited about hearing from Rachel Botsman this October?

Rachel Botsman is one of the original and early pioneers in the collaborative economy – she has done amazing work to help advocate, describe, and spread the collaborative economy globally. She is a major thought-leader in the space and someone that I deeply respect for her ability to explain a somewhat complex movement, and incredibly inspirational in showing how revolutionary the collaborative economy can be. She’s also a very nice person and a deep thinker full of interesting thoughts – you should all definitely hear her speak in October!

GLP thanks you for your time, Mel!

Chloë Spackman, GLP Manager

Make sure you’ve marked the evening of Wednesday October 7th in your diary so you do not miss GLP’s 2015 Distinguished Speaker, Rachel Botsman, inspire you with her vision for Collaborative Consumption. Not only is the event compulsory, but it will be of great benefit to your development as a Global Leader. You have been automatically enrolled in this event on Thrive. Please refer to your emails for further information as sent out by GLP staff last week.

Semester Exchange: Why it is a Must Do!

GL X01 – Exchange or Study Abroad (semester or year) from the GLP’s Experiential Credit table, may look like a daunting activity. However, for those of you who are contemplating it should definitely do it and see where it takes you. This journey will be one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking, and rewarding experiences of your life.


Arts building called Uni Bastions in Geneva

I undertook my exchange at the University if Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland in 2014. This was a brilliant opportunity as it was in the hub of international politics, science and humanitarian aid. Geneva acts as the headquarters for the Red Cross, The United Nations Human Rights Council and CERN. It was amazing being centred among these organizations and having the opportunity to see some of their work first hand. Additionally, Geneva is at the heart of Europe; therefore, I made sure I had a three-day weekend so that I could travel constantly- a luxury not possible from Australia!

The process to prepare for exchange was a little overwhelming. Prepare to do exams in another language (only applicable if you’re doing a language exchange), preparing to travel, and having the units approved through University was not an easy task. But it was definitely worth it!


The headquarters of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This is one of the rooms where the magic happens!

Prior to my exchange I thought that I had a higher than average level of intercultural competence because I was studying International Studies and that I lived in Australia where we pride ourselves in being multicultural. Due to this I was not initially worried about being adapting to cultural diversities.

However, my exchange quickly challenged this.  I had to quickly adapt to “Swiss Culture”, a multi-lingual country where almost every person could fluently speak at least three languages and living independently for the first time. The first couple of weeks were not easy. Everyday I was exhausted because I was speaking, listening, reading and writing in French in all aspects of life. It was comforting to come home and Skype with family and friends in English.


In front of Uni Mail where I did my International Relations units.

Nevertheless, I made sure that I fully adapted myself to the Swiss culture, trying to interact with domestic students. Through this, I increased my knowledge of Swiss culture – slang, social etiquette “bisous” (kisses on the cheek) etc. that later helped me to settle in and feel less foreign!

All in all, Geneva was an enriching experience for all aspects of educational and social life. It has lead to a lot of cultural self-awareness and has definitely sharpened and improved my ability to communicate effectively and appropriately with people of other cultures. I have noticed that I have developed:

  • Knowledge about other cultures and other people’s behaviors.
  • Empathy and the ability to understand the feelings and needs of other people – I have become more tolerant.
  • Self-confidence – a self awareness of my own capabilities and emotional stability.
  • Cultural identity – an increased knowledge of my own culture.

I hope this has inspired you to take up a semester abroad! Living and studying in a foreign country will give you a number of incredible experiences and you will learn so much about yourself.

*By Thalia Ngan.

*Thalia recently completed the GLP and graduated with a Bachelor of International Studies. She has returned to Macquarie and is currently completing a Double Masters in PICT and International Security Studies, and I’m also undertaking the Postgraduate GLP program.

*Both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students can undertake an exchange as part of their GLP. Have a look in the Guidebook or HERE for more information about exchange.

3rd Annual Global Peace Workshop in Turkey

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead


As I write this, I feel nothing but happiness and pride in having attended the 3rd Annual Global Peace Workshop, as a representative of the Global Leadership Program, Macquarie University and of the youth in Australia.

This joint project of Coventry University Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations with Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Turkey hosted 89 delegates from over 46 countries interested in issues related to internet activism, transitional justice, local/global identity shifts and valuing young people’s contributions to peace-building and social justice.


The program lasted for 5 days that felt too short (but were definitely sweet!). Delegates attended workshops, prepared group presentations, visited the most mesmerizing beaches, cities, restaurants and sights within the Mugla region, appeared on Turkish television, formed friendships and made valuable personal and professional networks with one another. Although none of us knew each other prior to the program, we all rejoiced in the one common goal: peace.

During my application, I had the choice of attending one of four workshops (Justice After Conflict, Citizen 2.0, Going Local and Mobilisation). As a Criminology student, I felt that the ‘Justice After Conflict’ workshop was most suitable and I am so glad that I chose it. The workshop focused on the way that peace can be promoted and achieved in communities and individuals after they have experienced conflict. The underlying theme was whether the notions of “remember and change” or “forgive and forget” should be exercised. We studied valuable case studies on the ways that peace has been achieved in the past, and the ways that youth can promote it in today’s society. Particularly, we looked at a case in Cambodia and watched a documentary titled ‘Survivor’ – the story of Chum Mey, one of the seven survivors out of sixteen thousand killed in the Tuol Sleng prison. This was significant because it explores how a survivor has made peace with his past by having the opportunity to have his story be told, remembered and acknowledged – “remember and change”.

3One of the most amazing aspects of the program was that within the workshops, there was thought-provoking discussion, experiences were being shared, contributions were being made at an intellectual and academic level – yet as soon as we all came together for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the environment was filled with laughter, friendly conversation and a true representation of how peace can be achieved among different people from all around the world. Mind you, this breakfast/lunch and dinner was no ordinary one – it was filled with all the magical flavours of  Turkish cuisine; served graciously by restaurants handpicked by Mugla Sitki Kocman University.


As a group we traveled to Marmaris to explore the freshest fish and chips, went to Iztuzu Beach in Dalyan to see the Sea Turtle Research Centre in which dozens of turtles have been saved and treated, explored Mugla city, where we made a particular restaurant very happy as 90 somewhat-tourists spent the night ordering nargileh, food and creatively discussing ways to promote peace; and on the final day, we enjoyed a beautiful boat trip to Akyaka Ocean where we danced, sung, swam and took many many group selfies with the selfie sticks that we all inevitably invested in.

5Being part of this program definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities and opportunities that we as young people have in promoting peace within the world. We very fortunately have access to internet activism and are full of much more potential than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. As soon as we realise that an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere, the sooner we will begin to understand that we have the responsibility to be peacemakers, regardless of our age and regardless of our situation. That is one of the most important things that I will be taking away from this workshop and hopefully carrying with me for the remainder of my life.


As part of the workshop, I participated in a group presentation which included photos of different delegates holding up a sign with #LET’S STOP (hate/discrimination/conflict etc.) or #LET’S BRING (love/peace/closure etc.) – all written in our own languages. As a young advocate of peace I challenge you to post a photo on any of your social media pages of you doing the same! Peace!

I found this experience through the GLP and am claiming it towards my Experiential Credit. It’s particularly relevant to global leadership in that the workshops are designed to equip delegates with the leadership skills necessary to promote peace across the globe.

Note: Thank you to Mugla Sitki Kocman University for being such a welcoming institution, I personally valued every minute of the experience as it truly did benefit me in more than one way. I definitely recommend anyone interested to apply for 2016, I know I will! #GPW2015

*By Tyra Turgut. Tyra is a second year student studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Criminology.

*More information on the 3rd Annual Global Peace Workshop can be found here:

*Tyra claimed this experience as GL X11 (Participation at an overseas symposium or conference). UG students could claim this, or similar experiences under this code. PG’s could use this experience as part of their Cross Cultural Practicum. Please keep an eye on the Facebook page + Upcoming Ops for similar activities. 

Meet Our GLP Student Ambassador: Stephanie!

5 Minutes with Stephanie

Hi everyone! I’m a third year psychology student, hoping to go into either clinical or organizational psychology.

What is your worst childhood fear?

After watching ‘8 legged freaks’ when I was 10, I was petrified of spiders taking over the world for a while.

If you could have dinner with any figure, alive or otherwise, who would it be?

I would love to have dinner with Vincent van Gogh, just to discuss his art and also to let him know that his artwork did become famous!

You went on exchange as part of your degree- where did you go?

I went to Cardiff University in Wales. It was honestly one of the most amazing times of my life, I met so many wonderful people and experienced so many things.

Outside of Uni and the GLP… what do you get up too?

I’m currently helping out at a psychology clinic with their marketing and blog. Generally though, I’m either hanging out with friends or binge watching a TV show or some films.

What advice would you give to students who are currently completing the Global Leadership Program?

I think a lot of people get caught up in just trying to complete the program without actually stepping back and reflecting on what they’ve learnt. When you go to any of the events, particularly Colloquia, I’d recommend just taking some time to jot down what you took away from it, if you don’t, you’ll probably forget some valuable points after a while.

What’s your favourite part of the program?

The Experiential Credit. I really enjoy being able to put all the skills and inspiration I gained during Colloquium and the DSS towards a more practical component. Also, I really love that the GLP advertises so many different opportunities that you can get involved with.

What business, person or innovation has been your biggest motivator?

Stephanie, whilst on exchange in Cardiff.

Stephanie on exchange in Cardiff.

Probably Stephen Hawking, I find his journey really inspiring, and it just proves that with willpower and perseverance, one can overcome anything.

What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given?

I was once told that I should take pride in whatever I do, as long as I try my best. It’s really helped me whenever I go into exams, and when I try out initiatives, as I know that once I’ve done all that I can, there’s no use getting frustrated at the result.

In Game of Thrones which house would you come from?

I think I’d be part of House Tyrell, just because out of all the houses, they seem to be the most chill.

Would you rather live by the beach or by the snow?

The beach, can’t stand the cold!

Meet Our GLP Student Ambassador: Anupam!

5 Minutes with Anupam

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 5.01.52 pmHi all, I’m currently a second year student, studying a Bachelor of Environment with a Bachelor of Law. Hopefully I can get more involved with MUDS and MULS in the coming years (and the GLP of course).

What’s something that we don’t know about you? 

I unashamedly love ping pong.

Tell us about some of your extra-curricular experiences. Any big highlights you could share?

Through GLP I took a trip to America for an internship and entrepreneurship course in December/January of this year. And I just returned from South Korea where I was debating at Australs for Macquarie through MUDS (Macquarie Uni Debating Society).

What advice would you give to students who are currently completing the Global Leadership Program? 

Do activities that you would not usually do under your degree or in everyday life. I always try to branch outside my comfort zone and almost always I have an amazing experience and learn heaps.

What do you wish someone told you on your first day of University?

Try to make a range of friends, not just from your high school or same degree. It is always much more interesting to have friends from a range of background with different experiences.

Is there an experiential credit activity you are hoping to complete? 

Hopefully going on university exchange somewhere in Europe!

What business, person or innovation has been your biggest motivator?

Definitely my family, and especially my brother. They are all great motivators and supporters.

What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given?

Whatever you are doing, whether that is studying, playing sports, playing a role in a play- give 100%. While you are engaged in that activity, do not think about everything else you are involved in, just give your all to that one activity.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Hopefully an environmental lawyer somewhere overseas, but anything where I am actively engaged with protecting the environment would be awesome.

Where would we find you in your spare time? 

I would like to say behind a table, reading or studying. But most likely you can find me at the tennis courts or football grounds either coaching or playing.

Would you rather have to swim across a 50 meter pool to escape a hungry shark or run across a football field (100 yards) to escape an angry gorilla?

I would swim across a 50m pool to escape the hungry shark because even if the shark caught up, I could ‘Mick Fanning’ it.