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May 18, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

STUDiO working on Campus Angels, Student Health hullabaloo

A proactive stance has opened a number of doors for students at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Architecture and Design, but a number of services are still missing from the halls of the Te Aro campus. The Student Association of the Faculty of Architecture and Design (STUDiO) has been prolific in its endeavour to engage with the Faculty of Architecture and Design, and its efforts have resulted in the closest relationship between the two in a number of years.

STUDiO Treasurer Merideth Crowe felt the lapses in communication that had hamstrung relations in recent times were not as prevalent as they once were.

“They’ve helped us with sponsorship for a couple of our events, which in the past they probably wouldn’t have,” she said.

“We had some difficulties last year, but through our own efforts and their efforts we actually feel like we’ve got good communication support.”

STUDiO President Dave Goodman echoed Crowe’s assessment, and emphasised the importance of adopting a more active stance.

“We have made a conscious decision to be more proactive, but also to try and communicate with people as best we can. We communicate with them, they communicate with us, and so far it seems to be working really well,” Goodman said.

“When you’re proactive, people are proactive in return.”

The Architecture and Design School campus, located on Wellington’s red light strip, has become a focal point for STUDiO advocacy this year. A number of services afforded to the Kelburn and Pipitea campuses, such as Student Health and Campus Angels, are conspicuous in their absence at Te Aro.

“It’s kinda under the radar, but they are offering people bus tickets to see doctors at other campuses. That’s not really good enough,” said STUDiO Secretary Erika Wilson.

“They say that these services aren’t used, but it won’t take much for them to get used. We’re more than willing to help with advertising, and noticed huge responses to some other campaigns we’ve held here just through advertising. Our campus has had a huge issue with space, but we have the space available, and it seems silly that space is not being used.”

Safety concerns have also been prevalent in the minds of STUDiO officials. The Campus Angels service provided by Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA), where designated ‘angels’ accompany students home during the evening, is not currently offered at the Te Aro campus. Citing difficulties surrounding the Te Aro campus’ closure time and the difficulty of rostering “angels” to fit it, VUWSA decided to forego the service at Te Aro this year. Despite this, STUDiO intends to lobby VUWSA for the service.

“A lot of our students work on campus really late at night, and we’re right in the middle of a red light district,” Wilson noted. “The strip club has closed down, so the neighbourhood is improving, but only because there is less red light activity. I’m not so worried about the drag queens, the bigger concern is their patronage; the kind of people the drag queens might attract,” Goodman added.

“Until recently, I thought that Campus Angels were available on campus. It’s not a service I’d use myself, but I’ve seen it advertised and I assumed we had it down here, until I asked around and found out we don’t. I think that needs addressing.”

Goodman, however, remained optimistic that the closer relationship forged between VUWSA and STUDiO this year would ultimately lead to a healthy outcome.

“Jasmine [Freemantle] has been more proactive with trying to talk to us,” Goodman said.

“We’re in the process of getting information back to her, but we’ve already had some pretty positive results.”


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