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October 12, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

President’s Column


I stood for President on a platform of creating a sustainable and accountable students’ association, driven by VUWSA’s eight constitutional goals. Much of the work I’ve undertaken this year has concentrated on rebuilding an Association which had been neglected under my two immediate predecessors, and putting in place strategies and procedures in order to best place the VUWSA in the future.

For any organisation to function effectively it’s vital that appropriate internal structures are in place. Improvements this year include the creation of an Advocacy Office with three new staff positions, to best cater to student welfare and education needs and to provide enhanced administrative support to representative groups. A full-time Association Manager role has been created, the introduction of which stands as one of the biggest enhancements to VUWSA’s internal operations in decades. This role was established in part so as to provide a clear distinction between the Association’s governance and management; this is a distinction which until 2009 was non-existent. I’ve also led the development of internal policies, new financial practices, and strategic planning. Since January Executive members have submitted regular work reports, published on the VUWSA website so as to provide students with a means to assess the performance of the Association’s elected officials.

Increased student representation and participatory democracy has been another highlight. This has included reinitiating stop lecture meetings and Student Representative Council meetings, and the founding of several additional representative groups. I’m particularly pleased about the mutually beneficial working relationships formed with Ngai Tauira and with a number of representative groups.

Service delivery has been strengthened in a variety of areas, such as Campus Angels and the food bank. VUWSA’s activities programme has seen a major revamp with regular events being held throughout the year as a compliment to student-driven festivals, Orientation and Reorientation. The VUWSA-Student Union Bar Committee and The VBC 88.3FM have both played a central role in the delivery of these events.

Our sporting clubs did the Association proud at University Games, bringing home the coveted University Games Shield for the third time in four years. This is a particularly notable achievement, not least due to the difficult circumstances under which Team VUWSA competed. I’m also pleased to have settled allegations surrounding the conduct of VUWSA members at the 2008 Games, winning one legal dispute, with the second being dismissed.

Several important ventures have arisen during the year. Notably these include VUWSA’s involvement in the Campus Hub Redevelopment Project and the proposed Boyd-Wilson Field upgrade. These exciting initiatives will provide students with enhanced study and recreational opportunities for decades to come. The students’ association also supports the development of a strategic partnership between the University and students to oversee the new student services levy, and look forward to finalising an agreement concerning these services before the end of the year.

Looking back over 2009, it’s fair to say that the Association I inherited on 1 January bears little resemblance in many ways to the VUWSA I lead today. I’m proud of what has been achieved, and am confident that the Association is significantly better for the effort I’ve invested.

Of course, the accomplishments of 2009 have been contributed to by many people. Thank you to all students who have participated in the Association, whether as a class representative, member of a club or by attending a general meeting. I’m immensely grateful to the Vice-Chancellor and members of University Council and management who I’ve developed positive and productive relationships with. Thank you for your support during trying times. I’m also appreciative of the assistance provided by those in the wider community, much of which has originated from the most unlikely sources.

I’d like to thank most of all three people who have consistently gone beyond the call of duty to assist me so that I can best do my job of serving students. Thank you to Nick Kelly, for providing my induction and training, Dan Ormond, for steadfast support and mentoring, and Alistair Shaw, for flirting on the edge of the impossible.

In solidarity and service,



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Comments (5)

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  1. vuwASS says:

    sock puppet loose as a goose dribbling everywhere

  2. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    “I’m also pleased to have settled allegations surrounding the conduct of VUWSA members at the 2008 Games, winning one legal dispute, with the second being dismissed.”

    Was this the abusive hotel owner telling students to go and “save the fucking whales” or some such? Good to see he got his legal comeuppance if this is the case!

    Cheers, Matt.

  3. Maurice says:

    I can’t help but notice she didn’t acknowledge the efforts of the 2009 Executive, just attributed all of the successes to herself. How egotistical.

  4. Jemima says:

    She also didn’t acknowledge Salient’s win and Salient’s writers great success at the ASPA awards. I wonder if she ever will.

  5. Magonagal says:

    She also didn’t mention the VUWSA van incident when it ended up at a garage upcountry. Flirting with the impossible again??

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