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July 23, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

VUWSA Vice President (Academic)

Holla, underlings.

I’m kidding. Seriously, I consider you all my equals. And even if ‘Vice-President’ makes me sound authoritative, I’m a pretty short and unimposing guy so it all balances out quite nicely anyway.

Like any self-respecting (ha) elected official, I’m a big fan of motions—especially the act of going through them. So it’s with a strong sense of self-evident apathy that I welcome you all dearly back to Victoria University of Wellington for yet another trimester. Are you delighted to be back and studying? Neither.

One thing, of course, is exempt from my general distaste at being back in this Lovecraftean hell: student representation. It quells my discomfort. It stirs my loins. It tugs my heart strings, etc. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Some things just do not change, and true enough to form, the new trimester offers up new opportunities for representation. Be honest: did your lecturer snigger with contempt whilst electing your Class Rep for this trimester? Because if so, give me their name, address, and IRD number and I’ll puncture them. That was a joke.

Actually, that culture is slowly changing at Victoria. Lecturers are realising, progressively, the value of Class Reps. There’s less sniggering and mockery when it comes to selecting or electing someone, and more warm words.

I’ll share what is perhaps a compromising admission (yes, it’s not always been flowers, sunshine and short man syndrome with me): when I ran for election to VUWSA, I was remotely cynical of the Class Rep system. I’d never been a Class Rep myself, and just hadn’t been convinced of the system.

Indeed, being ‘behind the scenes’—privy to all the consistently good work Class Reps do— has changed my opinion for the better. Cynics may point out that I get paid for my job, but stuff them—I genuinely value the role of Class Reps. Class Reps are to me what Scientology is to Tom Cruise (the comparison is apt, height- wise). They’re the reason my wife left me. They’re what I want to indoctrinate my child with.

But the great tragedy of the Class Rep system is that so much of the awesome input reps have is invisible to the everyday student. They form the basis of our programme review submissions. We go direct to them to verify complaints we receive. We rely on them to direct other students our way.

If your class hasn’t elected a rep so far, try it out. We even incentivise the role: you receive catered training, a signed certificate, a testimonial if you request one, and you can go up for a Class Rep $cholar$hip at the end of Trimester. Glorious.


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