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October 7, 2013 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Education Officer

Coming to the end of my first year at Vic and reflecting on everything that’s happened this year, it’s hard not to get the feels. Made it through the quakes, #storm13, LAWS121, and the court of public opinion that was the VUWSA by-election. Having been on team VUWSA for all of five minutes, I’m already feeling at home behind the BBQ and in the basement of the Student Union Building—I mean, the VUWSA office.

I think there’s a lot VUWSA can be proud of this year, like:

  • Launching two high-profile campaigns—Fairer Fares and Healthy Homes—and laying the foundations for tertiary fares on public transport and rental WOFs to be realised some time in the near future (here’s hoping!). Also, getting student issues such as these on the local council election agenda.

  • Making local-body politics and the local council elections relevant to students.

  • Engaging with students by hosting events like the inaugural Faculty Games, and utilising the Hub for VUWSA’s AGM, campaign launches and the mayoral debate.

  • Working towards meeting the challenges of operating in a post-VSM environment.

  • Advocating for the best interests of students, particularly around the Student Forum.

  • Consulting students on grading changes and student representation.

In saying that, VUWSA will face many challenges going into 2014, some of which include:

  • How to operate in a post-VSM environment, and keep the University in check while also maintaining a good relationship with the University.

  • Getting student issues like interest-free student loans, less-restrictive means testing on student allowances, and funding of the tertiary sector as a whole on the general election agenda.

  • Making the aforementioned issues relevant for students—students feel discontented by having to pay a lot of money to get the bus, or having to deal with the conditions of living in a cold, damp flat, but it’s much more difficult to engage students in regard to deteriorating academic quality and rising fees. The underwhelming turnout at the University Council’s fee-setting meeting was evidence of this, the public gallery occupied by only four members of the VUWSA Exec. Bleak.

2014 will be a tough year, but I’m looking forward to working with the 2014 Exec and making a real difference for students. Tu meke!

Rāwinia was elected to the position of Vice-President (Academic) for 2014 in the VUWSA Election last Thursday. Congratulations to Rāwinia and all of the other newly elected Executive.


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