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October 9, 2017 | by  | in VUWSA | [ssba]

2018 VUWSA Candidates

All executive members are required to:

  • Be a part of the overall strategic thinking and leadership of VUWSA.
  • Represent the values and principles of VUWSA as an organisation.
  • Complete fortnightly work reports alongside more extensive half-year and annual reports detailing their work and achievements over the period.




40 hours per week.

The President is the figurehead for VUWSA — they are the official spokesperson for the organisation, sit on numerous boards and committees to represent students’ interests, are required to lead the Executive and maintain strong relationships with key university staff and groups on campus, other regional universities, local, regional, and national government representatives, and other key stakeholders.

They are responsible for making sure the Executive is upholding the VUWSA Constitution, and the organisation is transparent and accountable.


Larson Atkins

President - Larson Atkins

Kia ora, I’m Larson! Like most people, I moved to Wellington to study at Victoria. I’ve made the most of my time at university; studying chemistry and physics, captaining my football team, volunteering throughout the university, and working in student accommodation for two years. Most importantly, I’m a student just like all of you, and as VUWSA President, I’ll work for a better deal for all of us, and give VUWSA the fresh change it needs and deserves.

A Better Deal in Student Services — Being healthy allows us to get the most out of our education and experiences at Victoria. If you’re a VUW suffering teen, you’ll know that our health services need improvement. Working with first year students at the hostel means I am well-placed to understand these issues. I would like to make health services more accessible to all students, particularly mental health. Through my work in disability services, I also have a firm understanding of where improvements can be made. The bottom line is that students need somewhere they can get the help they need, across all three of our campuses.

A More Sustainable Victoria — Every year there are around 900 tonnes of waste at Victoria, a lot of which could be recycled or composted instead. I aim to work alongside the Sustainability Office to reduce landfill waste, which can be greatly assisted by student involvement through VUWSA with volunteer recruitment. As a science student, I have developed a deep understanding of the best ways to address our environmental impact. I’d love to see no plastic packaging from retailers on campus, and I’m sure you would too.

Health services and sustainability are two of many ideas that form my vision for VUWSA. With your vote, change can be achieved in 2018.

Vote LARSON for President!


Marlon Drake

President - Marlon Drake

Tēnā koe! I’m Marlon Drake. This year I’ve been on the VUWSA Executive working hard for students. I’ve provided club services, campaigned for Fairer Fares, and helped boost student voter turnout through our We Have Power election campaign. We have achieved lots already, but our mahi isn’t done! It’s important that someone who understands our community and the university is elected. As president, I will work for:

A Safe Community — VUWSA must be committed to ending sexual violence in our community. This starts from day one. During O-Week, we’ll have a safe room in town so all students have a safe place to go, and we’ll offer free lifts home in the VUWSA van. We will create a student culture that does not tolerate sexual violence.

Healthy Flats — This year, our long-term campaign for a voluntary rental warrant of fitness from the City Council succeeded. It’s a great first step, but we need to continue the fight and make it mandatory. We all deserve healthy homes and it’s time rental standards in Wellington reflect that.

Discounts in Wellington — VUWSA will establish a VUWSA Deals App so VUW students can connect with the great parts of Wellington at a discounted price.

Mental Health Services that Work— It’s vital students can receive help from Student Health when they need it. The system is broken and increasing funding isn’t enough. We need structural change. We will work with Mauri Ora to introduce positions for trained students who can provide online and over the phone help and can provide notes for extensions. This will take pressure off the service so they can focus on providing more support for students.

There’s lots to do, so let’s get started! A vote for me is a vote for a VUWSA we can be proud of.



Academic Vice-President


20 hours per week.

The AVP heads VUWSA’s Education Team, which is responsible for the class rep system, and making sure students are represented at all levels of the university, to ensure there are quality resources, lecturers, and programmes available to all students. The AVP works with the Education Officer and Student Representation Coordinator (a full-time staff position) to sit on all academic-related boards and committees and help coordinate feedback for course reviews, while also driving strategic, long-term goals around making sure VUW is providing quality and inclusive education for all students.


Hassan Tariq

In my role as Academic Vice-President, I will work closely with the Education Officer and the Student Representation Coordinator to ensure that there is student representation and voice at all levels of the university.

This is a very interesting role and as a PhD student I have plenty of experience working in these kind of roles — I believe I can help with engaging students into long-term and sustainable academic activities. My preference will be ensuring the quality of education provided to compete in national and international arenas. This will include the provision of necessary research and training opportunities to all students. This will also ensure the promotion of equal and justified teaching and assessment standards for all students regardless of their sex, age, colour, or religion.

I will emphasise facilitating cheaper bus fares for students, subsidised accommodation, and health facilities. I will also emphasise generating more scholarships and financial aids for students.


Simran Rughani

Academic Vice President - Simran Rughani

Kia ora! I’m Simran and I’m in my second-year, studying a BSc/BCom. I have been involved with VUWSA as a class representative and I’m currently on the Student Academic Committee. I have loved these roles and wish to continue by running for Academic Vice-President.

As your AVP, I will be:

Committed to an equitable, representative, strong student voice — Increasing the scope of the Student Academic Committee and having a diverse range of student perspectives.

Dedicated to fostering student partnership with the university — Ensuring the student voice is equal to the academic, and making sure we are consulted on decisions that matter.

Increasing transparency of decisions being made that affect us — Too many students are unaware of decisions occurring that directly impact them. As those being affected, we should be able to question decisions and voice our opinions. I will ensure that this is possible by increasing the transparency and accessibility of these decisions.

Promising to generate an investigation into why we pay so much for printing — Submitting assignments is stressful enough without also worrying about printing costs. I will lead an investigation into the cost of printing and work to lower the price.

Vote Simran for AVP!



Welfare Vice-President


20 hours per week.

The WVP heads the VUWSA Welfare Team, focusing on the health and wellbeing of students, sustainability, and the environment (both natural and academic) at university. They lead major events on campus including Free Flu Shots and Stress Free Study Week. They work towards strategic goals around improving the financial, physical, environmental, and mental wellbeing of students at Victoria (including projects like free menstrual products and the VUWSA fruit and vege market).


Beth Paterson

Welfare Vice President - Beth Paterson

Tēnā koe! Ko Beth tōku ingoa. I would like to be your Welfare VP! I’ve been on VUWSA as your Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer for the past year, loved it, and I’m really excited to be running for Welfare VP!

I know the role and the welfare advocacy that is required:

We need to make mental health services accessible and affordable — I have three solutions here:

  1. The Kelburn pharmacy has committed to matching a VUW discount on prescription medication; I would work with them to make $2 prescriptions a reality.
  2. Work with Mauri Ora to train members of our community to support students through academic stress.
  3. Push for a “wellbeing tick” to be put on the online profiles of staff who have completed mental health training.

We need to make Thursdays in Black a priority — I would push for VUW to get better policies that support survivors of sexual violence, and aim to teach consent in halls of residence before O-Week.

We need flats that we can live in without getting sick — I would campaign to get a compulsory rental warrant of fitness on the political agenda for students.

Please hit me up for questions or yarns!


Summer Wick-Featonby

Welfare Vice-President_ Equity Officer_ Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer - Summer Wick-Featonby

Hi! My name is Summer, and I’m a third-year student majoring in political science, history, and english literature.

Having made extensive use of the many facilities Victoria offers in terms of student welfare since I began studying in 2015, I believe I am a suitable candidate to represent you as students at VUWSA. I am open about having accessed these facilities including Student Health on many an occasion (the perils of living in a damp student flat, amirite?), Student Financial Services, and Student Counselling Services. While we are lucky as students to have these facilities on offer and accessible to us, I am looking to improve access as much as possible.

I believe that financial security, and sufficient mental and physical health, is absolutely vital in order for students to succeed academically and have an enjoyable experience during their time at university. In particular, I want to be a voice for minority groups and the disadvantaged on campus, and work to improve services already on offer, while also taking into account further suggestions of other beneficial services Victoria could offer.

If elected, I will work hard to ensure that the Victoria community and experience is a fair one.



Engagement Vice-President


20 hours per week.

The EVP is the executive member focused on getting students involved with VUWSA and wider projects or events aimed at the student population. Their key role is helping out with O-Week, Re-O-Week, Artsweek, the VUWSA and university awards season, the IGM and AGM, and much more. Their role is about creating a strong and vibrant student community and making sure students are aware of all the important, and fun, things that go on at VUW.


Tamatha Paul

Engagement Vice President - Tamatha Paul

Kia ora e hoa mā! I’m Tamatha. Over the past two years I’ve worked closely with VUWSA and the national student association (NZUSA) on projects for students that I really care about. Spending this year on the VUWSA Executive has equipped me with the practical tools to pursue those projects, and I’d really love to continue that mahi into 2018 as your Engagement Vice-President.

I think after this year’s general election we’re all a bit sick of campaigns so I’ll keep it simple; vote for experience. Every VUWSA event, I’ve done it.

That means I can see where improvement is needed and where opportunities for bigger, better events lie. A major necessary improvement — safety. Particularly around making sure that safe rooms at VUWSA events are regulated through policy, and addressing sexual violence through research from the Thursdays in Black campaign.

In terms of student experience, how can we make our services more accessible? Let’s not just get students engaged during O-Week and Re-O-Week — all year we’ve got free food parcels via community pantry, free bus passes, advocacy services, free menstrual products, student reps, and other academic services. Let’s get students interested in VUWSA again — after all we do this for you!


Sarah Auld

Engagement Vice President - Vote Sarah Auld

Tēnā koutou, I’m Sarah!

Vote for me and I will:

  1. Bring more pop-up stalls in to campuses connecting community services (like Rebicycle) to students.
  2. Continue organising great O-Weeks and Stress Free Study Weeks (read: more puppies).  
  3. Support campus initiatives like Waste Watchers through VUWSA’s own activities.
  4. Improve accessibility to relevant community volunteer opportunities.
  5. Empower smaller clubs.  
  6. Push for greater collaboration and cooperation among Clubs and Activities, to turbo boost campaigns and projects important to our wellbeing and our enjoyment.

My track record speaks for itself. In 2017, I have:

  • MENTORED youth.
  • ADVOCATED for prisoners’ rights via Wellington Community Justice Project.
  • FOUND SOLUTIONS as Treasurer of PolSoc.
  • FOSTERED COMMUNITY among Philosophy and PSIR undergrads and postgrads.

Through my diverse volunteer experiences, I have developed the skills to be an effective Engagement Vice-President. Now I want to deliver great experiences to students.

Vote for an Engagement VP with resilience, a community spirit, and experience in active participation. Vote for someone who will listen and act on the needs of all students.

Vote for Sarah AULD.





10 hours per week.

This officer’s key role is working with staff members and the President to develop the annual VUWSA budget. They are involved with any updates or changes to the Constitution or other working documents within the organisation, and oversees the Executive Reporting. They sit on the VUWSA Trust board and chair the Audit and Finance, Executive Reporting, and Publications Committees.


Brittany Neal

Treasurer-Secretary - Brittany Neal

Kia ora koutou e hoa mā. Ko Brittany toku ingoa. I’m running to be your VUWSA Treasurer-Secretary. 

A bit about me: I moved to Wellington at the end of last year, after spending two years at the University of Canterbury. I’m in my third year of a BA/BCom, majoring in Māori Studies, Management, and Human Resources. 

VUWSA’s mission to represent students, and to advocate for quality education, experience, community, and facilities for students, resonates within me — particularly the work that VUWSA has done to advocate for student allowances, loans, and living conditions. To me, the Treasurer-Secretary role sits at the heart of everything VUWSA does. This advocacy and mahi that VUWSA does cannot be facilitated without the funding to do so. 

As your Treasurer-Secretary, I would be looking to diversify VUWSA’s income streams, and to have a sustainable revenue base that provides us all with the opportunities to work towards our goals as a collective and continue the ever-important work VUWSA does.


Jack Donovan

Treasurer-Secretary - Jack Donovan

Hey ya’ll, I’m Jack and this is why you should vote for me. I’m in my second year through a BCom, majoring in finance and accounting, with a minor in commercial law. I’m extremely passionate about my degree, and the skills I have learnt through it have equipped me to be perfect for this role. Major aspects of this position are around my fields, such as developing the budget, chairing the Audit and Finance Committees, and giving financial advice to all clubs as well as this executive.

I also have plenty of experience being on an executive. This year I was the General Executive Officer for the VUW Politics Students’ Society, as well as being the Secretary for the TEDxVUW club. Being on both of these teams gave me valuable experiences, such as interviewing the Green Party (then) co-leaders, as well as moderating an electorate debate. It also gave me experience in administrative parts of this role, such as taking minutes, organising events, and more.

I’ve quickly run out of words, but feel free to contact me online about anything, or if you just see me around. I hope for your votes, because you can a-ccount on me!


Finn O’Connor

Treasurer-Secretary - Finn O_Connor

My name is Finn O’Connor. I’m running for the Treasury-Secretary role at VUWSA. I’m currently a second-year student, doing a Law and Arts degree. I live with two other guys in Mount Cook, having been a resident at Weir House last year. I enjoy playing hockey and have been a member of the Victoria University team for two years.  

There were a number of reasons that lead to me wanting to apply for this role. I take satisfaction from applying myself to a role successfully and efficiently. I would love to expand my leadership skills and add a different perspective to some pertinent issues and events that VUWSA are involved in.

In analysing and developing the annual budget, I want to make sure that every student is treated fairly and equally, giving everyone the chance to perform to the best of their abilities. As being a student is all about balance, it is important to me that VUWSA acts in the same manner. I would like to provide members and students the platform to reach their academic potential while still enjoying themselves and forming life-long memories. I will work to make sure that VUWSA is an association we can all be proud of.  



Education Officer


10 hours per week.

This role works with the Academic Vice-President to oversee the class Rep System and academic boards and committees on campus. They play a key role in maintaining the relationship between VUWSA and academic groups on campus, gathering feedback and supporting initiatives to improve academic quality and representation at Victoria.


Mattias Tolhurst

Education Officer - Mattias Tolhurst

I’m a third-year student at Victoria University. I study a conjoint of Biomedical Science and Science and I’m incredibly passionate about education; I’ve worked as a tutor and currently work at an education company for 10–15 hours a week, which prepares me for the workload required of the Education Officer.

My main hobbies and interests include skateboarding, reading, and programming when I find the time! I was originally studying software engineering but after realising that it wasn’t my true passion I decided to pursue health instead.

I’m mainly excited about the role of Education Officer because an incredible amount of work has been done by VUWSA to make this institution better; my campaign this year is all to do with having equitable student representation in the decisions that impact us as students. It’s also about increasing the quality of our education, providing clear incentives for lecturers to improve as educators, making sure lectures are recorded to increase access, working closely with groups like Te Pūtahi Atawhai and Te Rōpū Āwhina as well as increasing awareness of the incredible support services at Victoria that many students are unaware of.


Sarah Yzendoorn

Education Officer - Sarah Yzendoorn

Do you want:

  • 48 hour “free pass” extensions in ALL schools?  
  • Video recordings of ALL lectures?  
  • Consistent extensions, marking, and penalties guidelines for ALL faculties?

We deserve UNI-WIDE CONSISTENCY. Students are not just stakeholders, we are PARTNERS in our education.

As a current Class Rep, Faculty Delegate, and student representative on FHSS’ Teaching, Learning and Equity Committee, I already work very closely with the current Academic Vice-President and Education Officer. I want to go beyond this, to continue to deliver students the best and nothing less.

Students are the heart of tertiary education; we deserve the best education and nothing less. Whatever it takes to ensure the student experience is always positively contributed to, I am 100% committed to doing it.

If there are strengths, I WILL build on them.

If there are weaknesses, I WILL improve them.

If there is an issue, I WILL solve it.

Every student deserves equal opportunity. No matter who you are, where you are from, or what you are studying, you deserve to have the world as your oyster.

Whatever it takes, I will do it.




Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer


10 hours per week.

This officer works within the VUWSA Welfare Team to support all work related to improving the financial, physical, environmental, and mental wellbeing of students on campus. They work closely with the WVP to deliver events such as Free Flu Shots and Stress Free Study Week and with the Campaigns Officer to support wider community initiatives around healthier homes and lifestyles for students, and sustainability initiatives such as improving accessibility to public transport.


Eleanor Hughes

Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer - Eleanor Hughes

Hi all — I’m Ella, running to be your 2018 VUWSA Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer!

I’m fourth-year Law and Arts (shout out anth and IR, yeaa boiiiiii). I love a bit of a boogie, climbing Mt Kaukau, and getting amongst equality of access issues in our backyard.

Experience wise — I have been volunteering in the disability sector with IHC for a year now, as well as working to help out WellAble Kapiti through Ignite Consulting. I currently work at Wesley Community Action, having raised over $35,000 for them and their projects since February 2017. Safe to say, I know how not-for-profits (like VUWSA!) work, and how to make them benefit us best!

As Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer, I intend to focus on our financial wellbeing, our mental health, and our passive participation in environmentally harmful practices. Solutions like timebanks, education in first year on coping and adjusting to university life, and clothing bins on campus to prevent waste and give back to our local community, are just some of my ideas.

Like the sound of some of that? Chuck your vote my way.


Summer Wick-Featonby

Welfare Vice-President_ Equity Officer_ Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer - Summer Wick-Featonby

(Blurb in Welfare Vice-President section.)



Equity Officer


10 hours per week.

The Equity Officer works to ensure all students have equal access to services, support, academic success, and participation opportunities at VUW. They work with representative groups on campus like UniQ, Ngāi Tauira, Pasifika Students’ Council, VicUFO, and international students, and work to make sure students’ welfare is an important consideration in all decisions made at the university level.


Paddy Miller

Equity Officer - Paddy Miller

Kia ora, my name is Paddy, and I’m ready to be your next Equity Officer!

I’m in my fourth year of Law/Pol conjoint. As a member of Wellington Community Justice Project, I recently worked on a select committee submission supporting law changes to provide practical assistance to domestic violence victims. I have experience mentoring students from a range of backgrounds, and I frequently fundraise for Wellington Rape Crisis, the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, and the SPCA. I have built strong relationships in these roles.

If elected, I will propel Victoria’s diverse range of representative groups into the spotlight. These groups all have a unique and important message to share. I will work alongside them to promote strong campaigns that strike a chord with students on campus.

I will actively promote the Thursdays in Black movement, aiming to eliminate rape and violence in the student community. Groups particularly at risk of sexual violence are Māori and Pasifika people, transgender people, and those with disabilities. ALL students deserve to feel safe.

I want to create a safe and equitable environment at Victoria University, so vote for Paddy so we can make this happen!


Summer Wick-Featonby

Welfare Vice-President_ Equity Officer_ Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer - Summer Wick-Featonby

(Blurb in Welfare Vice-President section.)



Clubs and Activities Officer


10 hours per week.

This role is part of VUWSA’s Engagement Team and works closely with Clubs and Societies on campus. They serve on the Clubs Council and work with the university’s club management team to make sure student clubs and communities are well supported.


Connor Macleod

Clubs and Activities Officer - Connor Macleod

Kia ora koutou!

Ko Connor ahau, a fourth-year BA/BCom student, President of Victoria University Rowing Club, and executive member of VicCom, and I want to be your Clubs and Activities Officer for 2018!

During my time at Victoria, I have developed an appreciation and respect for all the hard work that clubs put in to provide amazing services for their members. One thing that has become increasingly evident, however, is that club culture at Vic is isolated. Clubs are toiling independently to enrich the student experience, but I believe that through improving the way that clubs share knowledge, facilities, and members, the clubs community can cement its vital role within students’ lives.

By shifting the responsibility for club support back to VUWSA, we can develop a joint vision for all clubs at Victoria. This will create a cooperative environment for clubs and ensure that students and their societies are working for the productive benefit of each other.

I believe that clubs at Victoria enrich students’ lives, and through returning clubs to VUWSA we can work together to develop a joint vision for clubs within the university.

Vote Connor MacLeod for Clubs and Activities Officer — working together with clubs.


Lars Thompson

Clubs and Activities Officer - Lars Thompson

Kia Ora! My name is Lars and my mission is to make VUWSA’s club support services unmatched in Aotearoa.

I’m a fourth-year law student, I’ve been President of the Politics Society, and the first elected Editor of club media platform Rostra! I also sit on the Clubs Council, which has revealed how urgently we need more accessible structures to aid and connect our club community.

Vote me Clubs and Activities Officer for: 

A Participatory Model of Club Representation — As leader of the Clubs Council Review Group, I’ve spent 2017 drafting a new and inclusive representation system. It introduces a forum for clubs to raise concerns and vote on what action to take, which can include opportunities to solve shared issues through inter-club working groups!

Targeted Support to Avoid Burnout — Addressing mental health is paramount. I’ll ensure Club and Rep Group Manuals include advice and contact information that’s useful for avoiding burnout, as well as celebrating clubs volunteer efforts at the Blues and Supreme Club Awards.

An Activity Team to Provide Helping Hands — You can request this team for extra support holding events! A great way to encourage volunteer culture at Vic while helping small and growing clubs! Many hands make light work!



Campaigns Officer


10 hours per week.

This varied role involves both running campaigns within the university and lobbying for change at the local and national government level. This officer coordinates teams of volunteers and delivers successful campaigns with the sole focus of getting a better deal for students at the university and while they’re living in Wellington.


Geo Robrigado

Campaigns Officer - Geo Robrigado

Kia ora and Mabuhay! I am Geo, originally from Laguna, Philippines, and I have been living in Wellington for the past four years.

While I am only in the first year of my LLB/BA degree, my experiences in student representation and campaigns date back to 2005 at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, where I was an officer of the University Student Council and a member of a youth political group. In both stints I have managed and led campaigns on student and youth issues, particularly on student rights and welfare.

It is that experience that inspired me to bring my activism to New Zealand and VUW. As campaigns officer, I will continue to champion student rights and welfare, working with pertinent sectors within VUWSA and the university to achieve such goals. I will continue to promote campaigns such as Fairer Fares, as well as other campaigns to ensure that each student of VUW gets the best education experience they rightfully deserve.

As an immigrant, VUW and VUWSA gave me a wonderful community to grow and thrive. Serving my fellow students is the best way for me to give back to this community.


Felix Griffin

Campaigns Officer - Felix Griffin

How much better will VUWSA look when we have someone whose skills have been recognised by world leaders? Recognised in his efforts in bringing us a TEDx Talks conference and amazing speakers — Griffin knows how to campaign. This is what Palmer, New Zealand’s 33rd Prime Minister, has to say about Griffin: “Felix, I have been impressed with your verve and enthusiasm in organising the TEDx Talks… Further, the efficiency of your organisation has been excellent.” It’s time to leave the uni leagues behind and go with someone the professionals endorse.



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