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July 23, 2007 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Eye On Exec: Exec explores effects of brand image

The visibility and image of VUWSA was of huge concern at last week’s exec meeting, following a letter to Salient condemning news editor Laura McQuillan for being a meanie and utilizing “tabloid ethics.”

Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove emphasized the importance of VUWSA’s branding and image because “it makes it look like we are actually doing something.” This talk of branding dominated everything from discussions of student accommodation to low-income workers. The latter refers an initiative to help low-income workers who have been locked out of their jobs without pay for two weeks, due to striking issues with domestic service organization Spotless Services. Spotless employees are also contracted to Victoria University.

Cosgrove, a Workers’ Party member, said there’s an important link between low-income workers and students, as students are often given a raw deal. Education Officer (Welfare) Paul Danger Brown questioned whether helping the community is really the best way for the VUWSA exec to spend their time. “It would be nice having them up here serving the students,” he said.

Stop the press – Treasurer Alexander Neilson brought up an urgent agenda item. Apparently, there are two VUWSA common seal stamps and one is out of date!

These stamps are banged on documents that have been approved by VUWSA. A motion was carried to banish the old seal to the library archives, despite protests by Queer Rights Officer Rachael Wright, who would rather it become her tattoo, instead.

The efficiency and productivity of the exec comes into question when these sorts of matters have to be dealt with in a meeting. It was also pointed out that their minutes have had inaccuracies and were listed as an agenda item needing immediate attention.

The exec is applying for a special account at STA travel which allows their travel costs for training and conferences to be “seamlessly” taken care of through VUWSA funds. Judging from recent events (read: NZUSA conference), I’m not sure this is money well-spent. On the point of fiscal responsibility, Environmental Officer Tushara Kodikara mentioned that “women calling psychic hotlines is a huge problem in New Zealand.”

The meeting was fairly indulgent in self-worship, with Kodikara announcing his NZUSA “workshop was awe-inspiring”.

“I’d just like to publicly say that Paul is awesome!” Heleyni chirped.

“Beam me up!” Cosgrove exclaimed.

Beneath the surface of disorganization, in-jokes and self-worshipping drivel, positive things are getting accomplished. VUWSA is spearheading the Return of the Student Film initiative (along with the Film Collective) which gives students the chance to showcase their talent as well as “win all sorts of cinematic glory.”

International Officer Genevieve Fontanier gave away plenty of free stuff to the international students during Re-Orientation, which was extremely well-received. An international student mentioned that their stay at Vic was “made more worthwhile and fulfilling” by this organization.

Looks like VUWSA’s exercises in branding are working, after all…


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