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August 9, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Education Officer James Sleep

VUWSA: It’s your association.

VUWSA is your student association. It is controlled by students, for students.

VUWSA is an inclusive organisation that encourages all students to participate in strengthening on-campus student culture, improve the quality of education we receive, and be a strong voice in the wider community, as a community of learners.

Some talk in last week’s Salient about the lack of student culture and activism at Victoria University got me thinking.

In the last 25 years there have been several mass protests against the direction of tertiary education in New Zealand – one of the biggest protests being against the introduction of the student loan system.

In the last few years, student activism has been almost frowned upon.

Student engagement in issues affecting students seems to be at a low, but as discussed in last week’s Salient, some people believe Victoria University is no longer the vibrant, cultured university it used to be.

As a second year student, I don’t claim to fully understand what sort of university experience students enjoyed, or didn’t enjoy, before coming to Victoria in 2009.  

If it is the case that student culture and activism is at an all time low, then it’s the responsibility of us as students to create a university that is a vibrant hub of culture and activity.

I agree with the editor of Salient – VUWSA must actively engage students in order to be the university of culture, the university of engagement, the university that is involved in wider society.

However, in turn, it’s important to recognise that VUWSA is an organisation that is made up of students, and controlled by students.

Therefore, I call on you to take control of your student association.

Do something this week to engage with the work being done on campus to ensure students have a strong voice, get the best quality education possible, and have fun in the process.

Come along to the Education Action Group meeting (5pm on Wednesday, ground floor Student Union Building), come to the next Student Representative Council meeting (a forum for all students), write a letter to Salient, join a club, or another club, read your student president’s column, run for the VUWSA executive next month.

We must grasp the potential we have as students influence and shape tertiary education discourse and narrative in New Zealand.

It’s imperative we as students come together as a strong collective to make a campus that is fun, lively, social and cultured.

I’m optimistic that if we do this, it will help to bury the stereotype that 21st century students, particularly Gen Y, are a bunch of apathetic, lazy, self-interested New Zealanders.

It rests with us.


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Comments (3)

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  1. SJR says:

    inclusive of weir students?

  2. Jack says:


  3. Nick C says:

    “I’m optimistic that if we do this, it will help to bury the stereotype that 21st century students, particularly Gen Y, are a bunch of apathetic, lazy, self-interested New Zealanders.”

    Judging by salient reports on your job as Education Officer that sounds like a fairly apt description of you, James.

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