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

President’s column

Salient Editor Sarah Robson last week decried VUWSA’s fall from our supposed position as the “bastion of student culture”. Funny. We have never attempted to be that. Does anybody particularly want us to? VUWSA has never been the “centre” of student culture as Sarah’s revisionist history suggests.

VUWSA is a representative organisation that exists to ensure that student interests are advocated for and protected. If VUWSA is performing well one of the things it does is facilitate and promote the development of student culture(s). But our job is not to be the centre of it.

VUWSA provides the magazine that you are reading now primarily because it allows for the development of a student community by providing an outlet for communication and debate. Last time Academic Idol was run, it was a great example of how VUWSA can bring the disparate groups of the University together. I hope it is as successful again this time. Whether the VUWSA By-Election garners more votes than a for-fun Salient run poll with less credibility than a Zimbabwean election is not a good question to ask. Ideally, both would have high turnouts for different reasons.

Whilst never being the “centre of student culture”, whatever that means, VUWSA has consistently supported the development of a culture and community at Victoria. I will give you a number of examples.

We have set up, funded, provided meeting space for and supported countless clubs, societies and representative groups over the years. Many of which are are now “bastions of student culture”. The University population is large and VUWSA recognises that a job is often done better when it is devolved to smaller groups. The PGSA, the Law Students Society, VicComm, the Pacifica Students Council and STUDiO for example all do a fantastic job and that is why VUWSA funds and supports their efforts. If other students set up groups for other sectors of the student community we will support them. Should VUWSA organise the a Law Ball? No, LSS can do it better and VUWSA should help them.

We are funding the development of a “Campus Hub” in Kelburn. This massive project will transform our campus and give it a student-centred heart. It will be the most important development in promoting student culture at Kelburn in a decades. In the past we have funded the building of the new library, the Student Union Building (which provides some of the only exclusive spaces available for non-academic student activity) and the Recreation Centre.

Recently we have ensured a completely new Retail Strategy which is geared towards dramatically improving the quality of the cafes and bars on campus. The Union Hall is being revamped by VUWSA and will once again be a major Wellington gig venue. VUWSA organises Orientation, Re-Orientation, welcome packs, clubs days, Team Victoria’s participation at University Games and Snow Games and hundreads of events around the year. We provide Salient and fund the VBC 88.3 FM.

It is true that campuses in cities more boring than Wellington have a livelier student culture because the city doesn’t offer much else. Wellington offers a lot, and VUWSA doesn’t need to fight that, we need to respond to the particular student body at Victoria.

VUWSA gives students the ability to debate and have a direct say on what services are available on campus, what sort of education they receive and where their fees go. Not all students take up the opportunity, but it is very important that they can.

VUWSA can and should improve. We need a PR and communications overhaul, which will take time. But we should not ignore the great things that our organisation makes possible now.


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Comments (3)

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  1. smackdown says:

    oh fucking lmao at all of this

  2. smackdown says:

    “Whether the VUWSA By-Election garners more votes than a for-fun Salient run poll with less credibility than a Zimbabwean election is not a good question to ask

    holy shit, taste the spite on this. “communications and pr overhaul” indeed, maxwell.

  3. Poster girl says:

    Woooohoooo! Communications overhaul! <3 About time!

    I hope it involves finding Section 3B: Goal 8 and obliging.

    Where are these podcasts of weekly interviews promised in last weeks column? Or are they going to be mythical like the VUWSA Campaigns hour?

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