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April 2, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

VUWSA Welfare Officer: Murse. A Divisive Concept

Murse. A divisive concept. Why, you ask? In the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to convince a friend that I am a male nurse. It’s not that she doesn’t believe that I’ve personally been administering injections as part of VUWSA’s Free Flu Shot programme (which is going great! Have you had yours yet?). It’s simply that she doesn’t believe murses exist. Now, my friend is no bigot. She’s as progressive as the next Marx and Engels. So what’s her problem?

Well, my friend is the Rick Santorum of the occupational world: she’s a denier. She pretends murses aren’t a thing
and that the blurring of gender-specific employment roles hasn’t been happening since the French went bananas in ‘68. But times change. Things happen. Ostrichification is not an option. So when Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) passed and Peter McCaffery let out a soft moan, our world changed. Something happened.

Taking on the role of Welfare Officer, I acknowledge that VSM will have a large impact on what we do and how we do
it. And so it should. Our challenge now is to take stock and begin the fight for a better deal for students going into the future. That means more efficient use of student money, better engagement with students and a renewed drive to reflect the aspirations and needs of those we seek to represent.

In the welfare portfolio, I’ll be looking at how we can reduce the cost of programmes like Campus Angels, a service very few of us use each year. No, this doesn’t mean cuts; it means exploring the use of incentivised volunteers, instead of paying staff. What are your thoughts? Flick me an email at welfare.officer@ to have your say on the future of Campus Angels.

A greater effort will also be made to reflect the aspirations and needs of you, our students–like questioning Victoria’s lack of consultation around Student Forum, or calling on the Government to lift student loan living cost payments, student allowances and course-related cost limits. Did you know course-related cost limits haven’t gone up since the early 1990s? Barney would be horrified.

Purple dinosaurs aside, it’s set to be a challenging year ahead. There’ll be tough decisions to be made and new battles
to be fought. But I’m confident VUWSA and students can come out better off; if we’re prepared to work together, if we’re prepared to fight for it.


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