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Seven would-be Environmental, International and Queer officers on the VUWSA exec vied for student votes at forum held last week.
The two candidates for Environmental Officer, Tushara Kodikara and Martin Wilson, urged students to participate in campus politics.
Kodikara has a post-graduate diploma in environmental studies and advises the Wellington City Council on environmental issues. He advocates a sustainable zero-waste campus-wide policy. Wilson also spoke of the need for a sustainable environmental policy at Vic. He even petitioned the University last year about its environmental policy and says he is familiar with the workings of the exec.
Although not an international student, Gregory Carstens is campaigning for the position of International Officer. A post-graduate media studies student, Carstens says “international students need a domestic voice” and says he will work to provide support for students separated from their homes and cultures.
Fiona Shi, a first year BA international student is also running for International Officer, wants to help international students get the most out of their time in New Zealand. If elected, she says she will promote greater international student involvement in uni life.
Also contesting the international position is Shijun Li. Li, an international student doing his Masters in public policy, has already had three years of experience working for VUWSA on behalf of students. The main issue for international students is the lowering of international tuition fees to domestic fee levels, he says.
Two candidates for the role of Queer Officer – James Mulligan-Hill and Will Howell – spoke at the forum.
Mulligan-Hill, a first year student, says he believes the position is important as “everyone deserves to be represented”. He says he doesn’t have much to offer in the role – “at least I’m honest”, he adds.
Howell says he wants to end the ‘gay-male’ focus of Pride Week, and increase activities for lesbians and other queers on campus. As a member of Gecko, he will work closely with the Environmental Officer, he says. Howell – a politics student – was the former Queer Representative at Massey University Students’ Association.
The third Queer Officer candidate Rachel Leat was absent due to illness.
The VUWSA By-Election runs from the 21st to the 28th of March. Students can vote online at www.vuwsa.org.nz, or at one of the polling booths between 10am and 4pm daily.