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March 13, 2006 | by  | in Opinion |
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Successes

The last couple of weeks have been pretty full on and busy.

I’ve just got back from our first protest of the year. Despite rain and cold (not the best weather for March, even in Wellington) we got 150 students to march down to Parliament and demand an end to fee increases and an increase in government funding to tertiary education. This was a positive start to our campaigns this year, and gave the Education Action Group a decent start.

Orientation was a great success this year. Almost everyone who attended claimed this year’s clubs days were the best they’d ever been to. For cultural clubs day we had a record number of the clubs come in and sign people up. It was a great atmosphere in the Quad and most people involved behind the scenes talked about what a well organised event it was.

The Debating Society did a great job of organising the great debate and more than doubled last years turn out. Debsoc will have a busy year this year as Victoria is hosting Austral, the international university debating competition. We last hosted this in 2000 so it’s really great that we’ve got it back in Wellington in July.

Last Sunday’s Hangover Hangi also went really well. It was great to be part of an event where VUWSA and Ngai Tauira worked together and achieved something positive for students, and we look forward to much more of this in 2006. This was also my first time helping to cook a hangi, believe me its certainly not light work.

Our orientation gigs were a success. Almost all of the events got more people than expected. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make these events a success and I’d like to thank each and every one who has helped out over the last couple of weeks. Quite a few of us have a bit of sleep to catch up on now, so big ups to everyone who helped out. To those students who came and enjoyed our shows, keep an eye out for future gigs – we’ll be organising more of them throughout the year.

One major thing we achieved over summer as a students association was investing $100,000 of the VUWSA Trusts money into the new Gym at Rutherford house. I have heard that this new facility is very popular with students and there are waiting lists to get in. It’s great that our students association has been able to help make this project happen as otherwise this facility probably wouldn’t exist. One of my election policies was to extend services provided at satellite campuses, so when projects like this go well it’s very encouraging.

Now we are settling down into the year, some of the more on-going activities will start to get going. Student Representative Council (SRC) meetings are one important example of these. SRCs are a forum held in the Quad each Wednesday lunchtime at 12:30pm. These meetings are a public forum for student to discuss and debate the pressing issues of the week. All students have a right to speak at SRCs and they are a good place to publicly debate issues going on in the university and from society as a whole. SRC’s can also pass resolutions that are used as an indication of student opinion by the VUWSA executive. An example of this was on April 20th last year when an SRC passed a resolution that:

“That Victoria University begin a consultative process immediately to lead to implementation of an environmental policy by the end of 2005, and that VUWSA actively lobby the University in this regard until such a policy is implemented”.

This resolution passed 73 votes to 0 with one abstention. Since this VUWSA has been working on lobbying the university for an institution wide environmental policy and looking at VUWSA’s internal practices to see if things can be done in a more environmentally friendly manner.

Students can also give directives to members of the VUWSA executive. So if you believe the exec or certain exec members should be doing certain things you can pass resolutions directing them to do a certain task. If by the following SRC (or whatever timeline students set) a task hasn’t been done students can then question the exec member(s). This was apparently common practice in the 1970s and was a good way for students to be involved in the VUWSA democratic process.

Speaking of democracy, Monday March 13th is your last day to hand in your nomination form for the positions of Queer, International and Environmental Officer on the VUWSA exec. This weeks SRC will probably be combined with a candidates forum, so come along and find out who to vote for. Voting starts Tuesday next week (March 21st) and goes through to March 28th.

Hope everyone is having a great year so far.

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