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March 12, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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What VUWSA is and isn’t

This week VUWSA starts it’s “What is VUWSA?” campaign. I know plenty of people who after years of study at Victoria, are still in the dark when it comes to what VUWSA is supposed to do. I think it’s high time that we at VUWSA take charge and educate all of our members about our services, as well as debunk the misinformation about VUWSA. So, what is VUWSA?

VUWSA in exchange for the levy that you as students pay each year provides services in four key areas:

Education:

This includes organising and training the faculty and class representatives (where students have the power to get the University to work for students, both with individual student problems and the wider strategic issues.), advocates for students (when dealing with the University on an individual student’s issues like plagiarism, unfair grades, student conduct etc), surveying 100 level courses, so incoming students get a fair review of those papers they intend to take, working with post-graduate student issues, Dealing with Hall of Residence issues and working with the University to promote and guide student services to help students improve their studies.

Welfare:

Working with SJS to help students find work (short and long term), providing free bread on Wednesdays and Fridays (Thanks to Brumbies and Arobake), a food bank and access to hardship grants, free bus tickets for students studying across campuses, locker hire, parking permits, free microwaves around campus, providing Handbooks, Wallplanners, Cookbooks and the Sex Mag, VUWSA are advocates for students when dealing with Studylink, campus angels (late night safety escort on campus) , plus more.

Activities:

Did you guys see Orientation? That was just a sample of the activities held by VUWSA for students each year. On a related note, big ups to all those on the Suburban Safari last week, you guys rock! Stand by for more fun and games both on and off-campus. Plus, we were able to show great kiwi acts like Katchafire, dDub, OdESSA, Offbeats, Wing, Wayne Anderson, Disasteradio, So-So-Modern and heaps more: we are a cradle for New Zealand’s newest and greatest.

Clubs:

There are around 80 cultural, social and sporting clubs that are affiliated to VUWSA. Affiliation with VUWSA provides access to free meeting and training spaces, grants for running clubs, cheap rates on transport, access for fundraising and general support (including accounting and administration). We also hold several clubs days on campus: already this year we have held three (two at Kelburn and one at Pipitea, as part of Pipitea Carnivale)

We also have a focus on the diverse groups of students who study here: International, Disabled, Maori (working with Ngai Tauira’s leadership), Pacifica, Queer, Mature, Parents are just a few. We also focus on the wider environmental issues facing students, both on and off campus.

We also fund Salient, the magazine that lets you keep up to date with the goings on about campus. Bless them.

Because we are run by students, for students and paid for by students, we are able to keep ourselves separate for the University. Sometimes people get us confused, or put us in the same box. So here is what VUWSA does not do:

  • We do not operate the Student Union Building or the Gyms (the University does, although through last year’s Memorandum of Understanding with VUW, we have membership on the strategic Joint Student Union Board, and we are working harder to build our relationship with Student Union to better serve students…which is like walking on a tightrope with ice skates sometimes)
  • We do not control the Mount St Bar or any of the cafes on campus (that is controlled by VUW through Student Union as well)
  • We are not responsible for the smoking policy or the price of beer (although I am personally appalled by the overzealous polices placed upon students in the past, some of which are still around)
  • We are not responsible for the level of fees that students have to pay (and we are very annoyed that the University continues to think that students shall be the scapegoat for their lack of leadership in getting the Government to get serious on the level of funding of Tertiary education: a topic that I will talk about in a later edition of Salient).

The most important thing to remember is that if you think we as representatives of your students’ association are not doing a good job, you have the power to make us listen to you. The IGM (initial general meeting) is on the 9th of May, come and make your views heard. A Student Representative Council meeting is also on in the Mount St Bar on the 21st of March at 12pm: we will be electing student delegates for the numerous university boards and committees that allow a student voice to be heard. If you want to know more abut how to become a delegate, contact us.

This week, you’ll see us handing out free stuff, talking about VUWSA and what we do. Don’t be afraid to come and talk to us, we will never be afraid to talk to those whom we serve.

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