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March 23, 2009 | by  | in News |
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There Will Be Hub

In what has been touted as a major victory for the Campus Hub Redevelopment Project (CHRP) and the VUWSA Trust, a 103-strong student quorum voted overwhelmingly in favour of committing $12M of VUWSA Trust funds towards the CHRP at last Wednesday’s Initial General Meeting (IGM).

The motion put forward asked students for a mandate to commit funds set aside by the VUWSA Trust for the redevelopment of the Student Union Building (SUB) as part of Victoria University of Wellington’s CHRP.

Victoria University of Wellington Student Association VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle was overjoyed with the result.

“I am way excited about the Campus Hub,” She said.

“This is quite a historic motion to pass.”

The redevelopment of the SUB will allow for dedicated club and representative group spaces, improved bar and eatery facilities, storage areas, social spaces, and improved aesthetics and acoustics in the Student Union Hall.

The large turnout was a marked contrast to the embarrassing lack of interest demonstrated at the 4March Special General Meeting, where the motion was to be originally broached.

VUWSA was unable to reach quorum on that occasion, forcing the motion to be moved to the IGM.

A concerted effort on the part of the association was undertaken to ensure quorum was reached. A number of posters, leaflets and signs were posted around campus advising students of the time and date of the IGM, and of the relative significance their contribution to the Campus Hub would involve.

Before the motion was brought to a vote, a number of speakers came forward to express their thoughts on the redevelopment.

VUWSA Vice President of Administration Alexander Neilson spoke of a need to elevate student facilities to a higher level.

“The Campus Hub is an important redevelopment of the centre of campus to bring student facilities and student services up to a standard and access, that is actually delivering to students,” Neilson said.

“They’ve got a project going out there [in the quad], and it’s time for student money to get involved in something for students.”

VUWSA Trust Chair Alistair Shaw said those attending the meeting were “a lucky bunch of students” for being able to spend “ten years worth of money.”

“By the time many of you have finished university, you will be able to see the real impact of this decision you’ve made collectively,” Shaw said.

Inconveniences and delays notwithstanding, it is expected the majority of renovations to the SUB will be completed by Orientation 2010.

While the CHRP may have been at the forefront of the minds of those attending it was not the only historic motion put before the 100-plus quorum that afternoon.

Students voted heavily in favour of three VUWSA constitutional amendments concerning the addition of the Women’s Group to the list of Representative Organisations, the renaming of VUWSA Executive positions, Education Officers A and B, and that the five positions listed as “Executive member” in VUWSA General Elections will now be referred to by individual roles.

Education Officer A will now be referred to as the sole Education Officer, while Education Officer B will be known as the Welfare Officer.

VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle was “happy” to see the Women’s Group attain rep group status, but was equally as pleased with the decision to have each exec member voted directly into their positions, as opposed to the en bloc situation that existed previously.

“That makes it a lot more accountable to the student body, and is a lot better for those standing in VUWSA elections,” Freemantle said.

With regards to the newly forged rep group itself, Freemantle saw the change as natural.

“This… will bring the Women’s Group more in line with other representative groups under the representative structure. We already have representative groups for international students, pacifika students, and even for students that are into the environment,” she said during the meeting.

Acting Women’s Rights Officer Kassie Hartendorp expressed joy at the motion granting the Women’s Group rep group status.

“I think it should’ve been done a long time ago,” Hartendorp said.

“There are some people who think the Women’s Group is mainly a bunch of middle-class white feminists and that they’re only catering to their needs, but I think the Women’s Group acts in the interest of all women on campus. If there is no group that does that, then we’ve found through history that things [for women] do not happen.”

Items five and six on the meeting agenda, the 2008 Annual Report and the 2008 Statement of Accounts, were deferred to a later date.

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