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October 11, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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President’s column

This will be my final column in Salient. This time last year I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was newly elected on a platform of re-building the reputation of your association, delivering amazing services and being an articulate advocate for quality student-focused education, an outstanding experience for students here and fair decision-making. I am happy to say that we have taken big steps towards all of these goals. This will not be a list of what we have done, for that you can read the Annual Report. Thank you for the privilege of being VUWSA President.

Students serving students

I ran because I saw the great potential for our students’ association to be a positive force for students at Victoria and I think VUWSA has been that so far this year.

I think there is an enormous power in notion that members of the student community stand up to serve the rest of the community. Our welfare services, for example, are about of students caring for the welfare of other students.

Our pride in Victoria?

The disparate sections of the University often don’t feel like a community anymore, however. I think our university should be something we feel deeply proud of and have a lifelong connection with. I do not think over the last few years that Victoria and the student body here have done much towards achieving this.

This was an issue I brought up at University Council. Why do we come to Vic? Are we really proud to be at Vic? How do we create a University that we are proud of?

I think there are some obvious things that can be done to address some issues that have been holding us back.

One of the highlights of this year has been the progress of the Campus Hub project designed to give our Kelburn Campus a student-focused heart, and a new awareness by the University that spaces should be vibrant and designed for students. There will be new cafes and bars, and the Union Hall will next year be once again one of Wellington’s pre-eminent gig venues. New spaces will allow better learning environments, better social spaces, and importantly new spaces for cultural and political expression. The University and VUWSA have also recognised improving the social and academic orientation for new students as a key priority. Student services have recognised the need to be holistic, student-focused and easy to access. Perhaps these steps will all go a way to engaging us as lifelong members of a community here at Victoria.

Quality student focused education

The University is not a “business” – it is an organisation set up to serve our community. One of its functions is to equip us with an outstanding education. Both students and the Government pay a lot of money so it can fulfil this function.

But, the University is a community organisation and we are a part of that community, so we need to take some responsibility for ensuring we get a great education. This year your students’ association allowed for greater student feedback on courses, supported efforts to produce and train quality teachers and continued its watch-dog role in ensuring that lecturers and courses meet standards.

We encourage academics who genuinely engage students in their learning and research – and this requires resources and management willingness. We will continue to advocate for this, but students should continue to raise issues with us and ensure they get the education we all deserve.

VUWSA election results

I wish to congratulate all those who were elected to the VUWSA Executive for next year, especially Seamus Brady, the student president for 2011. Next year will be a fantastic one for VUWSA.

The turn-out at the election was probably about 10% of those eligible to vote, which is not a high. It should be higher.

I think to some extent that was because there were a lot of great candidates running. There was little controversy at this election. Many people I talked to thought that either candidate could do a good job and found it hard to choose. I think also that Salient and other student media failed to articulate the
difference between the candidates and allow you to make an informed decision between what were very good candidates.

At future elections VUWSA and Salient should improve on this.

Thank-yous

Understandably there are some people that I would like to thank. Thank you to the Executive this year – especially those that went above and beyond the call of duty in serving students here at Vic.

I worked with many University staff this year that showed a true commitment to working together to improve
this University for students – I am particularly grateful to Jenny, Rainsforth, Pam and Gerard. The VUWSA Trust provided invaluable advice and support, particularly trustees Alistair Shaw and Dave Guerin. University Council was a terrific experience, and I would like to particularly thank the Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor for their support and strong leadership.

Finally, I would like to thank Salient and the editor this year Sarah Robson, for covering VUWSA in a more responsible way than Salient has in the past. “More” is a relative term of course and I think much of the coverage this year remained irresponsible or frivolous and I think Salient should do more next year to fulfil its original goals of engaging and motivating students about what is happening on campus.

However, I want to publicly recognise the enormous achievement that you made this year producing the best
student magazine in the country.

Not over yet

We will still be busy over the next couple of months. We will try to keep interested students informed about what VUWSA is up to through the VUWSA website and you should still feel free to contact me at any time.

Thank you,
Max Hardy
president@vuwsa.org.nz

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  1. Tigee says:

    where is the picture? its my favourite bit. <3 Tigee

  2. smackdown says:

    i ate it there will be no visual record of max hardy’s existence while the dark lord smackdown is on the prowl heh heh heh heh heh

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