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April 11, 2011 | by  | in News |
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VUWSA cops a feel of the student body

Results from the recent VUWSA survey have been released, enabling the exec to identify strengths and weaknesses in their approach.

It now believes itself to be in a better position for the likely introduction of Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) next year.

According to VUWSA President Seamus Brady, results from the VUWSA survey have given them a mandate and reasons to make changes.

It “brought to light that quite a lot of people actually do use our services”, and has pointed out what needs to be bumped up or addressed.

Despite results showing some services receive low use, as reported in last week’s Salient, there are no plans to cut existing services.

VUWSA has now placed a key focus on the need to be more proactive in communication and raising awareness. Seamus believes that this will help in “building the reputation that there’s more to us than a free sausage.”

They hope to increase their presence at satellite campuses by “making satellite offices more visible and useable.”

This year, VUWSA has changed the focus of the class rep system, which they see as their main face-to-face communication with classes. By having more reps and improving training, they hope to create a better classroom community.

83 per cent of classes have a rep this trimester, with Association Manager Mark Maguire noting it is a standout in the country.

Negotiations began last year with Victoria about VUWSA’s structure and funding should VSM be implemented. Funding is likely to come from a mixture of commercial interests, the VUWSA Trust and, at some level, from Victoria.

Seamus believes that the improved relationship with Victoria has placed VUWSA in a better position than other students’ associations, as he does not think that VUWSA will be reliant on membership subscriptions to continue functioning.

“A lot of it is helped already by the partnership we have over the student services levy. That’s got equal representation and has oversight of the levy and how it’s spent and where it’s spent… It has given us a framework to discuss post-VSM funding arrangements.”

Though VUWSA has not looked into the specifics of how membership will be structured, he thinks that students will decide whether or not to join based on more than just the services on offer.

“When you enrol at Victoria, you enter a community that is represented by an organisation, and I think that students will want to be a part of that.”

Students will have the opportunity to have their say on the changes in August at the AGM.

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