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April 30, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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VUWSA Presidential Address

At the VUWSA Initial General Meeting a few weeks ago, students voted to pass the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan highlights the goals and projects that students have directed VUWSA to achieve in the coming 3 years.

One of the key projects in the Strategic Plan is to review the current structure of the Executive, which governs VUWSA. The last time that the governance structure of VUWSA was reviewed was in 1989. The purpose of this review, as I understand, was to make VUWSA operate under more of a business model—with a small Executive focused on high level, strategic operations of the Association.

A lot has happened to VUWSA’s governance structure since 1989. We’ve had new portfolios established (Women’s Rights, Queer, Environment and International Officers), new committees established, significant staff restructuring and most recently the introduction of Voluntary Student Membership.

When running for VUWSA President, I campaigned on the promise of holding a Governance Review. Given the large amount of time it has been since we last properly looked at our Executive and the new challenges VUWSA now faces, such as VSM, it is about time we had a decent look at our governance structure. Not only what portfolios we should have, the review encompasses other issues and activities related to governance such as elections, remuneration and general meetings.

To ensure that VUWSA continues to develop as an effective student-led organisation we need to ensure that we have a robust, effective and accountable governance structure. If the overarching goal of the VUWSA Executive is to further the nine goals outlined in the VUWSA Constitution, then what sort of governance structure best achieves this task?

This is the ultimate goal of the Governance Review—to find this ‘best structure’. The first step of this is through the release of
a Green Paper. Over the last few weeks the Governance Review Committee, comprised of VUWSA, alumni and student representatives have been hard at work putting together an initial document for student and stakeholder consultation.

The purpose of this Green Paper is to get you starting to think more broadly and creatively about our current governance structure and how we might do things a bit differently. In the paper we have set out how things currently run, but we have also provided readers with some ideas on how other students’ associations nationally and YOUR STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION internationally do things a bit differently.

The main thing to remember about this review is that everything is up for revision. Come 2013 we might have a radically different Executive or we might have the status quo with a few tweaks here and there to get it performing a bit better.

But none of this will be possible without your contribution. VUWSA is your students’ association. And because of that we want to hear your views. So check out the VUWSA website or facebook, download the Terms of Reference and tell us what you think. You can send in a submission, fill out a survey or else you can attend one of the Forums we will be holding and give us your opinion right there and then.

Such big change like this does not come around very often—so make sure you get involved and take ownership of your students association.

And while you are submitting on the governance review—don’t forget to fill out the Student Experience improvement Survey that would have landed in your inboxes last week! Fill out ALL OF THE SURVEYS!

Have a great week!

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