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May 27, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Anything’s Better Than a Pyjama Party

If you were looking forward to Re-Orientation Week affirming your decision to come to Victoria, you’ll probably be out of luck as VUWSA struggle under a tough University funding model.

Re-Orientation Week will feature free barbecues at all campuses from Monday through Thursday, and an event in town on Friday night, aimed at first-years. It will be solely organised by VUWSA, who did not seek University funding for Re-O Week.

“Funding is available. However, the University has not yet received a proposal from VUWSA regarding Re-Orientation Week events,” said Associate Director of Campus Operations Rainsforth Dix.

VUWSA President Rory McCourt is unhappy with the current funding structure, and holds that the University should fund key events which students value. The University currently places a greater emphasis on Orientation than on Re-Orientation, and as such, Re-Orientation funding comes through the clubs process as opposed to a contract for orientation services.

“We still believe there are issues for a students’ association to [have to] go through the clubs process for funding for Re-Orientation,” McCourt said.

“What we want is security around events, funding for students’ association events, and also to acknowledge that VUWSA is not the same organisation as a club, and that we’re here to serve all students, not any particular demographic … I think we should be funded accordingly.”

At Otago, students are looking forward to seeing Shapeshifter, and setting a Guinness World Record for Largest Paint Party. Otago are expected to successfully break the record, primarily due to the fact that no such record currently exists.

Neither Vice-President (Engagement) Mica Moore nor McCourt thought students in Wellington wanted events any less than their Otago counterparts, but noted Wellington was oversaturated with different music and sporting events which compete for students’ attention. In addition, McCourt mentioned the differences between VUWSA and the Otago equivalent, OUSA.

“Otago is a very different students’ association. They have a team of six event people … VUWSA doesn’t have that capacity, and our institution hasn’t backed us to the same degree, to do that kind of stuff.”

Moore is in charge of events at VUWSA. The V-P (Engagement) role is new in 2013, and Moore believes it is working well to serve students. She has already seen a vast improvement in student engagement and in the provision of events, and though Shapeshifter aren’t playing at Re-Orientation Week, Moore has secured discounted student tickets for their July 27 show.

“We want to make sure that right from the outset they don’t think that they have to go to Otago or to Auckland or another university for Re-O Week, and that Vic’s the place they can stay at and VUWSA will provide for them,” Moore told Salient.

Despite the lacklustre schedule, this year’s Re-Orientation Week already looks to be far more successful than its predecessors. 2012’s sole event, a Pyjama Party held at The Hunter Lounge, attracted less than 20 students. The party was not subsidised by VUWSA, but was endorsed by the Association. At the time, then President of VUWSA Bridie Hood said VUWSA “might have to look at planning a bigger event the end of the year”, something Moore and 2013’s Executive have taken on board.

“I want to make sure that Re-O Week is solid, and I want to make sure that it’s something that welcomes students back and throws a little bit of a party. The focus is going to be on the end of the year for providing something better,” said Moore.

“To date, we haven’t fronted up, and that’s a lot to do with capacity, and organisation, and the funding we’ve received. But, we’re going to make it better.”

Planning for the end-of-year event has begun, with the event being marketed as a celebration of students’ achievements and an encouragement for returning to study the following year. Planning for O-Week 2014 has also begun, with VUWSA hoping to build excitement for next year’s O-Week through this year’s end-of-year events.

“I think some students do [value Re-Orientation]; we’ve got to make sure that we’re getting those students involved, but we’ve got to make sure there’s events throughout the year, it’s not just about Re-Orientation,” said McCourt.

“If a students’ association can’t put on great events and engage with its members, it probably shouldn’t exist”.

McCourt promised events throughout the year in his Salient column on 11 March, stating he wanted to make Victoria “a more fun, vibrant place” through “articulating a vision for an O-Week that includes everyone (not just first-years) and planning sick events throughout the year”. However, the only sick event so far has been the flu jabs.

Further details regarding VUWSA Re-Orientation Week events are expected to be announced soon. The University will be organising its usual Re-Orientation events, including Clubs Week.

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