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September 9, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Students’ Association to Eradicate Student Poverty

Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) are hoping small change will bring change, using donations from students to assist students in need.

The ‘Students for Students—Tauira mō ngā take tauira’ initiative encourages students to donate sums beginning from $1 a week which go towards funding several welfare services provided by AUSA, including food parcels, textbook scholarships and hardship grants.

These services are provided to students in genuine financial distress, suffering unexpected and serious hardship, says AUSA Welfare Officer Jessica Storey.

“Often the students we help… are studying while taking care of children, or have faced unexpected medical costs or unemployment, and are subsisting on the absolute bare minimum and struggling to make ends meet.”

AUSA Administrative Vice-President Cate Bell, founder of the programme, says that it is an accessible way in which students can make a positive difference in other students’ lives.

“Students for Students is a great and simple way for every student at the University of Auckland to help others,” said Bell.

VUWSA Vice-President (Welfare) Rick Zwaan was aware of AUSA’s initiative, but suggested such a scheme was not necessary at Victoria as every student contributes $24 to a hardship fund. Victoria’s total hardship funding, some of which goes towards services provided by VUWSA, is much greater than that of Auckland.

“Vic has a better approach where all students put in, and students who are in need benefit,” said Zwaan.

Further support for the programme is coming from outside Auckland. Executive Director of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), Dr Alistair Shaw, says that the scheme demonstrates what can be achieved by strong student leaders responding to key issues such as the affordability of tertiary education.

Salient spoke to Auckland University second-year Engineering student Misha Sinner, who would “definitely consider” contributing, and be “proud” to help out.

“While you don’t have to contribute to apply for help if you were in need, contributing now would certainly make me feel better about applying later should that situation arise,” said Sinner.

Donations from the public are welcomed, with donations through the AUSA website. Victoria students can find financial-advice services in the ‘services and support’ section of the VUW website.

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