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March 10, 2014 | by  | in Opinion |
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VUWSA President

Last Monday, while you were spending hundreds of dollars at the Vic Books pop-up store, queuing up for sausages or finding your way to your first lecture, Victoria officially welcomed a new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford. The Vice-Chancellor, or ‘VC’, is the head honcho at Vic: they double as the CEO, and are in charge of leading the University into… the future.

This week’s theme is ‘the future’, and there’s no better time to think about what the future of Vic looks like, when we have a new Vice-Chancellor. This week, I’m about to enter the hallowed brick walls of the Hunter Building for my first proper chat with the new VC. While Vice-Chancellors aren’t generally known for getting out and about with students, Grant seems keen to change that, so I’m hoping he’ll be up to move our meetings to a student space as soon as possible. Here’s what I’ll be chatting to the VC about this week:

Student Culture – what? It’s no secret that Vic doesn’t have the same sense of student culture as universities like Otago or Canterbury. Would you ever buy a Vic hoodie? Why? Why not? How can we build a strong sense of community at Vic, where it is easy to meet new people, and easy to make awesome things happen around campus without a lot of form-filling and emailing lots of different people? The Kelburn Hub and Rutherford House foyer could be full of student performance, art, interesting pop-up displays, new ideas and social comment. How can we work with Grant and the other senior folk to make this happen?

Quality of Education. Universities are under heaps of pressure to pass more students and produce more research with less money. This worries a lot of us, because it can mean growing class sizes, less tutorials and more stressed academics. It also means that students and staff tend to have less say over what their university looks like. What will Vic look like in five years, and how do we make sure it is a place where there is room for rigorous classroom debate, even with growing class sizes and pressure to make university courses more job-related?

If you have any ideas about the future of Vic, and how you think that the VC can work with students to make that happen, flick me an email or come say hi.

Your Prez,

Sonya Clark

How to get in touch:

Email me at or pop in to the VUWSA offices at Level 4, Student Union Building. My office is right next to the microwaves!

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this