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March 17, 2014 | by  | in Opinion |
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Welfare Vice-President

Kia ora, I’m Rick Zwaan, your Welfare Vice-President again this year.

In my unbiased opinion, Welfare VP is the best role on the Exec. I get to work on things that try to make your life just a wee bit better. From giving away free bread (Wednesday and Friday mornings from VUWSA reception) to campaigning for cheaper bus fares and healthier homes, VUWSA is here to help look after your welfare.

Another reason why I love my job is that I get to work with a fantastic team and interact with great staff around Uni. The Welfare Team consists of our enthusiastic Equity Officer, Maddy, and our wonderful Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer, Steph. We’re all passionate about supporting all students, but especially those who are marginalised by systemic issues within the University and community. We do our best to support rep groups which do a fantastic job at looking after the communities they represent.

We’re also working on shifting the culture within University to make it a safer space for disenfranchised groups to study at. An example of this is trying to change the Equity and Diversity Policy so it includes all minority groups – not just those with funding targets tied to them – and has a meaningful implementation strategy beyond waffly targets.

While there are still lots of systematic issues to address around Uni, there’re some amazing staff who work tirelessly to support students as best they can. The $680 you paid in your Student Services Levy this year goes towards a plethora of student services. You pay for them, so make the most of them.

Alongside the work we do on campus, we’re also focussed on how central-government policies affect us.

With the general election about six months away, I’m keen to make sure some of the big issues around student support and access to tertiary education are on the agenda. This year, we’ll be campaigning to universalise the availability of student allowances while in the meantime ensuring that the amount you can loan for living costs is actually enough to live on.

If you want these issues to be on the agenda, then it’s crucial that you enrol, update your address, and vote. As anyone who has taken POLS111, or even has a slightest political inkling, will know, the only thing that all politicians care about is votes.

Feel free to get in touch anytime if you have questions/ideas/gripes, or just want to have a chat.

Yours,

Rick Zwaan

M: 021 188 1705; DDI: (04) 463 7406; E: rick.zwaan@vuw.ac.nz; T: @RAZwaan

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