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Congratulations, you’ve successfully made it to Week 4! No more staying up all night to get the best tutorial times. No more awkward icebreakers in every. Single. Tutorial. No more having to try and figure out where that one class is with some bizarre acronym for a location—well, for half a year at least.
This year marks VUWSA’s one hundred-and-sweet-sixteenth birthday, with your favourite students’ association established in 1899, sharing its birthday with the paperclip, Al Capone, and AC Milan.
In that short amount of time (116 years young baby!), VUWSA has done its fair share of campaigning on behalf of students, and partly fulfilling the role of the University as the critic and conscience of society.
The Association was once arguably a lot more radical throughout the twentieth century, often reflecting the political nature of the time. The 1960s saw a lot of protest around the Vietnam War, and at one particular event, a collection was made and $2000 raised to buy a tank for the North Vietnamese*, while 1970 saw huge student protests against the All Black tour of South Africa, as well as increased campaigning around abortion and women’s rights (much to the dismay of some men—what’s changed?!).
Then, of course, came the 1980s, with no better way to kick it off than the 1981 Springbok Tour; lots of protests, lots of arrests. The 1980s also saw in a change to the way tertiary education was provided in New Zealand thank to Rogernomics (more protests), and then Ruth Richardson’s Mother of all Budgets in the 90s (with more protesting). A bill in 1997 that commercialised universities saw 300 students march on (and trespassed from) Parliament. One of those arrested, Chris Hipkins, later became VUWSA President** and MP.
I can’t promise anything as radically exciting to come out of VUWSA this year, but I can promise that we will continue campaigning for issues students care about: better standard of living, better transport, healthier flats, and whatever else gets thrown against students this year.
Most importantly though, we’re YOUR students’ association, so if there’s anything you’d like us to campaign on, get in touch! My email’s firstname.lastname@example.org, my twitter’s @nil_joel, our office is in the Student Union Building, or you can always find me every Wednesday night ruining your favourite songs at karaoke at Ivy.
Until next time,
VUWSA’s token introvert x0x0
*The money was later donated quietly to a charity, which was probably for the best.
**There’s a precedent, Rick. We sit and wait.