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In my last few columns I’ve written a lot about issues facing Vic students. From the push for student bus fares, to the misrepresentation of student behaviour in the media, I’ve talked to you about my work as your student president to make your university experience the best it can be.
The other side of my job is leading an organisation which delivers services and provides advocacy on student issues, and looking long-term at how that works in the best interests of our members, the students. This week, I want to tell you a bit about the story of VUWSA and where we are heading. VUWSA is independent from Victoria University, and has several full-time staff: including a general manager, advocate, student representation coordinator, and event manager—just to name a few.
VUWSA started in 1899, and has had a colourful history of fighting for students and affirming our place in the social and political life of the capital. Over the last five years we’ve had a radical shift at VUWSA as a result of a law change which meant that we no longer had guaranteed funding through universal student membership. We’ve been busy over the last few years trying to keep afloat and reaffirming our place as the primary representative student body in the eyes of Vic. All this internal work has meant that we didn’t do enough work to talk to you and talk about your needs.
This year, we are changing that. We’re currently in the process of producing our strategic plan, illustrating our goals for the next ‘chapter’ of VUWSA. We want to reconnect with you, and make sure that we’re getting the best deal for you in all that we do. How can we make your experience at university better? Do you want us to fight for student bus fares and warmer flats? What other services can we provide to make your life a bit easier? We’ll be having these conversations with you over the next few months. I’ll be launching the start of these conversations at our Initial General Meeting on Wednesday. Come along to the Hub at 1.00pm to hear what we’ve been up to and also to discuss the national Thursdays in Black campaign. There will be pizza. I’ll see you there!