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“VUWSA is a hangover from the days of unionism in New Zealand. Its existence is unnecessary, and only increases the fees students have to pay.”
Throughout the past year VUWSA has done some serious soul-searching. The executive have been out-and-about asking students and student groups what their student-life pains are. We’ve heard a range of responses: not getting that assignment extension, waiting weeks to see a counsellor, living in a cold, damp, and mouldy flat, the looming thought of a massive student loan… etc.
The quote above is a response to a question in our recent Strategic Plan survey: “Why do you think VUWSA exists?” Comments like this remind me that our history, while colourful and beautiful, has also alienated some students into thinking we’re a faction of the Labour Party, and we’re here to serve our own interests. But I know intrinsically, within VUWSA, we are not that. Our purpose is not for ourselves, but to get the best deal for students. The above comment indicates we need to tell our story—the student story—better. We need to better define the student experience.
Our university experience is important and we need to take it seriously. Victoria’s Strategic Plan sets a goal to deliver a “holistic learning, teaching and student experience second to none.” For that to happen, students (i.e. you) need to be vocal in defining and shaping what that experience might look like. I believe VUWSA has a role, as the voice of students, to empower you to do this.
This Wednesday, I will be announcing the results of that soul-searching. I’ll be announcing our big plan for the next five years, which seeks to define the student experience and reassert VUWSA’s place within the university community. So come along to our Annual General Meeting, in The Hub, on Wednesday at 1.00pm. Free pizza!