The VUWSA Executive are a bunch of underpaid and overworked people who represent and serve students through their various roles. We have read the work reports written by the executive members and have endured many executive meetings. It’s our pleasure to examine the performance of your representatives thus far in the year of the monkey, 2k16.
President Jonathan Gee
Jonathan is a very diplomatic, sleek politician with an immaculate appearance to match. Gee at first appeared to be a covert Young Nat, but we think we jumped to conclusions and what we are seeing is simply a stylistic departure from the cardigan-wearing, hippy-casual attire of presidents past. If he aligned with a party (which he emphatically avoids, probably to his credit) it’d likely be Labour. Gee is diplomatic to the point of verging on subservience to the university’s party line, and as he points out himself he could do with some work on calling things out when it is needed and not being afraid to be antagonistic when the situation demands it. Salient thrives on controversy, though obviously VUWSA has to strike a balance between not taking too much shit from the university and government, and continuing to be funded and (occasionally) listened to. That said, Gee’s leadership is very approachable, modest, and collaborative, making the executive seem like a nice cohesive team, and likely leading to the favour of the various knights, dames, and big deals on the University Council and senior leadership team. He also noted that his high expectations of himself lead to self-criticism, we think he should give himself credit that he is doing a great job and just like chill and celebrate and get loose. 420.
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Most student-politician-y statement: “I have worked with the General Manager and Treasurer-Secretary (as Chair of Policy Committee) to streamline policies such as the delegated authority and finance policies. This sort of streamlining allows the executive to focus its work less on internal operations and more on external / representation of students.”
Overtime worked: 219 hours
Academic Vice President Jacinta Gulasekharam
After reading (read: skimming) 15 pages about Jacinta’s last six months as Academic Vice President, we are confident to admit that she has the privilege of possessing the driest, most heavily bureaucratic, and most “behind the scenes” position on the VUWSA executive. What committee isn’t she a part of? What meetings doesn’t she attend? Probably none. Jacinta, a young Hillary Clinton who wouldn’t stand for Bill cheating, is responsible for the class rep handbook that all class reps receive, developing an online student guide that will be launched this trimester, representing students on the University Council, Academic Board, and Academic Committee, and making submissions to various institutions on academic matters. And through all this she seemingly retains an optimistic mindset and is forever commending others on their hard work. Jacinta is one of the most-boss exec members, she scrutinises detail, pores over budgets, and is ready to take on a fight with the university when their proposals threaten to make student’s lives harder—such as the recent proposal to remove three hour exams and shorten the exam periods of trimester one and two. How she’s managed to achieve so much in only 67 surplus hours (a standard working week at Salient) we will never know! Text us your secrets, xx.
Most student-politician-y statement: “It was an honour to see our student representative, PGSA rep, NT rep, PSC rep, myself, and the President sit at the table among academics and senior leadership team to illustrate the partnership we have with VUW.”
Overtime worked: 67 hours
Welfare Vice-President Rory Lenihan-Ikin
We tried, but it is difficult to be critical of Rory (a young James Shaw mixed with Nándor Tánczos). It is to Rory’s credit that he maintains a high level of exuberant chill while in this demanding role. The Welfare Vice President has arguably the most activist-y role of VUWSA, they advocate on behalf of students for financial support and welfare. This is well suited to Rory, who is probably the most outspoken and critical member of the executive. He has been organizing Stress Free Study Weeks, campaigning and lobbying for Fairer Fares and warmer homes, helping to compile a ‘Know your Rights’ student guide for flatting, working on sexual assault prevention policies with Equity Officer Chrissy, and recently working on the Student Friendly Local Body Election campaign, and heaps of other stuff including welfare strategy, student gardening, a bike repair workshop, and getting a late night dinner trial from Louis cafe. He has worked 331 hours of overtime and needs to chill, and identified his overworking as a weakness due to experiencing burn out (*cigarette emjoi* *leaf emoji*). As well as this, Rory gets so caught up in what he is working on that he neglects to include and update other exec members, which he needs to work on and maybe take a leaf out of Jonathan’s book.
Most student-politician-y statement: “In SFSW, we were able to serve approximately 3000 breakfasts and 4500 across three campuses. In addition, we served 500 curries for dinner at Kelburn thanks to partnership with an external company MTR. We built a more meaningful relationship with People’s Coffee which this year which will mean an increased commitment from them moving forward.”
Overtime worked: 331.25 hours
Engagement Vice President Nathaniel Manning
Nathaniel is the executive member who had the most to do with O-Week and re-O-Week events. Aside from organising each event, he is also responsible for orchestrating it and making sure all the volunteers they rope in to do their dirty work are still smiling. He also organized VUWSA’s participation in the Pride Parade, the University Challenge pub quiz team, and seems to just be helping out all over the show. He is definitely one of the more humble executive members, a real team player who does a lot of organisational work behind the scenes, and his successes play out during the events. He’s like Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation, he’s mostly just cheerful and stoked to be there. Nathaniel was interesting in getting Gaz involved in the O-Week line up, but ultimately they decided it didn’t quite fit the VUWSA brand. Nathaniel admits, in his report, that he is not the most efficient guy on the team, often not getting his documents for the meetings in on time. It’s obvious that he makes up with this in his enthusiasm. He definitely also organised the pizza for the executive meetings at the start of the year.
Most student-politician-y statement: He mostly speaks like a normal person.
Overtime worked: 68.25 hours