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Thank you, and goodbye.
Wow, so here we are. The last week of Trimester Two. Congratulations on making it to this point. University life isn’t easy and no doubt you’ve experienced ups and downs this year. I’m sure you’ve grown to be a better person for it.
For me, I’ve reached the final leg as VUWSA President and I can’t help but reminisce. I expected this year to be hard, but not this bloody hard. It’s been one hell of a year and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved.
Here are some highlights:
1) Launching the next chapter of VUWSA
You approved our Strategic Plan 2017-2021 at this year’s AGM. We reaffirmed that we exist to get the best deal for students and we’re well on track to advancing our goals.
2) Creating a student friendly Wellington
A turnout of over 300 at our Mayoral Debate, getting students enrolled to vote, and committing numerous council candidates to Fairer Fares and Rental WOF—we’ve set the groundwork for a student-friendly Wellington.
3) Building a stronger Association
Securing $50,000 to fund our budgeted deficit, opening our Pipitea office, gaining the highest voter turnout in VUWSA election history—we’ve grown this year and have become stronger for it.
4) Engaging more with students
Introducing a monthly newsletter, teaming up with UniQ and V-ISA to put queer support and international student support on the university’s agenda, partnering with VicCom to grow our Pipitea engagement—we’ve reached out to countless students this year.
One of the hardest things you learn about VUWSA is that the biggest things take more than a year. You do what you can, then pass the mantle onto the next executive. For this, I dedicate my first thank you to my beautiful 2016 executive. You’ve poured your heart and soul into this year. It’s been an immense joy to work with such passionate individuals.
Our successes have also been, in no small part, due to the support of our dedicated staff and volunteers. Thank you for your commitment, patience, and graciousness in lending a hand when it’s inevitably needed.
There are so many student leaders and representatives to thank. Ngāi Tauira, Pasifika Students’ Council, VUWLSS, VicCom, Science Society, STUDIO, PolSoc, UniQ, CanDo, Women’s Group, V-ISA, club leaders, faculty delegates, class reps—student life would not be the same without you. It’s when I have worked alongside you that I’ve really felt the strength of student voice.
I want to acknowledge some of my colleagues at Victoria. I say colleagues because while we have disagreements, I’m heartened to see VUWSA valued as partners by many university leaders. Thank you to Grant and the Senior Leadership Team for your attentiveness and respect when I’ve raised student-issues this year. To Pam Thorburn, Jenny Bentley, and your respective teams at Student Academic Services and Campus Services for your openness to changing things to improve the lives of students at Victoria. To Allison Kirkman, Chris Eichbaum, and the lively members of Academic Committee for the many laughs, “robust” discussion, and support over the last two years.
Honourable mentions go firstly to Emma, Jayne, and the Salient team—thank you for going above and beyond. To Fleur and the VUWSA Trust for all your guidance and support. To Juliet and the Vic Books team for my daily caffeine fix. To Timothy Grigg, Darel Hall, Jackie Anderson, Gerard Hoffman, and Eve Bain for all your personal support to me this year.
Finally (I promise this is my last thank you lol), I want to thank YOU, the student. My job doesn’t exist without you. Thank you for making my 2016 so, unbelievably, worth it.