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July 23, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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VUWSA Presidential Address

I hope you all had a great first week back and are now settling back into University life. Last week, amongst trying to find you new lecture rooms and buying textbooks, you would have received an email from the University asking you to participate in a survey on the 2013 Student Services Levy.

The Student Services Levy is a compulsory levy that all students studying at Victoria have to pay. It covers a wide range of services including Student Health, Counselling, Vic Careers and the Recreation Centre, just to name a few. This year, funds from the Student Services Levy have also funded, or help to fund, many of the services provided by VUWSA such as Salient, the Food Bank and clubs support.

The Levy is reviewed annual and adjusted as necessary to ensure that services are appropriately funded. An important part
of this review is consulting with students. According to a Ministerial Directive, which was announced last year, all institutions must consult with students regarding the setting of the Student Services Levy. While some institutions such as Vic had been consulting with students previous to this announcement, it highlights how important student input is in deciding the provision of services available to students while they are studying.

VUWSA has been helping to ensure that students have a strong say on the SSL through membership on ACSSL, the committee that recommends to the Vice Chancellor the level at which the Levy should be set. ACSSL is also responsible for running the student review of the Levy and reviewing the services currently funded, either in whole or in part, by the Levy.

To help provide students with more information about the sorts of services and activities the Levy funds, and to provide information about current and future costs, ACSSL has put together two documents to help inform your feedback for the 2013 Levy Survey.

The 2012/2013 Plan provides a breakdown of where the SSL has been spent in 2012 and provides a broad outline of what services have been provided for with this money.

The 2013 Consultation document provides some detailed information surround costs and increases expected for 2013, to help you make a more informed opinion when offering feedback on the Levy.

All feedback is due by the 31st July—so make sure you check your email inbox to find links to the above documents and the online survey. It’s your money, so it’s important that you have your say!

Finally, after several months of work the Governance Review Working Party will be presenting their final report and recommendations to the VUWSA Executive this week for acceptance and to be put on the agenda on the VUWSA Annual General Meeting, which will be held at the end of next month.

The Working Party has looked at all areas of the VUWSA Governance Structure and has provided a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening VUWSA’s governance structures and empowering members and students. The recommendations will include some substantial changes, in particular to the VUWSA Executive composition, so make sure you have a look at the Final Report and if you have any questions you will be able to chat with the Governance Review Working Party at one of their review forums (see next week’s column for more details).

The Report will be available to members and students early next week from the VUWSA Kelburn Office and you will also be able to download it from the VUWSA website.

All the best for the week and I hope to see you at some of the awesome Pride Week events that UniQ have organised.

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