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August 17, 2014 | by  | in News |
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VUWSA bios

Campaigns Officer

Nathaniel Manning

Kia ora koutou!

My name’s Nathaniel Manning, I’m an Economics, Public Policy and Development Studies student, and I’m running to be your Campaigns Officer for 2015. I am highly engaged and experienced politically, and hugely passionate about issues that affect students. I’d like to bring these two backgrounds together to lead campaigns to support Vic students.

2015 will be a unique year for this role as there will not be a Local Body or General Election. This will allow VUWSA to work with local and central government, and the University, to push for policies that will help students the most. I want to see progress towards increased support and services for students, while also organising for ongoing campaigns such as Fairer Fares and Rental Warranty of Fitness.

In my current role on the executive of two local branches of a political party, I can offer an in-depth understanding of campaign issues, and the necessary connections and organization skills to get an effective campaign off the ground. I am currently assisting in Electorate campaigns for candidates running for the General Election in September.

I firmly believe that student issues should be non-partisan issues, and appreciate the need for cooperation across the political spectrum to make positive change for students.

Vote Nathaniel for an engaged, experienced and passionate Campaigns Officer.

Ibrahim Salih
Unfortunately Ibrahim didn’t send his bio or photo in.

Clubs & Activities Officer

Theo Brown
I’m Theo and I’m running for the VUWSA Clubs and Activities Officer position this year. I’m a third year Philosophy and Computer Science student. Below are 3 main reasons why you should vote for me as your new Clubs & Activities Officer for 2015.

Organize training seminars to provide clubs executives with the experience and knowledge they need to make their clubs successful. Ensure that new clubs can get the help and advice they need to get off the ground and survive that first crucial year of development.

Faculty Games, these were a big success the last time they ran and I will seek to bring them back. Orientation Week, I will strive to help make O-Week as good as we can possibly make it. While I can’t make any sweeping promises until I know what the deal is, I vow to get the best acts and events which we can arrange.

I will ensure that the student voice is heard at higher level discussions and debates and make sure that decisions are made with the best interests of our clubs, societies and rep groups in mind. I will maintain an open door policy and will always be available if people need some help or guidance.

What qualifies me to be your Clubs and Activities Officer?
I am passionate about students having a good experience during their time at Vic. To me, this means making friends, meeting new people and doing awesome activities with those people.

I have been a committee member of the VUW Tramping Club for the last 2 years and a member of the Victoria Engineering Club executive this year. I sit on the VUWSA Clubs Council, helping allocate funds to the various clubs, societies and rep groups. So VOTE THEO for Clubs & Activities Officer – for an awesome

Rory McNamara
Hi my name is Rory and I want to be VUSWA’s next Clubs and Activities Officer. I believe Vic should be a community in which we all love to be a part of. We need to have pride in our University. If you elect me to Clubs officer I will work to foster an environment in the University to increase pride and unity here at Vic. We as students need a University where we enjoy what we do here not one that we simply go to class and leave again. Make our university a defining part of our lives so we can fully immerse ourselves in the University experience. One of the big ways to do that is by being part of a club with like-minded people. I will work to increase the number of clubs we have at Vic and furthermore strength our existing clubs. To help ensure us as students can have some fun here at University.

We need the students of Vic to wear our colours with pride, Victoria clothing needs to only be a cool thing for students to wear but also affordable for us. In my position I would look at the clothing items offered by Vic and improve them for the students at Vic.

Finally One of the most important things we need to remember to do at University is to have fun and enjoy our time here if you elect me to clubs officer I will help to make the university experience better for all students here at Vic.

Education Officer

Ellen Humphries
Hi everyone! My name is Ellen Humphries and I’m in my second year of studying Politics and Development Studies. I’m passionate about making our university experience the best it can possibly be. I have been class rep four times and it’s given me a small taste of how to represent students’ interests. However, the role is very limited and I would love this opportunity to make the student voice well heard and make tangible changes.

Our time at university is short, we should make the most of it. This means making learning a worthwhile and enjoyable experience rather than just sticking it out until we get our names on a piece of paper. As Education Officer I would achieve this by giving more power to the student voice and better advertising student support services.

Think of the worst three parts of your paper, course or degree… maybe a lecturer still using OHP’s from 15 years ago or a tutor who seems to hate their job. Now think of the best three things… could be a passionate lecturer or assignments that spike your interest. I want to be the voice highlighting your concerns and maximising the things that make you love uni.

My main goals as Education Officer are to build strong relationships and work closely with student rep groups to really understand what’s bothering you guys. I want to improve class rep training, strengthen their role and encourage lecturers to support them more. I also want to better inform the student body about various learning support services and any academic changes that happen.

As your Education Officer, I will be a dedicated, approachable and effective link between the average student and making beneficial changes for all of us.

Vote Ellen for Education Officer and take hold of your academic experience!

Equity Officer

Quan Nguyen
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Tēnā koutou! My name is Quan Nguyen (you can pronounce my name as Quan Nguin). And I am running for VUSWA Equity Officer 2015.

I am running for this election totally naked (meaning you do not see my plan for 2015 anywhere – so you and I can have an opportunity to work on it later.) I saw others running for VUSWA, they tried to appear as much as they can before the election, and they (kind of) disappear after being elected. It may be because they do not have time or they come in a wrong direction, do not mistake me, VUSWA has done lots of good deeds for us – students, but if you do not deliver your voters enough ‘personal touch’, losing them is quite inevitable.

But as an Equity Officer, I have the time and the right direction to get back that ‘personal touch’ trend. Firstly, coming to me, you will have a win-win game, because as a new face in this country, with culture shock to cope with, if you come to me and talk (about your issues or anything else), it also helps me adapting more to this culture. Secondly, I am currently doing a project named ‘Humans of Vic’, with the aim is to create a trusted platform to share stuffs among Vic students. Because I realized that it is not just about who comes to whom, but also we need to feel at ease when sharing stuffs.

I had practical experience in working with queer, women, disability and so many other groups back home when working for Enactus/SIFE. Being here, I continued to be an executive member of VUSWA International Student’s Representative Group.

Chennoah Walford
I’m a third year student studying toward an LLB and BA in International Relations and Politics. Primarily, though, I’m a people person – I’ve always found the most happiness in my relationships with others.
People should be represented by those they identify with wherever possible, and that true equity solutions can only come from the ground up. I don’t feel an Equity Officer can propose to represent the diverse group that is Vic Uni. There is just too much diversity for that. But then again, maybe I haven’t met that person yet!

Keeping this in mind, as Equity Officer I’d hope to act as a convergence point, helping groups across the university further connect with their communities, network with each other, and act as strong, visible voices for the people they represent.

Through my experience on boards, I have developed strategic skills which enable me to comfortably engage with governance issues and planning relating to large organisations. Though my experience as an activist, and my leadership of groups within and outside of Vic, I know I’d be a supportive member of VUWSA, and would have no difficulty engaging both as a team player, and a leader wherever I was needed.

It’s the job of the Equity Officer to deal with some really tough issues. Next year I will progress with empathy, honesty and openness, and actively engage with different groups, as well as individuals.


Rawinia Thompson
Kia ora! I’m Rawinia, and I’m really keen to be your President in 2015.

A bit about me: I’m a Wellington City gal born and bred, and I love this city so much that I’ve decided to make it my home while at university.
From day one, I got amongst everything university life had to offer. I played sports, sang in a choir, got involved with clubs, joined study groups, became interested in politics, hung out with friends in the Hub between classes, and went along to fun social events. I was meeting heaps of new people and having a fun and fulfilling university experience.

This is the kind of university experience I want for all of us.
Halfway through my first year, I was elected to the VUWSA Executive. I’ve been in VUWSA for a year now – from Education Officer in 2013, to Academic VP in 2014. Now, I’m keen to use my drive, vision, and all the skills and experience I’ve gained in my time on VUWSA to be President in 2015.

My priorities as President will be:

ENGAGEMENT: I’ve been out hanging out with everyday students around campus who don’t feel connected with VUWSA. I’ll lead a highly visible, relevant, responsive and engaging VUWSA. As President of your students’ association, I’ll make VUWSA a key part of your university life.

WELLBEING: Managing study, work, and personal life can be really tough. Adjusting to university life can be a challenge, and VUWSA should be there to provide the best advice and support for struggling or vulnerable students. A focus on wellbeing goes hand-in-hand with success, both academically and personally. I take student wellbeing very seriously, so you can count on me.

COMMUNITY: The University has promised a ‘student experience that is second to none.’ I’ll make sure they deliver. VUWSA should be at the heart of the student community, hosting fun events, better supporting clubs, and creating spaces where students can connect with each other. Let’s create a positive VUWSA community together!

I’m the person students need to lead VUWSA. I am open, honest, highly engaging, relatable, and fiercely loyal. Let’s make Vic the best Uni for students. Vote Rawinia for VUWSA President 2015!

Rick Zwaan
Kia ora, I’m Rick Zwaan, and I’ve been on VUWSA for the last couple of years as your Welfare Vice President. I’ve spearheaded the Fairer Fares campaign to get students discounts on public transport and next year I’ll work to make Vic and Wellington a place that truly values you.


I’ve driven campaigns to get Fairer Fares for students, worked on making our flats warmer, safer streets through Let Me Go Home, better pay for students through the living wage, and to save the 18 bus from being scrapped by the council.

Fairer Fares, Healthy Homes, Let Me Go Home, and a Living Wage are all things that at heart I know students deserve. It’s about making a tangible difference to the daily lives of students. Winning these campaigns will not be easy. I have the expertise and background necessary to make them happen.

As VUWSA President I want students to feel valued here and know that Wellington truly appreciates us.

Students deserve an incredible O’Week. In the past few years O’Week has been less than ideal, and as President I’ll provide an amazing week full of diverse activities that will help you get involved and have a great time at uni. It’s a priority for me that VUWSA is a hub of great events and activities that you really want to be involved in.


This sense of value should be evident the moment students get on campus. I’ve been heavily involved in a number of initiatives that support students in my time on VUWSA. I’ve worked on getting microwaves around campus, wellbeing campaigns, Stress Free Study Week, puppies on campus, and engaging in negotiations to keep our fees low.

Uni is stressful, I see students like me who are sleep deprived and unable to unwind due to work, home, and personal commitments. Creating nap rooms to chill out in, and having cheaper, healthy food available later at night are simple ways to show that Victoria is a place where we are valued.

Over the last few years Vic has slipped in a number of international rankings, while continuing to raise fees and cut courses. That’s not good enough. We need to have a coherent measure of academic quality, so we can be assured that we are getting value for money when fees rise.


It’s crucial that VUWSA remains independent and able to critique the university, so as President it will be a priority of mine to diversify VUWSA’s funding sources. This is also important in terms of the long term sustainability of VUWSA in creating a range of ways we can increase our funding and provide better services to students.

As students, we are what make Victoria great and I will ensure that I have your interests at heart in every cause I fight for. I will hold the university to account and make sure that students’ interest are driving the university at its core.

Rick Zwaan for President 2015.

Publications Committee Representative

Cameron Price
In my time as Salient co-editor this year I have got to know the student media scene at Vic pretty well. The Publications Committee (or as we call it, pubscomm) is the body that sets the course for student media, and it needs people with vision and experience. If elected to publications committee, I would focus on four main issues:
1. Student radio and SalientTV need equipment to provide more university content to students
2. The Salient website needs to adapt to include radio and TV elements so that it has more instant content
3. Advertising across platforms needs to increase so that Salient might become self-sufficient
4. Salient magazine needs to keep being fucking awesome.
Vote for me. Go on. I know my shit, and I’ll make sure student media isn’t.

Stella Blake-Kelly
Hello! I’m Stella, and I was one of the Salient Co-Editors last year. I’ve been involved with Salient since 2011, and I’m running for one of the two student positions on the Publications Committee next year.

Pubs Comm is the body that overseas student media at Vic—currently Salient and hopefully soon, the VBC. Ideally it would be a place where strategic long-term decisions should be made, and implemented to ensure students are getting bang for their buck. However these processes could do with a re vamp. The organisations need to justify their spending of student money much better, and make sure that they’re producing quality content that is accessible to all students.

Having been involved with Salient for several years, and working alongside VBC managers, I understand the challenges that student media faces and I think I have a pretty good idea of how to overcome them. As a student representative on Pubs Comm, I would ensure the Committee has a much more hands on approach, supporting Editors and VBC Manager to make sure the balance between financial sustainability and quality is met. This also means working closely with VUWSA to ensure that advertising revenue is maximized, so that less of your fees end up in the recycling.

So for a star on Pubs Comm, give one of your votes to Stella.


Jacinta Gulasekharam
Hi there! I am Jacinta running to be Treasurer-Secretary for VUWSA in 2015. This role ensures the VUWSA Executive are effective with administrative matters involving finance and paperwork. My goal is to increase efficiency and make certain relevant information is available for students to view.

I aim to handle this position with great VUWSA relations and financial understanding. It is important to continue the publication of VUWSA budgets and reports. I strive to benefit the VUWSA team and help them do what they do best – represent students and give you a fair go.

As a 1st year BCom student, I am aware of the initial challenges of university life and am not afraid to voice these concerns. One asset is my organisational skills that have served well on previous boards. I have been an active member on my high school council executive, Representative on the Board of Trustees, Youth Regional Council Ambassador and Youth Member of Parliament. These previous roles gave me the confidence and skillset to be an active part of the VUWSA executive. I am familiar with formal procedures and meeting protocols. I conduct myself in a professional manner and will conquer the administrative requirements. My time management and personal relations are expertise I wish to utilise with this role.

Financial Management is important for effective student body representation. I will scrutinise this to guarantee the VUWSA executive are accountable. I will work hard to go beyond the role’s requirement and perform constructively with VUWSA electives.

In my down time I enjoy going to the gym, drinking great coffee and shopping. As I am from little Feilding moving to Wellington has been a dream. Studying at Vic has been a long-term goal and the next is being in VUWSA. Help make this happen, vote Jacinta as your Treasurer-Secretary.

Vice-President (Academic)

Jonathan Gee
I’m Jono, and I’m running for VUWSA to be your academic voice! I’m a third year law, political science and public policy student. Below are my three key priorities and three reasons why you should vote for me as your 2015 Academic Vice President!

QUALITY EDUCATION: I’ll strive to ensure that Vic provides the best teaching and learning experience for you.
+ Holding Vic to account to ensure that the VUW Strategic Plan 2015-19 reflects YOUR academic experience in its quest to be a global ranking capital city university
+ Ensuring that programme reviews and proposed course changes are not just based on meeting the demands of the economy, but for you to learn and grow
+ Making university processes (such as grievances and aegrotats) better understood, so that you get the support you need

STUDENT REPRESENTATION: I’ll be your academic voice and I’ll listen to what you have to say.
+ Growing the newly-formed Student Academic Committee so that representative groups have a greater say on academic issues
+ Engaging class reps with the ‘bigger picture’, gauging their views on thematic academic issues within their school or faculty
+ Liaising with faculty delegates on a regular basis, to ensure that they are receiving the appropriate support to represent the students in their course of study

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: I want to build positive working relationships to ensure student voice is as effective as possible.
+ Building strong working relationships with staff across the university, so I better represent your interests when sitting around the decision table
+ Collaborating for a coordinated student voice with other representative groups such as Ngāi Tauira, the Pasifika Students’ Council and Post Graduate Students Association
+ Talking to YOU so I know what your academic issues are – my door is always open!

What qualifies me to be your Academic Vice President?

+ I’ve developed leadership skills and positive working relationships across the university in my role as Wellington Regional President of UN Youth New Zealand, serving on the VUWSA Clubs Council, and as a committee member for VUW’s inaugural Student Leadership Conference
+ I’m passionate about student voice and advocacy. I was an inaugural UNICEF NZ Youth Ambassador and was a former youth rep on my local council board, as well as serving as chair on my local youth council

Vote Jonathan Gee for Academic VP. Committed, hardworking and accessible – I’ll be your academic voice!

Vice-President (Engagement)

Toby Cooper
Hi there!

You can call me Toby, and I’m running to be your VUWSA Engagement Vice-President, so that I can continue the great work I’ve been doing this year as your VUWSA Clubs and Activities Officer.
My major accomplishments on VUWSA include:
Preparing and co-ordinating several club-stall events in the Hub, including last week’s Political Showcase featuring David Cunliffe; Working alongside Victoria University staff to co-ordinate several events, such as a Clubs Information Night and the Trimester Two Clubs Week; Providing hands-on support at events organised by VUW French Society, Feminist Law Society, Science Society, VUW Film Society, and more; Regularly meeting with individual clubs to introduce them to the resources available at Vic and to brainstorm event ideas and strategies; Going the extra mile by working over 30 hours to provide free breakfasts and lunches during Stress-Free Study Week; Continually going above-and-beyond the Clubs and Activities role to support VUWSA’s welfare and education services.

My vision for 2015 is to re-energise the student experience. I will achieve this by delivering on the following goals:
Running student events at Vic that encompass a wide range of interests, from sports tournaments and self-defence training to cooking classes and music sessions. Working closer with student groups, clubs, and halls of residence, so that you are kept in the loop about the goings-on of student life. Ensuring that student groups and clubs have greater access to use the Hub. Placing digital display screens in student areas around campus, which are exclusively for promoting clubs and student events. Developing more channels to gauge your views on what the student experience ought to be.

In reviewing the performance of the VUWSA Executive this year, Salient gave me an A+ grade and wrote:
“Cooper is super.”
“Toby has re-energised this job as Clubs and Activities Officer. He has maintained a constant presence, attending clubs events and sending regular emails to clubs about what is happening at Vic. Toby is always there to offer advice and support.”
“Perhaps what’s most impressive about Cooper is his constant enthusiasm and positivity. Every Executive needs an eager beaver who ignores the politics and gets stuck in to their role. Toby is that person.”
Vote for a VUWSA that delivers a wider student experience, responsive to your interests and needs!
Vote for a VUWSA with vibrancy and passion!
Vote Toby!

Ben Guerin

As your Engagement VP, I will dedicate myself to building a vibrant student community with opportunities for all to get involved – whether your thing is sports, theatre,  politics or socialising. I bring fresh ideas on how VUWSA can reach out to students, real experience in brand strategy, and a hard-working and reliable attitude


Organising & promoting events is a huge part of the Engagement role, whether it is an unforgettable O-Week gig or a heated political debate in the Hub. I will not only take responsibility for these kinds of events, but I want to take the lead on some new initiatives such as organising a ball that is open to students from all faculties.

I also intend to bring back the Faculty Games. This was an awesome event last year, with more than 200 students getting involved, but has been forgotten about in 2014.


Over the last 2 years I have worked as a digital media consultant for a number of businesses & non-profits. I want to use my skills in website building, graphic design and social media management to rejuvenate VUWSA’s online presence and make sure that it is easy to access the important information on what VUWSA can do for you.

The Engagement portfolio also needs somebody who is capable of managing external relationships with media, the Council, MP’s and other organisations such as NZUSA. Through my work experience I have extensive experience in managing relationships like this.


More than 2,000 students participated in this year’s budget simulator for the Student Services Levy. This proves that students care about where their money goes. I want to launch a platform where a portion of the Student Services Levy is allocated by students using a similar program to make sure that funding is going to what matters most to students.

We are not allowed to give away free food in Hub. The Engagement VP in 2013 identified this as an issue, but still nothing has been done. I pledge to personally address this issue and work towards making the Hub and other public spaces on campus a place for students to feel at home and not be constrained by commercial interests.

VUWSA needs to be accountable to students and take action on the things that matter to them. With your support I will be that voice on the 2015 Executive.

Vice-President (Welfare)

Madeleine Ashton-Martyn
Hi, I’m Madeleine Ashton-Martyn and I’m running to be your Welfare Vice President for 2015! Students matter and deserve to study happy, supported, and connected.

This year as Equity Officer I have learned an incredible amount about leadership, work ethic and what it means to be passionate about students. I spearheaded the Let Me Go Home campaign alongside the Women’s Group and Youth for UN Women, and worked to ensure Victoria’s student safety protocols are adequate. I’ve worked with CanDo, UniQ, the VUWSA International Students’ Representative Group, and the Women’s Group to support them and help make Victoria a better place for students they represent. I’ve been working with Student Health to create mechanisms of support for students who are struggling.

Within the Victoria community issues of student wellbeing are rife. 45% of students at Victoria are suffering from poor to very poor rates of wellbeing from lack of sleep, high stress, and lack of support and connectedness within the university. I will continue to work closely with Student Health and Counselling to make wellbeing a backbone of the university.

Welfare in Wellington
This support goes further than the University. For students to feel truly valued and be able to live without the added stress of financial burden and sub-par living conditions, Wellington as a city must commit to supporting students. Working to further the Let Me Go Home, Fairer Fares, Healthy Homes, and Living Wage campaigns, will impact this significantly. Students deserve to be able to walk home at night without fear, to catch cheap public transport, to live in warmer flats, and to get paid a wage they can live off. I have learned a lot this year about how to make those things happen and I’m excited to continue the work that I, and other members of VUWSA in the past two years have started.

It’s easy for students to feel isolated. I will work to foster mechanisms that make it easier to feel connected to other students, to Victoria, and to Wellington. VUWSA has a big part to play in this as well, I want VUWSA to be a space that you can come to when you’re feeling undervalued, to make your life easier, and to be a mechanism of connectedness.

Students are so important, and I want to work to improve their living conditions in tangible ways both on and off campus.

Wellbeing & Sustainability Officer

Rory Lenihan-Ikin
Kia ora, I’m Rory. With me as your Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer, you will get a hard working representative who is approachable, responsive, and reliable. Together with providing a voice for your ideas and concerns, I will work smartly on the right issues, with a clear focus on making real gains for students.

This role requires an unrelenting mindfulness of student needs. Our wellbeing is constantly under threat from the demands of student life. Low cost living and steep workloads are among our many everyday challenges, and I am committed to continuing and improving VUWSA led support for your wellbeing.

Wellbeing clearly extends beyond the here and now, and as we all know climate science has left no one guessing as to the direction of humanity if we allow to earth to continue warming as it is currently. On top of being our legislative responsibility, it is our moral responsibility as a University to be the conscience of society, and we have no choice but to be leaders toward more sustainable practice.

We are at University to invest in ourselves through education, and so to we must
ensure that the University is investing in us, by being a proponent of retaining an environment in which civilization is compatible. In this role, I will provide a strong student voice for sustainable practice within the University.

My desire is not to make an impression on this role by taking on a huge number of new projects; rather I see the need for continuity. In order to make real gains for students, the work of the incumbent officer on fairer fares for public transport and rental housing warrant of fitness requires a seamless transition in which new skills and energy are brought to the role, but progress is not lost.

Vote Rory Lenihan-Ikin
For real gains for students in 2015

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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