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Paul Brown



Ever procrastinated? Silly question isn’t it, I’ve done exactly that with this article and I find myself wondering what to actually talk about. So I’m just going to rant, I’m going to rant on about reclaiming your bar and reclaiming your university.
With near twenty thousand students at Victoria it’s hard to believe there’s so little culture based around the University—what culture we do have often gets bashed. Take for example the sorority and the fraternity: many people I’ve spoken to have raised concerns about them based on the American model of a fraternity or sorority, but I know the presidents of both and they seem to have some good ideas. I simply want to give these groups a chance before I judge them; after all, they’ve got the opportunity to set a positive New Zealand model for similar university organisations. I myself have started BOOBS as a way of getting some form of activity happening around the university. It’s important to have active groups on campus so you can leave this university with more than a piece of parchment, but also with bonds of friendship that will last you a lifetime. We also learn leadership skills from these groups and interpersonal skills that we’ll be able to adapt to the real world.
So enough of that rambling, let me talk about student allowances and the poverty facing students around the country. On Wednesday 8 August the Education Action Group (EAG) has organised a protest to generate discussion about universal allowances and the current $150 payment to students. I’m discovering that many students struggle along with this payment and I’m not surprised, it is simply not enough to live on. Many students don’t work but concentrate on their studies full time and this is a good thing if you don’t have the ability to handle the stress that may come with work, study, and trying to balance a personal life. But they still have bills to pay and $150 doesn’t go very far at all, in fact it barely pays the rent if you’re flatting in a place around Wellington—so how the hell would can you make it stretch to pay for dinner? I guess the simple reality of it is that you must work nowadays in order to survive as a student. This has become a reality to me, seeing the sheer number of students who are struggling to study with costs overwhelming them. Every day we hand out food parcels at VUWSA and as routine we try and politely probe into the problems of the student. We do this to find out whether or not they’re enrolled in too many papers for them to cope, or if they’ve had some unexpected costs or they’re simply not earning enough. However, recently the common answer has been that students are struggling to earn enough to survive. For these reasons I’m going to take part in the box city protest.
So the Box City protest starts around 12pm in the quad with many groups already planning their boxes. Prizes will be awarded for best box, most environmentally sustainable box. The EAG also invite you to bring sleeping bags so it could be one grand sleep over with camp fire stories and all — sounds like fun to me! So come along, get a group together and design an outrageous cardboard box home. I’ve been working on mine.