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What the hell do we actually do at VUWSA?

Paul Brown



The Reverend Paul Danger Brown sits down and tries to think for the first time in his life.
Well, the break’s over and there’s a lot that’s happened since you’ve been gone! In fact, Heleyni Pratley the Vice-President of Welfare has resigned and I have been co-opted by the executive to replace her for the rest of the year. This co-option has happened so that there is continuity throughout the year.
Anyway, I was asked the other day what we actually do at VUWSA, and I don’t feel I did us justice in answering it. On the welfare side, we:
* Sit in on the hardship committee at Student Finance
* Give out food parcels to needy students (just come see us, ground floor, Union Building)
* Provide free bread on Wednesdays and Fridays
* Produce useful materials like the safe sex guide
* Provide the Campus Angels service
* Will also be organising stress-free breakfasts
* Campaign on Welfare issues
* Support representative groups
So this is obviously all very important stuff, and I have a budget for welfare activities. But that’s not where it ends – we’re advocates for students as well.
People like Sandra Crews and Joel Cosgrove are also in key positions for Student Education representation. The Education team, which I am still a part of:
* Works with the class rep system
* Liaises with faculties through delegates and reps
* Produces the student guide and other useful resources
* Provides feedback on courses to Victoria University
* Mediates for students where need be (e.g., plagiarism cases)
There’s so much more that we do, I’m sure, but I’m having a mind block right now after a long weekend working. Oh, yes – we also work on environmental issues, women’s rights and queer rights, through three positions created by students at our Annual General Meetings. VUWSA also facilitates clubs, offering them funding through affiliation, and the grants process. VUWSA offers support to clubs dealing with the university in order to help them strive and survive. Throughout the year we also organise many activities such as bands, quiz nights, orientation and re-orientation. Just last Friday, we had Odessa playing the quad for Study@Vic Day, with 3000 sausages cooked for students investigating Victoria University. This was a fantastic chance for clubs and representative groups to show off their stuff as well.
So that’s a very basic breakdown of what we do here at VUWSA and, while I’ve forgotten things like campaigns against fee rises and producing dairies and calendars, I’m sure by now you realise we actually do quite a bit! Speaking of which, Victoria is looking at rising fees by another 10 per cent. While some of you may be of the attitude of “Who cares, it’s all interest free”.
you should ask yourselves just how much longer it’s going to take for you to pay off. What is it going to stop you from buying in the future? And why is the university trying to raise your fees when its services are overrun and it runs a massive surplus?
So think about that for a while, and contact our campaigns officer Tai via e-mail at: campaigns@vuwsa.org.nz
My office hours are:
Monday 11am-3pm
Tuesday 12am-4pm
Wednesday 11am-4pm
Thursday 11am-3pm
Friday 9am-1pm
Campus Coaches at Vic
Student Services are looking for Campus Coaches to help new students at Victoria adjust to university life. This is a fantastic opportunity to add something to your CV that displays leadership skills. As a Campus Coach, you will be buddied to a small group of students and guide them through orientation and a minimum of the first three weeks of Trimester One.
So, what are they looking for? Well, they’re looking for students who can commit to the service. These people should have strong communication skills, with energy and enthusiasm for team work – not to mention great organisation skills.
To find out more and/or request an application pack, drop into Student Learning Support Service, Level 0, Kirk Wing, off the Hunter Courtyard to pick up an information sheet and Application Form. Alternatively, email campus-coaches@vuw.ac.nz. But be quick, because applications close on 28 September 2007.