Rental failure: Budget 2017 gives students 33% pass rate

The National Government’s 2017 budget has ignored close to 70 per cent of New Zealand’s tertiary student population.

From April 1, 2018, the Government has announced an increase to the Accommodation Benefit of up to $20 a week, “to better reflect the cost of housing for students”.

What they haven’t said, is that this benefit is only available to the 33 per cent of students who qualify for a Student Allowance.

Parental income determines if students are able to get Student Allowance, and that threshold has not changed since 2012.

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association President Rory Lenihan-Ikin says while it’s called an increase, the majority of students will be left to struggle.

“There is roughly 400,000 tertiary students in New Zealand and this so-called budget ‘increase’ is set to benefit 41,000. The Government should not expect students to see this as a win.”

Wellington tertiary students are already feeling the pinch of increasing rental prices, but this budget essentially tells them if they have two parents who collectively earn more than $91,850.41 before tax, the Government can’t do anything to help, Lenihan-Ikin says.

“The issues we are already seeing in Auckland are quickly making their way down to Wellington and more and more you will students struggling to live, let alone study and qualify for jobs, if more isn’t done soon.”

VUWSA supports the NZ Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) call for a housing grant for all tertiary students - because the majority of students are struggling under the weight of rising living costs in university cities, he says.

“How bad does it have to get before Government realises forcing students to live in poverty is not the way to grow the future workforce of New Zealand?”

Kelburn Library UPDATE

We know it's never ideal to start your year at Vic with the main library of the university not being fully operational. 

BUT.... progress is being made. 

The VUW library staff have confirmed 18 computers are now up and running in TTK/Wan Solwara areas. Even more computers are onsite and will be installed in the near future. 

Level 0 is also well on the way to being completed this week. Staff are still cleaning the area but are confident it will be back up and running soon. 

The issues the Kelburn library is experiencing is of course, due to the recent large earthquake. All we can ask is that you be patient and bear with the VUW Library staff as they try and provide an appropriate study and research space for your first semester studies. 

If you feel as though this disruption is affecting you - come in and see us at VUWSA and we're happy to listen and try and find some solutions. 

But in more good news, the new Commerce Library at Pipitea campus opened last week. Let us know how you're finding it. 

 

Just a reminder the Kelburn library lifts are still not working. 

And the new opening hours are: 

- Monday to Friday: 8.00am to midnight (Victoria Info Ihonui service points will be open from 8.00am to 8.00pm)

- Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10.00am to 10.00pm (Victoria Info Ihonui service points will be open from 10.00am to 3pm)

 

Further information

If you have any questions please contact Victoria Info Ihonui staff on level 1 or 2 of the Hub or email [library@vuw.ac.nz].

Or if you’re not satisfied with the information you’re getting from the uni, contact VUWSA through our Facebook page, or through our Feedback/Complaints form here.

The Kelburn library has reopened - here's what you need to know:

On Monday morning (February 20) the Kelburn library reopened after being closed following the latest big earthquake. It has been deemed safe and good to go, but there are a few changes.

It’s not an ideal situation and VUWSA have been working with the university to make sure the changes are going to be manageable for students. If anything is unclear or you have concerns about the situation, come see us or get in contact and we’ll help where we can.

 

The lifts will not be working for some time: So if you’re looking for something on the sixth floor you’ll have to use the stairs.

-          There is a plan for staff and students with disabilities to still be able to access the library’s physical resources if they’re unable to use the stairs for any reason. You can find information on that here.

-          We know the last thing you want to do when you’re scrounging for essay sources is climb several flights of stairs so we’ll do our best to let you know when the lifts will be back in action.

-          The university has asked that you limit cellphone use on the stairwells as a safety precaution.

New opening hours: There are now new, extended opening hours in line with the other campus libraries.

These hours are:

·         Monday to Friday: 8.00am to midnight (Victoria Info Ihonui service points will be open from 8.00am to 8.00pm)

·         Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10.00am to 10.00pm (Victoria Info Ihonui service points will be open from 10.00am to 3pm)

These hours are for the entire year, apart from the University Christmas shutdown and Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

There are also electronic resources and digitised collections which are always available to students online.

Computer availability: There will be less computers available for students on Level 1 because a bunch have been set aside for staff who can’t use the stairs.

However more computers will be set up in the Hub and on Level 2 of the library, meaning there are the same number of total computers available in the library. This will be in place by the start of Trimester 1 on March 6.

Commerce Library: The Commerce Library, located at Rutherford House, will open on Wednesday, March 1, at 8.00am.

To make the move, the Commerce Library (currently in Railway West Wing) will be closed from 5.00pm on Monday 27 February.

Chill out space: If you want a comfortable space to take time out, relax, find regular support and connect with other students The Bubble is a great time out space. It is located on level 2, Student Union Building, and run by students. Come along, take a break and enjoy some of the activities available in this space.

Fees: The Library will continue to waive late fees up to the start of Trimester 1 on March 6.

 

Further information

If you have any questions please contact Victoria Info Ihonui staff on level 1 or 2 of the Hub or email [library@vuw.ac.nz].

Or if you’re not satisfied with the information you’re getting from the uni, contact VUWSA through our Facebook page, or through our Feedback/Complaints form here.

VUWSA asks regional councillors to support struggling students with tertiary discount on public transport.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) will vote next week on whether to review fares on public transport and consider a tertiary student discount – and Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) is urging them to vote yes.

Students have lobbied the regional council for years to see a tertiary student discount introduced, VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin says.

“If they continue to deny the need for a tertiary student discount, they will be denying thousands of students the access to a higher education because of the mounting costs which many New Zealanders will not be able to afford – including those already living within the Greater Wellington region.”

“Young people wanting to pursue higher education should not be looked at as freeloaders but they do need help to be able to afford living and studying in the capital,” he says.

There were countless stories from throughout the Wellington region of students forking out hundreds of dollars a week just to get to and from classes.

And with a student housing shortage looming in central Wellington , the logical solution would be encourage students to live further out – but that won’t be any more affordable if the GWRC doesn’t look at its fare structures for tertiary students, Lenihan-Ikin says.

“If this continues, students will look outside of Wellington to complete their studies and the capital will lose thousands of young, creative minds from their future workforce.”

The GWRC will vote on whether to approve a fare review at their full council meeting on March 2.

Out of the 14 Greater Wellington Regional councillors, the majority are eligible for the SuperGold card which entitles them to free transport around the region.

Which is why it’s difficult to take councillors’ arguments seriously about a discounted fare for tertiary students being somehow unfair to other users, Lenihan-Ikin says.

“And these are people who are paid salaries by the ratepayers,” he says.

“We acknowledge the SuperGold scheme is funded through the central government, but it is a good example of how discount schemes can increase patronage and make the region more accessible for everyone.”

“If public transport was made more affordable, more students would likely use it more regularly – rather than only when it’s unsafe or impractical to walk or bike between home and campus,” Lenihan-Ikin says.

As part of the Fairer Fares campaign, VUWSA is asking for a 50% discount for tertiary students on all Wellington buses and trains.

They will be making a presentation to the GWRC at their council meeting on Wednesday, February 22.

VUWSA warns Wellington is heading towards a student housing crisis.

The annual flat hunt for Wellington tertiary students has started earlier than ever but with growing student numbers and fewer affordable flats on the market students are getting desperate.

VUWSA president Rory Lenihan-Ikin says access to tertiary education is slowly getting closed off to those who can't afford the cost of living in Wellington.

“The mismatch between the cost of living and student support is beyond a joke. Getting a tertiary education is something increasingly only available for those whose parents can afford to fund them,” he says.

“We’ve had dozens of individual requests for flatting help over the last few weeks, and this is only the tip of iceberg.”

Students are now entering into bidding wars to secure flats, many of which are not in a liveable condition, he says.

“Students are simply desperate to secure something. Landlords and rental agents hold all the power, which is even forcing bidding wars between students.”

Despite the price of rentals going up about 10% in the last year, the quality remains abysmal, Lenihan-Ikin says.

“2017 will be another year of renters getting sick in cold, mouldy flats that they are paying an arm and a leg for, unless action is taking such as the introduction of a rental WOF.”

And on top of increased living costs students are racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, Lenihan-Ikin says.

If students are feeling pressured to sign leases for properties they think are unsafe to live in, we encourage them to come and talk to our advocacy service.

As a way to make the flat-finding process easier and hopefully avoid students being left out in the cold, VUWSA has created a list of five key tips to find and secure a suitable roof over your head.

We also have a guide to flatting which can be found on our website: http://www.vuwsa.org.nz/flatting-guide/

VUWSA welcomes election of student-friendly candidates

The Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) welcomes the election of student-friendly candidates to Wellington City Council and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

The majority of candidates (eight of the 13) elected to Wellington City Councilsigned VUWSA’s pledge for a compulsory rental warrant of fitness by 2019.

Six out of the 13 candidates elected to the Greater Wellington Regional signed VUWSA’s pledge for a 50 percent tertiary discount on public transport be included in Wellington’s 2017/18 Annual Plan.

‘We still have a bit more work to do before fairer fares and rental warrant of fitness become a reality,’ says VUWSA's President, Jonathan Gee.

‘The plan now is to target candidates who have not yet signed our pledge for fairer fares so that we can get it over the line. We’re just one short of a majority on the Regional Council, so we’re particularly keen to focus on Lower Hutt and Wairarapa where there are newly-elected councillors who have not yet signed our pledge.

‘A number of students live out in Lower Hutt and Wairarapa, so we want to tell these councillors that fairer fares will do a world of difference in enabling their student-constituents to succeed academically.’

Gee also congratulated Justin Lester on his mayoral win.

‘Justin is a strong student-friendly candidate. He has signed our pledge for a rental warrant of fitness, and plans to bring a local bill to Parliament to get it over the line. We look forward to working with him to progress this.’

VUWSA worked tirelessly to encourage strong student turnout in the elections, enrolling almost 600 students.

‘The postal voting system presented a massive hurdle do to the transient nature of the student population, but we are glad our efforts contributed to an overall increase in turnout in Wellington,’ says VUWSA's Welfare Vice President, Rory Lenihan-Ikin.

‘We wanted to make the student-friendly Wellington campaign as easy for students as possible. One of the issues that keep students from voting, is not knowing who to vote for.’

‘That’s why we contacted all candidates and asked them if they’d pledge to our student friendly policies. We also created the www.studentfriendlywellington.nz website, and are constantly updating who’s pledged for what, which made it easier for students to know who to vote for.’

We are pleased with voter-turnout, and hope the efforts we made helped encourage people to vote.’

Celebrating diversity with the inaugural Gold & Supreme Club Awards

Last night Victoria University of Wellington and Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) celebrated the Gold & Supreme Club Awards.

34 Gold Awards and five Supreme Club Awards were presented by Victoria’s Provost, Wendy Larner, and VUWSA’s President, Jonathan Gee, held at the university’s Kelburn campus in Wellington.

Rory McKenzie was awarded the 2016 Sovereign Gold Award.

In the past year, Rory has advocated and built a translation community at Victoria. Some of his achievements from this year include presenting at an International Translation Conference, creating three Victoria student internships and setting up a translation service with Victoria’s School of Languages and Cultures. Rory is currently studying a Master’s of Arts in Literary Translation Studies at Victoria.

Deon Teo, President of VUWSA International Students’ Association (V-ISA), was named 2016 Club President of the Year.

Deon has been influential organising events that have helped international students be more active members of the university community. A noticeable leader in enhancing the student-experience, Deon has worked tirelessly developing relationships and networks that support the club. Deon is also a well-respected leader of VUWSA’s Clubs Council.

Misfits Club was awarded the 2016 New Club of the Year.

Newly formed Misfits implements and maintains a safe and creative environment for Victoria students and the local community. With trained peer-support leaders, Misfits provides members struggling with mental illness a creative outlet through art. Misfits were involved in VUWSA’s ArtsWeek and Wellington Zinefest.

STUDiO was awarded the 2016 Faculty Students’ Association of the Year.

Based at Te Aro campus, STUDiO exists to enhance the lives of students studying Architecture and Design. From providing free bread to one-on-one mentoring and scores of free social events throughout the year, STUDiO offers its members support.

Ignite Consultants was awarded the 2016 Small Supreme Club of the Year.

A charitable organisation, Ignite Consultants aims to build strategic partnerships with other not-for-profits. Student-members are mentored by select Victoria University staff and Wellington business people. Ignite provides student-members the unique opportunity to engage with the local community in a professional capacity.

Victoria Muslim Students’ Association (VicMuslims) was awarded the 2016 Supreme Club of the Year.

VicMuslims welcomes and caters to Victoria’s Muslim students. As well as organising events for members, VicMuslims manages initiatives that enhance the lives of Victoria’s students, such as Stress Free snack-packs during exam weeks, food days and cultural sessions with community groups.

‘It was an honour to be a part of the university’s first Gold & Supreme Club Awards,’ says Victoria’s Provost, Professor Wendy Larner.

‘There is enormous talent at Victoria across a range of artistic and cultural fields; and it was wonderful to acknowledge some of the students who are excelling in these areas.

‘In doing so, we recognise their talents, hard work and dedication to their chosen artistic or cultural activity, all the while maintaining their studies.’

VUWSA’s President, Jonathan Gee, commended the recipients of the Gold & Supreme Club Award winners for their hard work and dedication.

‘I’m very proud to work in partnership with Victoria recognising our diversity and cultural achievements, says Gee.

‘The accomplishments of the award recipients demonstrate the immense personal growth they have experienced on their journey to success. It shows they know university is not just about good grades, but getting out there and pursuing your passion.

'Having a ceremony that celebrates cultural achievements is something that VUWSA has been working on for years, but it was really Tori Sellwood that pushed the importance of the awards with the University.

‘I feel strongly that culture and clubs should be celebrated. The students involved contribute a lot to the university community and deserve recognition for their achievements,’ says Tori Sellwood, VUWSA’s Clubs & Activities Officer.

In addition to celebrating the cultural achievements, the Gold & Supreme Club Awards provides recognition to the many volunteers who give their time to clubs across the university.

‘The University has over 150 clubs. Clubs really are the backbone of an exceptional student experience, and without them and the people who manage them and volunteer their time, we wouldn’t have the rich opportunities that make up our diverse community,’ says Sellwood.

‘The amount of time and effort involved and volunteered across the university definitely merits formal recognition by the University.’

The Gold Awards were awarded for cultural and artistic achievements; and five Supreme Club Awards were presented: Supreme Club of the Year, Small Supreme Club of the Year, New Club of the Year, Faculty Students’ Association of the Year, and Club President of the Year.

2016 Gold Awards were presented to:

Adam Sowman for Barbershop

Adiraj Gupta for Business Case Competition

Andrew Lee for Barbershop

Brad Olsen for Queen’s Young Leader

Claris Jacobs for Candle Wasters

Daniel Gagau for Hip Hop World Championships

Daniel Medyckyj-Scott for Barbershop

David Williams for Youth Choir

Eddy Johnsen for Barbershop

Eleanor McGechie for Youth Choir

Ella Caunter for Hip Hop World Championships

Elsie Bollinger for Candle Wasters

Eve Bain for Client Interviewing

Fayez Shahbaz for Client Interviewing

Garth Norman for Youth Choir

Hana Morris for Hip Hop World Championships

Jack Baker for Barbershop

James Warren for Business Case Competition

Jared Lee for Barbershop

Josh Ellery for Barbershop

Kiriwera Nepia-Su’a for Matatini

Liam Dennis for Business Case Competition

Liam Whitney for Barbershop

Luka Venter for Youth Choir

Minnie Finlayson for Candle Wasters

Oliver Fetherston for Youth Choir

Rory McKenzie for International Italian Translation (2016 Sovereign Gold Award winner)

Ruby Meagher for Debating Adjudicator

Sally Haywood for Youth Choir

Sam Coad for Barbershop

Sean Leach for Hip Hop World Championships

Tim Taylor for Barbershop

William Dean for Barbershop

William King for Youth Choir

 2016 Supreme Club Awards were presented to:

2016 Club President of the Year: Deon Teo, V-ISA

2016 New Club of the Year: Misfits Club

2016 Faculty of the Year: STUDiO

2016 Small Supreme Club of the Year: Ignite Consultants

2016 Supreme Club of the Year 2016: VicMuslims Club

ENDS

Students choose VUWSA’s 2017 Executive

At the end of every year, in Trimester 2, Victoria University of Wellington students choose who the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) executive will be for the next year.  

This year’s no different.

As year’s progress, the new executive stand on the shoulders of those elected before them; feel a sense of pride knowing the Association they represent is now even older – and that they’ll contribute to its history. They’ll help make Victoria’s students’ lives better.

This year’s executive are no different, and neither will the executive of 2017.

Every year the executive adapt to new environments, knowing what was needed back in 1899 when the Association first opened its doors, is different from what’s needed today.

‘This year’s executive and I went into the year with big plans, and built a stronger, more engaged Association,’ says Jonathan Gee, VUWSA’s 2016 President.

‘We also set the tone of the Association for the next five years by finalising a Strategic Plan – reaffirming that the reason we exist is to get the best deal for students.’

As one of the oldest and largest student Association’s in New Zealand, VUWSA’s ideology of students helping students has stood the test of time.

‘Being a VUWSA executive is a big responsibility. I’d like to congratulate the newly-elected 2017 Executive. You will very soon be representing thousands of students, and I know from experience this is a very fulfilling thing.’

The 2017 executive are:

Rory Lenihan-Ikin

President

1,901 votes

 

Isabella Lenihan-Ikin

Academic Vice President

2,173 votes

 

Anya Maule

Welfare Vice President

2,938 votes

 

Nathaniel Manning

Engagement Vice President

1,606 votes

 

 

George Grainger

Treasurer/Secretary

2,973 votes

 

Raven Maeder

Campaigns Officer

3,161 votes

 

Marlon Drake

Clubs and Activities Officer

2,016 votes

 

Beth Paterson

Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer

2,042 votes

 

Lauren Daroux Grieg

Education Officer

3,110 votes

 

Tamatha Paul

Equity Officer

2,070 votes

 

Zac Klavs

Student Media Committee Representative

1,358 votes

 

Robbie Coutts

Student Media Committee Representative

1,265 votes

 

ENDS

Victoria celebrates highest level of sporting success

Last night Victoria University of Wellington and Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) celebrated the Victoria University Blues Awards, the highest recognition the university can give to people who have, by their sporting achievements or contribution to sport, brought credit to the university.

59 Blues Awards were presented by Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford, and VUWSA’s President, Jonathan Gee, held at the university’s Kelburn campus in Wellington.

Kyle Pontifex was named the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year.

Kyle is completing a Master’s of Business Administration at Victoria. In the past year Kyle has represented New Zealand in the Black Sticks – New Zealand’s Hockey team – as part of the Oceania Cup, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and various home tests. Kyle was also a crucial member of the Capital National Hockey League Men’s team in the winning 2015 season; and is a current member in the Capital National Hockey League Men’s 2016 team.

Joanah Ngan-Woo was awarded the 2016 Pasifika Sportsperson of the Year.

Joanah is a recent Samoa representative in the Manu Sina women’s Sevens team and New Zealand representative at the World University Sevens Tournament. Currently completing a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria, Joanah plays for the Oriental Rongotai Rugby Club and is a member of the Wellington Women’s Pride Rugby team.

Wanaka Noanoa was awarded the 2016 Māori Sportsperson of the Year.

Currently studying a Bachelor of Law and Commerce at Victoria, in the past year Wanaka has been a representative of the Wellington Under 19 Softball team and the New Zealand Under 19 Junior White Sox Softball team. She also coaches netball, and her tribal affiliation is Ngāti Porou.

Brook Walker was named the 2016 Sports Administrator of the Year.

Brook, Victoria’s Rowing Club Captain, is completing a Bachelor of Economics and Finance at Victoria. She has been instrumental in the rebrand of the club, and is one of the three lead coaches for the Wellington College Rowing Club programme and the lead coach of the Wellington College Rowing Club’s junior squad. Brooke has completed two Rowing New Zealand coaching modules, and is the sole University and Tertiary Sport New Zealand Student-Athlete Commission, Victoria University representative.

Professor Guilford commended all the recipients of Blues Awards for their dedication and success.

‘Last night’s recipients have joined an exclusive club of Victoria Blues Award winners, which includes All Blacks Graham Mourie, Victor Vito and Conrad Smith; All White Simon Elliott; World Mountain Running Champ Kate McIlroy; Hockey Black Stick Suzie Muirhead; and of course our Olympians—Ian Ferguson, Natasha Hind, Matthew Coad, Richard Joyce, and our newest Olympians—Emma Robinson, who swam in the Summer Games at Rio, and sprinter Liam Malone.’

Gee says VUWSA is very proud to work in partnership with Victoria to recognise our top athletes.

‘These awards give us the opportunity to acknowledge students who have achieved outstanding sporting success through hard-work and dedication, while successfully balancing their academic responsibilities of assignments, tutorials, labs and lectures.

‘Their ability to balance degree-level study with outstanding performance in sports is an incredible achievement.’

Blues Awards’ winners were chosen by representatives from Victoria University, VUWSA and Sport New Zealand. The Blues Panel selected winners based on how well they met strict Blues Awards criteria across each category.

The guest speaker for the evening was U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, Mark Gilbert – a former major-league baseball player, turned businessperson, turned diplomat.

2016 Blues Awards were presented to:

Adam Burrows for Futsal

Aleksa Djorovic for Handball (Administration)

Alex Brodie for Futsal

Brook Walker for Rowing (Administration)

Cameron Webber for Futsal

Clark Samuel for Underwater Hockey

Daniel Davis for Ultimate

Elizabeth Goulden for Rugby

Eva Weatherall for Ultimate

Finn Stenner-Corbishley for Futsal

Grace Seeley for Hockey and Cross Triathlon

Hamish Thornton for Ultimate

Harriet McFetridge for Hockey

Jack Gilpin for Rowing

Jacob Matson for Athletics

James Preston for Athletics

Jess Fair for Small-bore Rifle Shooting

Jess Kerr for Cricket

Joanah Ngan-Woo for Rugby

Kiriwera Nepia-Su’a for Indoor Netball

Kyle Pontifex for Hockey

Li Yeoh for Ultimate

Maddie Palmer for Rowing (Administration)

Maddy Nash for debating

Maddy Nash for Debating (Administration)

Madeleine Aiken for Underwater hockey

Madeleine Hazleton for Handball

Madeleine Stephen for Handball

Matthew Davies for Lacrosse

Max Brown for Sprint Kayaking

Max Ruffell for Hockey

Monique Dalley for Handball

Nathan Oakley for Rowing

Navin Patel for Cricket

Nick Bielby for Ultimate

Ollie Logan for Hockey

Oscar Battell-Wallace for Debating (Administration)

Qais Fawzi for Futsal

Richard Boag for Rugby (Administration)

Richard Kay for Underwater Hockey

Rosemary Cockle for Cricket

Ross Little for Small-bore Rifle Shooting

Royden Smith for Futsal

Ruby Meagher for Debating (Administration)

Ryan Hunt for Mountain biking

Satch Pryor for Rugby League

Sauimoana Solia for Rugby

Shingo Ina for Futsal

Sian Moffitt for Rock Climbing

Sophia Johnston for Volleyball

Tai Barham for Futsal

Tamara Jenkin for Debating (Administration)

Thomas Curtis for Ultimate

Thomas Withnall for Futsal

Tristan Gregory-Hunt for Rowing

Tyler Titov-Smith for Ultimate

Vincent McQueen for Ultimate

Wai Ling Chan for Fencing

Wanaka Noanoa for Softball

 ENDS

Students welcome mayoral candidates’ stance on a student-friendly Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) and VUW Politics Students’ Society welcomes mayoral candidates to debate on how they’ll improve Wellington living conditions for students, if elected.

Mayoral candidates, Andy Foster, Helene Ritchie, Jo Coughlan, Justin Lester, Nick Leggett and Nicola Young, will take the stage at Victoria University of Wellington in Kelburn on Wednesday 14 September at 1pm in The Hub.

They’ll be put on the spot and asked to answer how they plan to support a student friendly Wellington, how they’ll implement their campaign promises and how they’ll ensure a student-friendly Wellington over the next three years.

‘With over 40,000 students in Wellington, students’ make-up a large proportion of Wellington’s population, contributing around $2 billion to the local economy each year,’ says VUWSA’s President, Jonathan Gee.

‘This will be a great opportunity for candidates to discuss how they’ll support students, and the steps they’ll take to ensure the student voice is represented at the decision-making table.’

With the student population being as high as it is, students have more power to vote and push issues over the line than they realise. The health of our democracy relies on votes across demographics.

‘Often student issues aren’t the first things on mayoral candidates’ lips. This debate will be a welcome exception,’ says VUW Politics Students’ Society President, Lars Thompson.

‘When candidates engage with students it gets the message across that they care about our votes. It shows that our votes matter. It provides us with motivation to engage with the process, and the information necessary to do so in a meaningful way.’

Over the past two months VUWSA has pushed their Student Friendly Wellington campaign in the lead up to the local body elections.

This campaign focuses on two main improvements: Fairer Fares, a 50 percent tertiary discount on public transport; and a Rental Warrant of Fitness, standards which would ensure that all rental properties are warm, safe and dry before they become someone’s home.

‘Our councils need to step up and take action for the ghastly living realities of many of our students,’ says VUWSA’s Welfare Vice President, Rory Lenihan-Ikin.

‘Students also need to stand together and vote for the candidates that will make this city student friendly.

‘As all the attending mayoral candidates have signed a pledge to introduce a Rental Warrant of Fitness in Wellington, we look forward to hearing them reaffirm their support, talk about how they plan to implement.’  

The Mayoral Debate will be hosted by RadioNZ local government reporter, Michael Cropp.

VUWSA invited all Wellington mayoral candidates to this event. 

Nominations open for the inaugural Gold & Supreme Club Awards

Now open to receiving nominations, the Gold & Supreme Club Award is the highest recognition Victoria University bestows upon students who have demonstrated leadership and success across cultural activities and clubs.

Two award-types, the Gold and the Supreme Club Awards are presented in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) and Victoria University of Wellington.

The Gold Awards recognises students' cultural achievements while successfully progressing academic studies; and the Supreme Club Awards recognises clubs performance within the university community.

‘Until this year, Victoria was the only university left in the country that didn’t recognise outstanding clubs and cultural activities. If Victoria is to present itself as having a student experience second to none, then it must celebrate and support our 150-plus clubs on campus,’ says Jonathan Gee, VUWSA’s President.

Recognising the cultural successes and clubs across the university was something VUWSA discussed in the past, but it was VUWSA’s Clubs & Activities Officer, Tori Sellwood, who pushed the event over the line with the university, and made action.

‘I feel strongly that culture and clubs should be celebrated. We have exceptionally talented students at Victoria that excel in many different spheres, and it’s important to recognise their hard work,’ says Sellwood.

In addition to celebrating the cultural achievements, the Gold & Supreme Club Awards will recognise the many volunteers who give their time to clubs across the university.

‘The university has over 150 clubs that really enrich the student experience and provide students with practical, lifelong skills that can’t be learnt in the lecture theatre,’ says Sellwood.

‘Clubs are a foundation of the university community and the amount of time and effort involved and volunteered by students’ calls for celebration.’

In addition to having a select number of Gold Awards to give out for cultural and artistic performances, five Club Awards will be given out: Supreme Club of the Year, Small Supreme Club of the Year, New Club of the Year, Faculty Students’ Association of the Year, and Club President of the Year.

Students can nominate themselves for a Gold Award or their club for a Supreme Club Award. Those entering the Gold & Supreme Club Awards must meet the criteria for the award applied for.

Those who enter the Gold & Supreme Club Awards will receive an email after the nomination closing date of Friday 9 September at 5pm.

Successful candidates will then be invited along with two guests of their choice to the Gold & Supreme Club Awards ceremony on Thursday 6 October at Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn campus.

For more information about the Awards and to apply, visit www.vuwsa.org.nz/gold-awards

 

 

 

 

 

Applications open for VUWSA’s executive elections

VUWSA is calling for aspiring leaders and those passionate about student life at Victoria to run in the upcoming executive elections.

Nominations for candidates wishing to stand in the 2017 executive opened today at 9am; and nominations close Monday 12 September at 4.30pm. 

VUWSA President, Jonathan Gee, says anyone wishing to stand as a candidate in the VUWSA executive should get their nominations in now.

‘We have an incredible pool of talent at Victoria University – dedicated students who are already leaders in their own right at Victoria, and in Wellington,’ Gee says.  

‘Standing for the VUWSA executive is a great way to build your leadership skills and make a difference for students at Victoria and in Wellington. We encourage students to come forward now.’

Gee encourages those interested in running to look at the recently launched Strategic Plan 2017-2021, which paints a picture of the future of VUWSA and student voice.

‘VUWSA exists to get the best deal for students. We’re hoping to achieve this in the next five years in a number of ways, including by pushing for a student friendly Wellington.’

As a capital-city students’ association, we should be a leading voice on student issues both within the university and in wider society. We’ve already started this through our campaign for a rental Warrant of Fitness and tertiary discount on public transport for the upcoming local body elections.'

‘Providing Victoria Students and VUWSA members with a choice of candidates is vital. We also hope a pool of high-quality and passionate candidates will drive more students to vote this year.’

VUWSA’s online voting website will go live Tuesday 20 September at 9am and close Thursday 22 September at 4.30pm.

The Association will also hold polling days at Pipitea, Te Aro and Kelburn.

For more information on standing as a candidate, or key dates and locations, visit, www.vuwsa.org.nz/elections.

 

 

 

 

VUWSA puts arts and culture on Victoria’s social canvas

Yesterday, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) announced its first-ever ArtsWeek.

With a week-long line-up of more than a dozen – mostly free – events, including a film scoring workshop, hip hop dance class, stand-up comedy workshop, theatre, art tour, and visual arts, there’s something for almost everyone.

‘We’re excited about ArtsWeek. It’s a great week to support and celebrate student arts and culture, and to create awareness around the successes of our musicians, writers, artists and performers,’ says Jonathan Gee, VUWSA’s President.

‘ArtsWeek not only highlights the incredible talent and cultural diversity in our communities, but it provides opportunities for students to experiment, learn and participate in the arts.’

With the university’s own New Zealand School of Music, Recreation Centre, Victoria clubs; Adam Art Gallery and local businesses such as, Bats Theatre, VKs Comedy & Blues Bar involved, participants can get a feel for the diverse selection of artistic and cultural events the university and city have to offer.  

‘Victoria University is home to so much of our city’s arts, culture and music – a lot of it is at the core of student life. It was an obvious decision to dedicate a week to celebrating it all,’ says Nathaniel Manning, VUWSA’s Engagement Vice President.

But there’s more to it for VUWSA than just creating a week-long line-up of artistic and cultural events – as much fun as it is. Creating ArtsWeek is part of their larger strategy of putting culture on the university’s diverse social canvas.

‘We’ve been focusing on how we can give more recognition across the university to arts and culture. That’s why we organised ArtsWeek, in addition to organising a new awards ceremony, the Gold and Supreme Club Awards, that acknowledges cultural successes too,’ says Manning.

For years Victoria University has celebrated top sporting successes from the university’s athletes through the Blues Awards. However, until this year, Victoria was the only university left in the country that did not acknowledge cultural successes.

‘The Gold and Supreme Club Awards will align Victoria University with the other universities around the country. It will recognise the cultural successes that students at the university participate in,’ advises Manning.

‘Along with recognising cultural successes through the Gold Awards, we’ll also be recognising some of the amazing clubs we have on campus through the Supreme Club Awards; with nearly 150 clubs on campus they are core to the student experience.’

VUWSA will be accepting nominations through their website for the Gold and Supreme Club Awards from Monday 22 August.

For more information about the Gold and Supreme Club Awards, email communications@vuwsa.org.nz

To see the entire ArtsWeek event line up, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1192018304171308/

There’s power in numbers: VUWSA encourages thousands to enrol

For years Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) has pushed on two main issues Fairer Fares and a Rental Warrant of Fitness – among other student-related issues.

And on Monday 18 July VUWSA centralised these issues as part of a powerful campaign, Student Friendly Wellington.

‘Our Student Friendly Wellington campaign is about creating real change in the lives of students,’ says VUWSA’s President, Jonathan Gee.

‘We’ve had a lot of students saying our commitments are common sense. For them to succeed at Victoria, they need a Rental Warrant of Fitness so their flats don’t make them sick, and a 50% tertiary discount on public transport so they can afford the bus to class.’

Since the campaign launch, VUWSA has worked tirelessly encouraging students to enrol in the upcoming elections.

‘We wanted to make the Student Friendly Wellington campaign as easy for students as possible. One of the issues that keep students from voting, is not knowing who to vote for,’ says Rory Lenihan-Ikin, VUWSA’s Welfare Vice President. 

‘That’s why we contacted all candidates and asked them if they’d pledge to our student friendly policies. We also created the www.studentfriendlywellington.nz website, and are constantly updating who’s pledged for what – making it easier for students to know who to vote for.’

That’s not all that VUWSA have done to encourage students to vote though. They’ve advertised several times in Salient, Victoria’s student magazine; plastered posters around Kelburn, Pipitea and Te Aro campuses; dedicated sections in their monthly e-newsletter; visited several halls of residence and various lectures; organised for enrolment form drop-off points at Kelburn and Te Aro campuses; organised candidates to talk at a Fairer Fares Forum this Wednesday 10 August at 1pm in The Hub, and a Mayoral Debate in September. 

‘We’re passionate about getting the word out there to students. Before the enrolment deadline we will have contacted 2,500 students from seven Victoria halls encouraging them to enrol. It's really important that everyone who is eligible to vote must be correctly enrolled at their current address so that their vote will count, says Lenihan-Ikin.

The 40,000 students in Wellington have more power to vote than they realise. If even a small portion of the students voted, we could push these issues over the line and really make some improvements for students.

With enrolments closing 12 August, VUWSA has been connecting with students and student groups as part of their strategy of making voting easy. For more information on enrolments visit www.elections.org.nz.

Join VUWSA at their AGM and Fairer Fares Forum where they’ll be asking candidates to discuss their stance on student-friendly public transport fares this Wednesday 10 August at 1pm in The Hub, Victoria University, Kelburn.

 

Students tell the tertiary sector to respond to industry trends

On Saturday 23 July, Jacinta Gulasekharam, Academic Vice President from Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) outlined why students desire an equitable approach to education at Voices from Tertiary Education, a two-day symposium organised by the Tertiary Education Union.

Gulasekharam summarised key findings from a recent Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) student consultation where students gave feedback on how innovation could be integrated into tertiary education.

The main findings from Gulasekharam’s consultation was that Victoria students valued diversity, but felt that increasing the number of international students to meet budgetary targets was blurring the purpose of delivering higher education.

‘Tertiary institutions have enrolment and degree completion targets. However, what we found through our student consultation was that tertiary institutions were increasing their international enrolments to reach targets; but this was putting pressure on the overall quality of services and resourcing for services crucial to the student experience,’ says Gulasekharam, VUWSA’s Academic Vice President.

Additional findings from Gulasekharam’s student consultation found that students felt more emphasis should be made on increasing soft skills, and ensuring that industry was included in informing the tertiary sector’s curriculum.

‘The tertiary world is continually evolving to keep up with a rapidly changing working world. Tertiary institutions must keep up with technological developments, trends in globalisation and sector-graduate demands so that when students graduate, their degrees are relevant to the sectors where they gain employment,’ says Gulasekharam.

Neglecting to keep up with these trends creates problems in students’ lives as tertiary education must provide students with the ability to adapt to the changing nature of the work environment. To combat this, tertiary providers needs to work together, not compete, to collaboratively improve the equity of opportunity within tertiary education.’

Another round of student consultation after the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report in September will help shape the direction of what students believe is the New Model of Tertiary Education.

VUWSA will include VUW students in further consultation regarding the future of tertiary education, which will inform the Productivity Commission’s final report due to release February 2017.


Notice of proposed amendment to the Executive Membership Statute

At the Executive meeting on the 22nd of July 2016 the VUWSA Executive passed a resolution proposing an amendment to the Executive Membership Statute.

As per Part IX, Section 3, Clause 4(a) of the VUWSA Constitution, this is notice the proposed change be made:

Clause 2.2(b) be changed to read "Four quarterly reports;"

Any feedback on this proposed amendment can be submitted to associationsecretary@vuwsa.org.nz and will be circulated to the Executive prior to the next Executive meeting where a confirming resolution will be voted upon.

A Student Friendly Wellington helps students thrive

Today, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) launched the Student Friendly Wellington website, as part of their Student Friendly Wellington campaign – an initiative that will help make Wellington a place where students thrive, not just survive.

The Student Friendly Wellington campaign focuses on improving two issues: Decreasing the cost of student public transport fares with Fairer Fares, so tertiary fares are the same as high school students; and introducing a comprehensive Rental Warrant of Fitness so Wellington flats are warm, safe and dry.   

‘With so many students living below the poverty line, we are in great need of a substantial change in Wellington and in New Zealand. We’re calling on council candidates to commit to student-friendly policies in the September local body elections,’ says Jonathan Gee, VUWSA’s President.

‘Wellington students currently pay more for public transport than students in any other major city in the country. For Wellington to continue to grow and prosper, it needs to remain affordable,’ says Rory Lenihan-Ikin, VUWSA’s Welfare Vice President.

‘Having tertiary bus fares and a Rental Warrant of Fitness would be a huge win for Wellington in becoming a truly student-friendly city, and would align us with other major cities around the world with student fares.’

‘Students pay thousands of dollars on education and help the sector contribute $2 billion to the Wellington economy. Yet, the majority of us can’t afford the bus to get to class and live in cold, damp, mouldy flats,’ says Gee.

The Student Friendly Wellington campaign asks candidates from each council to make a pledge regarding the two issues and: implement Fairer Fares and Rental Warrant of Fitness. Those who pledge will be published on www.studentfriendlywellington.nz to help students make an informed vote.

‘Wellington has roughly 40,000 students. If a quarter of the students voted, collectively, we could swing an election,’ says Gee.

‘This might sound out of reach, but it truly is not. With around 7,500 votes needed to win a seat on the Regional Council, and only 2,500 for a seat on the City Council, students can show we’re an important voice in this city.

stude

Nominations open for 2016 VUW Blues Awards

Now open to receiving nominations, the Victoria University Blues Award is the highest recognition the university gives to people who have, by their sporting achievement or contribution to sport, brought credit to Victoria University.

The Blues are presented in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) and Victoria University of Wellington.

Students can self-nominate or nominate another Victoria student across high performing athletes for Sports or Administrator Awards. Those entering the Blues must meet the criteria for the award applied for.

‘These awards give us the opportunity to acknowledge students who have achieved outstanding sporting success through hard-work and dedication, while successfully balancing their academic responsibilities of assignments, tutorials, labs and lectures, says Jonathan Gee, President of VUWSA.

‘Their ability to balance degree-level study with outstanding performance in sports is an incredible achievement.’

In 2015 over fifty students received Blues and top performers received additional recognition for Sportsperson of the Year; Sports Administrator of the Year; Pasifika Sportsperson of the Year; Māori Sportspersons of the Year; Blue Award for Sport. 

Victoria University recognised previous students, Conrad Smith and Victor Vito, who later played for the All Blacks. Institutions throughout New Zealand award hundreds of students each year with Blues – the highest sporting accolade an institution can give to students.

Those who enter the Victoria University Blues will receive an email after the nomination closing date of Friday 5 August 2016.

Successful candidates will then be invited along with two guests of their choice to the Blues ceremony on Wednesday 21 September at Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn campus. 

Click here to apply now!

Ease exam stress – get your cuddle fix!

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) is easing the bite of trimester one exams with doses of animal love amidst a jam-packed schedule of de-stressing activities.

Students are lapping up the chance to spend time with SPCA puppies across each of the three campuses: Kelburn, Pipitea and Te Aro. Additionally, The Kitten Inn will be bringing furry felines to Kelburn for the first time.

‘Study Week is a stressful time and we’re here to make it a little bit better’, says VUWSA President Jonathan Gee.

‘Students get the chance to unwind from the stress of exams for a while and have some playtime with the cutest animals. Animals de-stress you, and everyone’s talking about the importance of having animals in times of stress.

‘Some students will have had to forfeit hours at work, and therefore income, to devote time to study and to do their exams. Many will be trying to study in cold, damp flats that are not so nice to be in.’

In addition to having puppies and cats, VUWSA has organised a huge amount of activities, including breakfast and lunches across each of the three campuses. For breakfast, students can expect cereal, toast and Peoples Coffee; and for lunch, delicious Hare Krishna curry with rice. And for the first time in Stress Free Study Week history, VUWSA has organised free curry nights compliments of MTR Foods for two nights at Kelburn campus.

‘We’ve got everything on offer! Free coffee, muesli and curry to eat. We have puppies and kittens to play with, meditation workshops and exercise classes,’ says Rory Lenihan-Ikin, VUWSA’s Welfare Vice President.

‘During the week we serve around 8,000 meals across three campuses. That is a lot of students with full bellies that can focus on study without having to head home to cold flats to cook.

‘In the future we hope to feed students three nutritious meals every day during study week. It’s great to have MTR Foods on board this year who have donated enough curries to serve dinner on two nights. We hope to have them and other companies on board next trimester so we can do this every night.’

For VUWSA it’s not just students’ well-being during study week that VUWSA care about though. It is students’ well-being throughout their entire university experience. From students’ financial well-being pushing for a tertiary discount on public transport, to study well-being pushing for extended library hours and a more equitable approach in getting assignment extensions.

‘Student well-being is a priority for VUWSA, especially considering that student hardship is a harsh reality for many students. Many students take time out from full-time jobs to complete degrees and often sacrifice a break in earning income for education. We are hopeful the education will pay off; but while students take this break they often live below or along the poverty line,’ says Gee.

‘We’ve made some positive progress improving students’ well-being though. Along with Stress Free Study Week, we’ve pushed for more funding in Student Health and Counselling, received a commitment from the Regional Council for a 25% tertiary discount on public transport, and worked alongside the University to build a well being campaign and The Bubble.’

Many organisations based at Victoria University, such as CanDo, The Science Society and the Victoria University Recreation Centre have also jumped onboard providing creative play, cramming sessions, and gold-coin entry fitness sessions.  

For the full line up of Stress Free Study Week activities: www.vuwsa.org.nz/sfsw