Having never really been engaged in student politics before, this year has been a new experience and learning curve for me. The Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer role, as a member of the Welfare Team, is a diverse one as it covers two large areas: mental and physical wellbeing and environmental sustainability, two things which I am passionate about.
My key focus at the start of the year was to increase accessibility to healthy, sustainable food options for students in two ways. I have aided the VUW Food Co-operative, which had its beginnings in 2014 and which provides wholesale price organic dried goods, to increase its membership, product variety, and frequency. The Food Co-op now has monthly pack-outs in all three trimesters, and a three-page product list!
My other focus was looking at establishing a community garden on campus, a space that provided not just fresh, organic vegetables, but also a beautiful and relaxing space where students can hang out in the sun and have their lunch (Wellington weather permitting..!) The preliminaries have been carried out, and the garden will be constructed over the summer in time for students starting classes.
I have learned this year that there is so much more to the role and to VUWSA. Some of the things I am proud of this year are working alongside the Welfare Vice-President and the Community Justice Project to create a ‘Know Your Rights’ flatting guide. Another accomplishment was working with the university and the Wellington City Council to bring a deal of half-priced rubbish bags, which proved to be a huge hit with students. VUWSA is also a proud supporter of the Living Wage Aotearoa Movement. I have had the pleasure of sitting on the Wellington Local Board, and working with them to increase awareness of the movement for students at Vic via the Living Wage at Vic group. One of the events we hosted on campus was the successful Living Wage pub quiz at the Hunter Lounge.
It has been an action-packed year on VUWSA and I am looking forward to working on more initiatives that help students as your Welfare Vice-President in 2017!
Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer