President's Update – April 2016

Kia ora everyone! I Hope the first few weeks of Trimester 1 have treated you well. The Executive have almost reached their first 100 days where we have been hard at work getting a better deal for you.

At our Initial General Meeting earlier this week, I had the chance to talk about what your students’ association will be doing for you in 2016, and what we’ve already done to work towards our goals. 2016 for us is about engagement, talking to you more so that we can represent you as best we can.

Some key examples this month include going into halls to chat to first years about how things are going, talking to Wellington mayoral candidates about why students are an important part of this city and meeting with key student leaders around the campuses to see how we can best support them in their work.  

Here’s a snapshot of our plan for 2016:

The next ‘chapter’ of VUWSA

This year, VUWSA is at a crossroads. Our 2011-2015 Strategic Plan has now expired and we are now moving into the next chapter of VUWSA. Over the last five years we have been in the preparation stage in order to move into the Voluntary Student Membership environment. The 2016 Executive has now been tasked with crafting a plan for the next five years. We’ve decided to delay the launch of our Strategic Plan until 2017. The reason for this ‘gap year’ is to ensure we get the process right and have a conversation with you as our members about what you think the next chapter of VUWSA should be. We want to know how we can get the best deal for you.

A Student-Friendly Wellington

With the local body elections coming up, we will be campaigning for council candidates to champion student-friendly policies. We’re a significant part of Wellington city, and VUWSA will be working hard to ensure that your voice is heard in who leads this city.

Over the last few months I’ve met with the three declared mayoral candidates, Celia Wade-Brown, Justin Lester and Nicola Young, and will be meeting with those who have recently declared to tell them that we want a student-friendly Wellington city. Rory (VUWSA’s Welfare VP) and I also met with Byron Oosthuizen, the Vic student who started the petition for student bus fares, and talked about how we can make a tertiary discount a key priority in the election.

I’ve also spoken out to defend our reputation in the media around student behaviour in halls. What has been reported on is a misrepresentation of the vast majority of you who actually contribute really positively to this city. Read some of our media here.

Stronger Student Voice

We want to build our engagement with you. You might have noticed a few changes this year, such as producing a regular monthly newsletter, a new office at Pipitea campus, and being the student voice in the media – this is all so that we can have more opportunities to connect with you and represent your needs as best we can.

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a meet and greet with student leaders from student faculty societies and student representative groups, in order to get to know each other and build greater connections for a stronger student voice. I’m keen to build on those relationships so that all your student representatives are standing side by side on the issues that matter to you.

That’s our plan for 2016 and we’ve started as we mean to go on. What do you think about this plan? What more can we be doing for you? Let me know – I’m always keen to hear from you!

Noho ora mai,

Jonathan Gee
P: 04 463 6986
M: 021 207 4132
T: @JonathanPWGee