For those lucky enough to attend university, the experience is often in their formative years. For me as an 18 year old from Upper Hutt, attending university was both an exciting and slightly daunting prospect. Its no secret that I had struggled through secondary school, and my grades by no means guaranteed me university entrance. But I wanted to go. My parents and most of my extended family had attended. And I had dreams of what I could do as a student political activist. So I studied hard, pushed myself and did my final school exams. On a family holiday, in Thames Coromandal in January 2001, I called the exam hotline and to find out my results.found out how I. When my family asked how I’d done I replied that I only got two C’s (the minimum for university entrance is 3 C’s). After a moments awkward silence I replied “and got three B’s.”
Fast forward 5 years to 2006. I’d been elected President of the Students’ Association, representing 20,000 student at my university as their association leader. I was managing roughly 30 staff, a million dollar budget, sitting on the university governance board and was the public face of the elected student executive.
Somewhere along the way I also gained a university degree.
My time as an undergraduate took me from being a long haired pimply teenager with an occasional tendency for cross dressing and a bogan rock obsession, to being a leader, a out the box thinker and a someone who had the courage of his convictions. From being turfed out of the labour party and engaging in more leftist politics, effigy and flag burnings, university registry occupations, mass anti war protests and even a couple of arrests (no charges), they were a colourful few years.
But university wasn’t just about being a political activist. I represented students on faculty boards and committees. I was a class representative supporting students having difficulties during their studies. In 2005 I ran the university foodbank, helping a number of students in serious financial need. I also helped organise a number of student orientation events, seeing a number of world class acts perform on campus (possibly even enjoying a beer or two with some of the performers).
The next few posts in the ‘why’ series of this blog are going to be about my time and university.
Below are some of the reports and items in Salient and other publications during my time at University, specifically while I was on the Students’ Association Executive:
2003: VUW students vote against invasion of Iraq
Student Representative Council (SRC), an explanation
Nick TV Interview: 2004 TV report on University Library Services
Handbook Diary Blurb: Welfare Vice President
President’s Column: Happy New Year
President’s Column: And we’re off
President’s Column: No more fees
Salient reports on ‘The Mighty Starlet’ getting clamped
President’s Column: Interesting Times
Salient report on Student Job Search being kicked out of the student union building
President’s Column: Where did all the protests go?
Salient report on constitutional changes
Salient Report: Student leaders speak for tenancy bill
President’s column: Freedom of press
Salient report on campus redevelopment
President’s Column: Should VUWSA be politically neutral
Salient report on me getting a haircut
President’s Column: Australs and Politics
President’s Column: 123 and a bit…
Media release: students suffer still
Salient Report: University blocked from raising fees by 10%
Salient report: University try by raise fees to 10% again
President’s Column: Survey’s and Blogs
President’s Column: Universal Truths
Fees debate – My view on users pays
Fees debate: Vice Chancellor Pat Walsh defends the university position
President’s Column: VUWSA Budget
Salient report on financial review
Salient report on student levy increase
President’s Column: The deed is done, nearly.
Salient: What is the right wing?
Salient report on student fees forum
President’s Column: Victories and Uncertainties
Salient report on fee increases
Salient report on executive turnover
President’s Column: I love student politics
Truce between university and VUWSA declared
President’s Column: VUWSA Presidency
Salient Mayoral election survey 2007
Open letter on VUWSA change proposal
Salient report on my (very brief) trespass from the university.
18 thoughts on “University and Student Politics”