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Special General Meeting – Thursday 13 October

VUWSA is asking students to accept a proposal to remove the membership subscription (fee) for 2012, in light of the passing of the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Act 2011.

This will be followed by active consultation and research leading up to VUWSA’s 2012 Initial General Meeting, where VUWSA members will be asked to adopt a new Constitution. This will be a chance to re-evaluate and address this position.

Proposed Motion

THAT PART VII FINANCE S1 SUBSCRIPTIONS be amended to read: 

S1 Subscriptions

(1) There shall be no VUWSA membership fee.

And

 THAT PART I INTRODUCTION S6 MEMBERSHIP (1) STUDENT MEMBERSHIP (2) be amended to read:

(2) Eligible persons shall become members on application to the VUWSA Executive or in accordance with any other processes determined by the VUWSA Executive.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is VUWSA proposing a $0 VUWSA membership?

From 1 January 2012 VUWSA’s mandate and ability to represent students effectively, will be based on how many members it has.  Therefore, it’s important there are no financial barriers to joining VUWSA, particularly when students are not able to pay any membership fees with their student loans, unless they use the course related costs component.

It is also based on student consultation that showed students are more likely to join VUWSA if there is no fee (70%).

Furthermore, this proposal is based on the experience of the Auckland University Students’ Association when they went voluntary in 1999. They reduced their subscription to $30 and only achieved a membership of 3000 students out of a potential 30,000.

A few years later, they dropped to a $0 subscription and now achieve an approximate membership of 50% of students. Their mandate can be challenged at every step when they engage with the University and they survive because of their level of membership.

Why is the $0 Membership already being advertised on the University’s online enrolment form?

VUWSA have been in discussions with the University for some time around post VSM arrangements and how important services can be maintained. We have also had discussions internally about our potential membership model in the event of Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) being passed.

Unfortunately, there were two days between the passage of the VSM Act and when the University’s online enrolments for 2012 went ‘live’. This meant we had to include our membership information on the University’s enrolment forms.

Given this difficult situation VUWSA believed the right thing to do was to advertise the membership situation that was most likely to be the case and would be least injurious to VUWSA’s future.

Why did I have to pay a membership subscription (fee) in previous years – but next year it will be free?

Until now, VUWSA has relied on one levy – the VUWSA subscription paid by every student. Our survey results show that requiring students to pay for membership in cash at the start of the year would significantly undermine our core function – which is to provide a voice for students at VUW.

From 2012 we will be drawing on multiple courses of funding.

VUWSA has a long-term commitment from the VUWSA Trust to provide a substantial annual contribution to our operations, some commercial revenue sources and reserves which could appropriately be used during a transition period.

VUWSA has also been negotiating with the University over the funding of some services that students have identified as important. This is still in progress, and consultation with students over Student Services Levy funding will occur in the coming weeks.

How will VUWSA survive if no membership fee is collected from 2012?

From 2012 we will be drawing on multiple sources of funding.

VUWSA has a long-term commitment from the VUWSA Trust to provide a substantial annual contribution to our operations, some commercial revenue sources and reserves which could appropriately be used during a transition period.

VUWSA has also been negotiating with the University over the funding of some services that students have identified as important through the Student Services Levy. This funding is ring-fenced and governed jointly by students and Victoria. This is still in progress, and clearer details should be known in the coming weeks.

What value does VUWSA provide and why would I want to join?

VUWSA gives you a voice at Victoria and is an integral aspect of the University community.  Across the University on a daily basis VUWSA advocates for better education, adequate support, fair decision making and an outstanding student experience.   You will be joining one of the oldest and largest student organisations in the country.

We help you stay on track and to complete your studies; work in partnership with the University so you get a quality education, enhance your student experience; promote and support diversity and support you to play an active role in your communities.

Your membership of VUWSA will provide you some fantastic benefits. They include:

  • Access to exclusive discounts
  • Representation and advocacy
  • Free welcome packs, student diaries and wallplanners
  • Clubs and societies
  • Discounted tickets to Orientation and events throughout the year
  • Free food and drink around campus
  • And a whole lot more