It’s Another International Officer! Again!
You might remember flexing your democratic muscles at the end of last semester. The results are in, with all questions put forward by OUSA in its annual referendum being passed with healthy majorities and a newly minted International Officer joining the OUSA executive.
Third year Pharmacy student Yee Min Chua (Min) defeated the ever-present threat of No Confidence with 120 votes to 25. Min was previously involved in planning international student events through the International Student Council, and is already throwing herself into helping to organise the upcoming Cultural Night and International Food Festival. Min says that so far she has found everyone on the executive “really helpful and supportive”.
While parts of the referenda must be asked each year by the exec to fulfil their legal obligations (Critic is fairly sure that no one cares if PriceWaterhouseCoopers are reappointed as auditors for the Otago University Students’ Association for 2012), other questions seem to have provided OUSA with a mandate to lobby on some of the more vexing issues of our time on behalf of the student body.
There was strong support for motions that OUSA oppose the proposed DCC liquor ban, and that OUSA maintain its independent voice in the face of the new funding agreement with the University. It was also passed once again that OUSA should oppose the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Act 2011 (better known as VSM), and that the Association should continue to seek a return to universal student membership.
Of more interest was the passing of the question submitted by student group Generation Zero that OUSA should “actively support prioritising the transition to a carbon neutral University”. This was the first time that OUSA has been formally asked to contemplate such an issue.
Edgar was particularly happy that Generation Zero pushed for a question to be included, as he believes that it increased the overall response rate. Said Edgar, “We’re in the process of putting a new heating system into Clubs and Socs, so we’re going to make sure it’s energy efficient. And our energy consultant is going to give us a carbon footprint for OUSA so we know what we’re working with. It’s good to get groups like [Gen Zero] involved, motivated, doing what they love, and getting students out and voting.”