OUSA Execrable | Issue 1

Unusual Positivity Overcomes OUSA Executive

2016 OUSA Campaigns Officer, Sean Gamble began the meeting by speaking about the Local Body Elections student engagement report. The aim of enrolling 5,000 students to vote was “bold” according to the report, and various experimental methods were employed to achieve the goal. For example, 2,000 letters were sent to addresses south of Albany Street, all containing language “emphasising the legal obligation to be correctly enrolled...and the potential fine you can incur if you fail to be correctly enrolled”; the other “focussed more on the potential for students to win prizes for handing their enrolment forms into the OUSA main desk.” When it came to assessing the effectiveness of the methods, Gamble admitted “we did not record where letters had been received from or how many were received in total, which was a large mistake on my part.” Despite this, the fact that 22% of respondents received a letter “appears to match up with how many letters were sent.” Praise was given from Admin VP William Guy on behalf of the other executive members, as well as from many other interested parties, such as Professor Janine Hayward and also the New Zealand Union of Student’s Associations. 

After thanking Gamble himself, President Hugh Baird then turned the discussion to choosing a charity in which the money raised as a result of the 2017 Capping Show will be given to. In the last three years the OUSA have chosen Rape Crisis, the Otago branch of the Cancer Society NZ, and most recently the Dunedin branch of St John. Baird proposed suicide prevention charity Life Matters because of the importance of mental wellbeing, with Colleges Officer James Heath commenting that this is would be “in line with student wellbeing as the purpose” of OUSA’s charitable contributions. No official decision has been made yet, though Baird stated that a decision was “needed soon.” The executive then approved the affiliations of the Bangladeshi Students’ Association, the Southern Youth Choir, and the Dunedin Underwater Hockey Club.  Lastly, Postgraduate Officer Lucy Northwood said she had been asked to join the National Council of Women (NCW), a group based in Wellington who strive to make New Zealand a gender equal society, in either an individual role or as an OUSA representative. William Guy asked whether she would report back to the executive, to which Northwood said she “could do if I’m on there as an OUSA representative.” She also noted that this could be an opportunity to establish a permanent OUSA position on the council. A motion was then passed to support Northwood in an official OUSA role on the NCW. 

This article first appeared in Issue 1, 2017.
Posted 11:03am Sunday 26th February 2017 by Joe Higham.