Interview: Ruby Sycamore-Smith, OUSA President 2014
What are your priorities as President this year?
My number one priority is providing the ultimate student experience. Iím focusing this year on trying to communicate with as many students as I can and make sure they know about OUSA, what we can do for them, and how we can help them in their educational career.
To that end, how are you different from past Presidents?
Iím not Asian or male, and Iím not from the South Island, either. I would like to think that I am different because I want to really uplift and support the clubs; I think thatís a great way for students to get involved in OUSA. University is a really important time for you as a young person to really grow and become the type of adult that you want to be. By providing more leadership, I think weíre equipping students with lifelong skills that theyíre going to be using forever.
I want to inform the students about the changes that they can make in their New Zealand society, but Iím probably not as invested in politics as Francisco [Hernandez Ė last yearís President] was, and Iím probably not as grimy as Logan [Edgar Ė 2012 President].
Well, in terms of politics Ė even if youíre not as politically invested as Fran Ė what are the biggest issues currently facing students?
Student loans and allowances, and one that I hold quite close to my heart is focusing on internships for students. I think that itís really important for students to realise that they have different avenues that they can start investigating into. And businesses, too, can give back to the community by providing internships for students; once you get students into the business, theyíre going to be loyal and stay there. I think this kind of approach is what New Zealand is missing at the moment. Thereís no real loyalty shown towards students. As a society, weíre doing just enough, but I think we could definitely do a lot more. Weíre the future leaders.
And in a wider political view, how do you envision tackling the upcoming election?
Number one is to make sure that students just get out there and vote. I really want to see a huge pull in the numbers; I think we need to focus on how we make elections exciting. At the moment, everyone seems to have the mindset that ďbecause Iím studying right now, what the government is doing doesnít relate to me; it doesnít have any importance.Ē We need to change that mindset. We only get an election every three years; this is our one chance to really make a change, and to really see the New Zealand that we want by making sure that weíre involved. Education is key!
Well, educationís what weíre here for. Complete change of tack: whatís been your highlight of Orientation?
I met a Highlander. I told him he was really beautiful!
Oh, what was his name?
He was really cool and we just bonded! He was really excited about Six60 Ė thatís the highlight of his O-Week Ė but nah, for me, itís just really exciting to see the students enjoying it. I think thatís such an amazing foot for OUSA to stand on, just getting the students excited, because it is the studentsí association and I just want to make sure that theyíre happy all the time.
Thinking realistically, how many scandals will there be on your watch?
I donít know. Being part of OUSA is all about having fun! Some people think itís scandal, some people think itís fun. Itís all about how you define it! Theyíre blurred lines.
Thereís going to be no sex in the Presidentís office! Thatís something thatís also going to be different.
Thatís not really a change! Anyway, shoot, shag or marry: Ryan, Nali and Nick?
[Laughs manically] Oh my God, I donít want to do this!
Iíd marry Nali, because thatís legal now. Iíd root Ryan because heís the only straight one, then shoot myself and let Nali and Nick live on!
I feel like whatever I pick, theyíll be upset. Iíll fuck them all and then Iíll kill them all!
I like that you skipped marriage Ė Iím not sure if polygamy has technically been legalised.
I do like to have a bit of every cake, you know? Maybe I would kill Ryan because heís been in Thailand all this time Ö
So heís had plenty enough sex?
Yeah! Heís probably married a Taiwanese woman.
[Laughs] Alright, and then I think Iíd fuck Nick to see if I could change him.
The issue is that Iím not star compatible with any of them, which is why I really need to weigh up the pros and cons.