The second executive meeting of the year began with a discussion about a funding request from the charity ‘Heart Kids NZ’, which was swiftly shut down after Education Officer, Bryn Jenkins, noted that OUSA “should be giving to charities in the student interest”, something the other executive members all voiced their agreement with. Finance Officer Cody Kirby, proposed that OUSA then “actively looks for student interested charities” after being told of the $500 OUSA charity budget from Admin VP William Guy. President Hugh Baird told the executive that if they “know of any let me know.”
The meeting then moved on to the controversial Food Truck initiative that arguably sank the hopes of the ‘Your Voice’ presidential candidate, Lark Hare. Bryn Jenkins, one of the four ‘Your Voice’ candidates to be elected, told the executive that the four of them had a private meeting about the initiative and were initially hoping to either gain unanimous executive approval for the initiative or put the Food Truck to an OUSA referendum. However, Jenkins said that based on the fact that OUSA paid Deloitte’s a significant amount of money to produce an external report about investment opportunities last year. Jenkins explained that “it would be irresponsible [to continue with the food truck initiative] if it is likely that it will fail” Despite Jenkins commenting that he “still believes it is a good idea”, he informed the executive that the four of them are dropping the initiative altogether. Jenkins also went on to pledge that “private ‘Your Voice’ meetings will not happen again this year.”
With the Food Truck idea (finally) dead in the water, Jenkins went on to show progress of another plan to achieve their goal of “improving the safety of Dunedin’s streets at night.” He and Welfare Officer Danielle Pope spoke with the Proctor, Dave Scott, in order to attempt to “increase communication between the Proctor, Campus Watch, and students.” He went on to speak about ways to reduce OUSA’s financial reliance on the university by finding “other sources of income.”
Hugh Baird and Danielle Pope attended New Zealand Union of Students’ Association’s (NZUSA) national conference in Auckland at the end of January. In summarising the trip, Pope spoke about the fact there is no NZUSA women’s rights officer due to the small honorarium the position awards each year, which makes it a “totally undesirable” one. She stated she would be lobbying NZUSA to either fund it themselves or simply make it a less onerous position by making it more of a campaigns-focused role.
Baird informed the executive that NZUSA could soon be known as ‘Students Aotearoa’ for the simple reason that “students don’t know what they even do”, with Pope noting that many students apparently believe the association is “something to do with New Zealand’s relationship with the USA.” However, ‘Students Aotearoa’ would only be used for campaigning purposes if the change goes ahead, with NZUSA being the name used for discussion with local and central government. Jenkins voiced concerns about the change, as the attempt to prevent confusion by adopting a second title will simply bring about further confusion. He finished by recommending NZUSA “not persist long-term with two names”, to which all other executive members seemed to agree with.