The Exec Did Stuff and Wrote About It, Now Read About Us Reading About It

The Exec Did Stuff and Wrote About It, Now Read About Us Reading About It

A bureaucratic nightmare of 32,211 words

Nobody set the minimum page count of the Exec’s second quarterly reports of 2021 at seven pages, but they chose to write that much, anyway. We read through all of them to let you know who’s doing what. Points were given exclusively for brevity, because that’s the only thing we can appreciate at this point in the year. It’s not that this stuff isn’t important, it’s just long and filled with acronyms. Haha words go brrrr.

1. Melissa Lama, President of the University of Otago Pacific Islands Students’ Association (UOPISA), 2,004 words. Vibe: Rise and grind

Melissa has been doing a tonne of shit. It seems she has been doing the work of ten residential representatives networking with stakeholders and maintaining relationships with literally everyone. She also has been working with St Kilda Tongan Methodist Church elders to break down “intergenerational barriers surrounding communication” which sounds like teaching them how to use iPads or something. Overall, it sounds like Melissa has been a champion this quarter and produced a report that summed that up nicely. 

2. Jack Saunders, Residential Representative, 2,148 words. Vibe: Futility

Jack has desperately been trying to educate the freshers about flatting and their “rights” under the “Healthy Homes Standards.” His aim is to empower the freshers through education, which is perhaps a little misguided. The only education relevant to the Dunedin flatting market is teaching the freshers to accept getting fucked over by landlords as they clamour over each other for the few habitable flats in North Dunedin. Jacks boasts of his constructive relationship with the Proctor, yet regrets that the President seems to be stealing his air-time over trivial matters such as rubbish fines. He lists one of his goals as making sure that the Halls get consistent “cuttlefish” visits, but I don’t understand what he’s on about. Oh, cuddle-fix. Nevermind, got it. Overall, Jack seems to be spending most of his time making dumplings and forming committees that rarely meet.

3. Mhairi Mackenzie Everitt, Political Rep, 2,421 words. Vibe: Not stoked

Mhairi’s big wins this quarter included a 150-meter “you can’t shame people for having abortions” zone around the hospital, a submission in support of the Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Bill, and a referendum meeting which no students attended. She wasn’t very optimistic about the Submissions Committee, though, citing “concerns about its longevity” and its “varying success”. Not to name names, but she said that “many members” did not give her their availability until the last minute, which made it difficult to organise. She found her role “difficult to manage in terms of managing my time commitment”.

4. Michael Evans, Academic Rep, 2,422 words. Vibe: Saucy

Michael Evans has been a busy man this quarter. He’s embedded disabled student and international student representation through the Academic Committee’s Terms of Reference. He claims he’s “enjoyed engaging with the subject matter of meetings”. He has been building “close working relationships” with many people. He has a “communicative relationship” with none other than the President of OUSA, and he even went so far as covering for Michaela on a “weekend work jaunt” with several colleagues. Other noteworthy acquaintances include frequent “liaising” with the Class Representatives Coordinator and regular “meeting” with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic. Michael has failed to undertake his five volunteer hours this quarter, perhaps due to these frequent diversions.

5. Sophie Barham, Postgraduate Students’ Rep, 2,490 words. Vibe: Black coffee, oat milk

Sophie spent the quarter bringing postgrads together and looking out for their representation. She helped plan and run the Postgrad Mix ’n Mingle and Games Night, as well as a fully-attended writing retreat. She seemed very positive about the progress made and about her plans for the next semester. Future plans include the Three Minute Thesis competition, in case postgrads weren't already under enough pressure, and the Graduate Research Symposium. Supervisor of the Year awards continue to be under works. She attended all Board of Graduate Studies meetings and supported the proposal from Te Roopu Māori to have a Māori student rep on the board. She also fought to get money for hardship-stricken postgraduates through the Pūtea Tautoko hardship fund.

6. Geraldi Ryan, International Rep, 2,499 words. Vibe: Mr Worldwide

Geraldi worked with the Otago International Students Association to host heaps of events, including the Queer Movie Night and the OISA Mix & Mingle. He’s working to connect with our overseas international students and trying to find a way to get as many as possible over the border. He’s helping to plan the International Culture Expo, and helped with the Myanmar demonstrations. He also wants to organize a “Human Library” with OUSA Queer Support Co-Ordinator Kelli-Anne, which sounds sinister but is actually a very wholesome way for people to find like minds in a safe space. 

7. Dushanka Govender, Clubs and Societies Rep, 2,594 words. Vibe: Thankful 

Dushanka was very apologetic for having migraines, as if it were her fault, and went above and beyond her required five hours of community service. She’s pushing hard for food grants for cultural clubs, taking the pressure off of organizers who previously had to shell out to provide for their get-togethers. Food is a hugely important part of culture, and cultural clubs will definitely be grateful for her efforts. She also pointed out that setting the due dates for these reports during exam times is kinda shitty.

8. Maya Polaschek, Welfare and Equity Rep, 2,664 words. Vibe: Burnout

Maya has been “punctual at replying to emails almost all the time, even outside of normal working hours,” so maybe she needs to set some boundaries. Genuinely, she seems to be doing a lot. She’s been struggling to fill the Queer Rep role on the welfare committee, then realised that she was using the wrong email to contact UniQ about it. She’s also working to learn some Te Reo through an app, “as I realise this is an area I lack in and would like to improve!” She’s also been asked a lot of questions about the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, so is doing research to “enrich her understanding and ability to give answers”, which is great. Finally, she’s been attending the meetings held after the Mirror on Society working group meets to stay “up to date” on that issue as well. 

9. Josh Meikle, Finance and Strategy Officer, 2,960 words. Vibe: Tartan Trousers

Josh notes in his report, in a single line statement: “I have yet to be terminated.” An excellent post-apocalyptic morning mantra. This semester he noted that he took five papers on top of his OUSA workload, which is pretty intense. This year Josh has focused on the University Book Store and Clubs and Socs projects and associated funding, and worked hard to organize the Relay for Life with their committee. Josh has Zoomed with members of the exec or other reps from all satellite campuses with the notable exception of the Southland Campus, because they’re still running on dialup and a sheep chewed through the landline. Or it was a scheduling conflict. We’re not sure.

10. Emily Coyle, Administrative President, 3,066 words. Vibe: Industrial-strength stapler

This quarter “has felt quite long” for Emily, and she got a lot done. She helped finalize the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Subwarden Committee this year. She was in close communication with the president, and reports that she attended many seminars and workshops to better serve and understand marginalised groups in her community. She aims to finish every day with an empty inbox and volunteered at the Peace Garden. Emily also advertised that if anyone needed a feature wall painted, herself and Michaela are keen to show off their newly refined skills — they painted the Queer Space earlier this year. Emily hosted BBQ’s, wrote reports, and liaised with a list of organizations so long that the acronyms all sort of blended together on the page like an administrative alphabet soup. Busy semester!

11. Karamea Pēwhairangi, Tumuaki, 3,411 words. Vibe: Concise

It’s been go, go, go for Karamea in her role as Tumuaki this year, participating in many different groups and panels such as the Mirror on Society (where she’s attended every meeting) and Uni Crew in order to ensure Te Ao Māori is incorporated and appreciated in as many facets of the University as possible.  She got increased remuneration at May’s SGM, one of the only motions to pass at that meeting. She also spearheaded inviting Netsky to an open conversation with students following his sharing of a video on Instagram showing people mocking the pūkana at a post-America’s Cup celebration party. Karamea found the hui productive and hoped that Boris had learnt something about Te Ao Māori. She also helped organise a Kapa Haka performance for NZ Music Month, which was a spectacular sight. 

12. Michaela Waite-Harvey, President, 3,532 words. Vibe: Bottle flip on the first try

Michaela had a finger in each pie we’ve mentioned. It’s been a full-on semester with more set for the one to come, and she said that “massive wins have been achieved” thanks to a “collective effort of which I am very proud to be leading”. She has had regular meetings with the Mayor of Dunedin, Aaron Hawkins, and MP for Dunedin, Dr David Clark. She attended hearings, meetings, morning teas and funerals. Notably, she attended Justice Joe Williams’ F.W. Guest Lecture on decolonising the law and a further session run by Te Roopū Whai Pūtake. Both were “incredibly enlightening experiences”, with the latter being “a great experience to discuss where we are as a nation in terms of the law with my fellow Māori law students.” Michaela has held the OUSA ship tightly together, and produced a very coherent and concise quarterly report considering the sheer amount of mahi that she has completed in the last few months.

This article first appeared in Issue 14, 2021.
Posted 11:00am Tuesday 13th July 2021 by Fox Meyer and Alex Leckie-Zaharic and Sean Gourley.