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The Spike or Victoria College Review, June 1907

The Proposed Women's Hostel. — The Scheme outlined by Mrs. Wallis

page 75

The Proposed Women's Hostel.

The Scheme outlined by Mrs. Wallis.

We have received from Mrs. Wallis a statement as to the aims of the Joint Committee which has taken this matter in hand, and the means by which it is proposed to carry the scheme into effect. The following is an extract from Mrs. Wallis's statement, and contains all the material facts:—

I have been very much afraid that some of my friends at Victoria College would think that I was forgetting them and my promise to provide some sort of a Boarding Hostel for them, but that is very far from the case. Only, when I set about fulfilling my promise, I found it would take a longer time than I had anticipated. For one thing, my little private scheme, as it was then, grown into grown into something for better and bigger, and there is now a Joint Committee (which you very likely have already read about in the N.Z. Times) to carry they whole thing through. Also I think we are all determined to aim high. If we of the Committee had been content with low aims and a small Hostel we might by now have had a clique residing in a small and poky house and called it a Perhaps I had better say what my promise was, for the benefit of those who do not know. If was to provide a comfortable home where any girl attending Victoria, or the Training, College can board at a reasonable fee. The advantages which such a Hostel will have over an ordinary Boarding House are:—
1.Everyone in it will belong to the College, so that there will be a sort of diffused atmosphere of the same work it is probable that the work itself will be found to be a good deal easier when it can be the subject of friendly talk and joint study than when it has to be done more or less alone.
2.There will be a lady Superintendent at the head, whose business will be not only to look after housekeeping, but also specially glad to help anyone in a difficult piece of work as far she can.
3.The fee will be about £1 a week. This we are afraid is a shilling or two higher than some are paying now, but it is hoped to cover more. The Students will we hope, get all their washing done, and will also get a good, hot meal at any time of the evening, say between 5 and 9 p. m., according to the arrangement of their lecturers.page 76
4.In building the house we are making ample room for study and for recreation. There will be certainly one larger room, if not two, as a sort of "silence room" for study, besides room for the Students to see their friends, as well as for their own work or chat.
5.The site on which we hope shortly to build is quite near Victoria College. We searched all over the College neighborhoods, and we came to the conclusion that if we could not have a place halfway between the two Colleges it we better to be nears Kelburne than Thorndon, as most of the evening Lectures are at Victoria College. Besides these advantages, the house is to be of a Christian character, though no one will be forced to go to Prayers or Church.

Now, I should like to close with saying a few things that do not enter into our Hostel idea. For one thing I may repeat what has been said in the N.Z. Times that it is not a charity, as the fees should cover expanses. We do certainly want help in the initial expenses of buying, building, and furnishing—but though we are arranging for the first two of these for the present we want the College friends to help in them all, and especially in the furnishing. We believe there is quite a lot of help available, all probably in small ways, at the College, and we shall very likely soon call for it. Are we wrong? But, chiefly, the Hostel is not a Boarding School, nor is its Head a Mistress. We intend that there shall be very few ruled to be observed by the Students in it, but what we do hope is that those who make use of it will always be loyal to its principles, and will create a sort of orderly, cultured atmosphere which will be worth any amount of hard and fast rules. For this reason we very much hope that many Students now at the College will enter for the Hostel when they are making their next year's arrangements. We do want to have a good set of second, third, and fourth year Students to start with, besides the probably large number of first year girls who will be starting their work next year. The house will hold about 40 girls, and I am sure we shall not have the least difficulty in filling it with the pick of the College. Thereby we shall not only be supplying a real want in Wellington, but shall be setting a noble example to all the other University Colleges, who only want to be shewn the way in order to do it themselves. Forwards, Wellington!

Margaret E. J. Wallis.