The Spike Victoria University College Review 1944
We Must apologise to the people who sent in notes—these were received from three clubs. But the purpose of printing any account of such matters in Spike is to enable an impression of the general situation to be gained and this was not possible in the circumstances. In any case we feel that Salient covers this field adequately.
Non Sports Club Notes, 1944.
'Spike' In previous years has tended to inject too stern a note of criticism into the Non-sports Club notes. This has been done brilliantly, as in 1942; it has been done with too hasty a presumption that resurrection was impossible in the life of an institution, as in 1943. It would seem to be fairer to let the various clubs tell their own story, as far as possible, and let those who read make their own judgment. At the same time, we cannot help but notice that there has been no organized pursuit of literary and intellectual culture. It may well be that the thrashing out of the perennial questions of life is best done in the confidence inspired by a few friends accidentally gathered in the common-room. But surely, if this were the case, the results would be manifested in Salient or in the Debating Club. Here we find, in fact, that there has been too great a concern with the war, with anti-Fascism, with 'progressiveness,' while ideological foundations have been disregarded. Speaking as an ex-serviceman, remembering the exhortations of departed comrades that we should study as page break page 39 never before, I look around Victoria College for the discussion of great literature, for the ventilation of great ideas, and find them only in courses of study for academic degrees, only in classrooms. The search for truth seems to have been relegated to the staff, while the students simply take sides. However, there has been a great deal of activity: and we should remember that 'Activity,' not 'Thought," is the watchword of the Progressive Club.
Firstly, then, let the men of science, the men of fact, speak. 'In the opening meeting of the Chemical Society, talks by two students were presented. Dr. P. P. Lynch, pathologist, gave, at the second meeting, an interesting account of Forensic Chemistry. This meeting proved one of the most successful yet held, 64 students being present. A Freshers' meeting has also been held, when Freshers gave short addresses.'
The Biological Society has had several talks and trips. At the annual meeting four films were shown; of special interest to Zoology students were those on 'Reproduction in Mammals,' and 'The Animals of the Rocky Shore.' Dr. Mercer, bringing along the latest wartime apparatus, gave the first talk this year, on 'Blood Transfusion.' The next talk was of a botanical nature, Mr. T. C. Birch on 'What is Forestry? '; and Dr. Cairney lectured on 'Hydatids in Human Beings.' A day trip to Titahi Bay led by Dr. Oliver was held in May, and many specimens identified.
Aside from two amusing Freshers' evenings the Maths, and Physics Society has held three lectures, by E. M. von Keisenberg on 'Radio'; by Flying Officer J. W. Hutchings on 'Clouds,' and by R. H. F. Denniston on 'Infinity.' Also, of exceptional interest were visits to the Physical Testing Laboratory, the Radio Corporation, and the Railways Power and Signals Section.
What have the men of Religion, the men of Faith, to say? The Evangelical Union claims to be a 'fellowship of students who, knowing Jesus Christ as Saviour, desire while at University to make Christianity vital and to witness to the reality of power of the Saviour in every relationship of life. A weekly meeting is held every Friday evening. This has been addressed largely by outside speakers. Sunday teas have been held from time to time and have included Lt. R. S. Miller and Mr. A. Tucker as speakers. An important item for the E.U. this year was the Annual Inter-Varsity Fellowship Conference held at Paremata during the May vacation. Study circles on Oecumenism and 'The Church and the Future' proved very profitable.
The Catholic Students' Guild commenced us activities for 1944 in April, with a successful social. The discussions this year have explored many avenues and have proved both interesting and stimulating. Our meetings commence at 7 p.m. on a Sunday evening, with formal business, then comes the discussion for the evening, which is opened by a member, who presents a short paper to outline the topic, while leaving ample room for controversy. General discussion follows. The meeting then dissolves and for an hour members enjoy a short social of modern dancing, folk dancing, and other suitable indoor amusements.
The Student Christian Movement has provided regular means for students to gather and discuss the 'cursed everlasting questions.' Against this, it may be said with some justice, that they have tended to forget the Pilgrim Fathers' attitude, 'all truth is God's truth,' and so may not have fearlessly faced all the stubborn facts. Frequent meeting for worship of God is another activity of the S.C.M. The S.C.M. is not concerned with abstractions: Christian education was the theme of its May Camp; a group has been meeting to study the U.S.A.; and in a series of Saturday evening discussions, it has considered some problems which beset the community at large. Finally, as part of the World Student Christian Federation, S.C.M. members have shown special interest in the question of student relief.
Music is a form of culture which has several manifestations in Victoria College. The Music Makers' Club has three major aims: 1. Fostering musical performance among students. 2. Providing opportunities to listen by arranging concerts at College, and student concessions to concerts in page break page 41 town. 3. Spreading an interest in music and composers. Unfortunately, there is by no means as much support as is desirable. For example, the three concerts sponsored by the M.M.C., piano recitals by Paul Schramm and Cara Hall, and a Bach recital by Dorothy Davies (piano) and Marie Vandewart, were not financially successful and were poorly attended by students.
The Gramophone Committee reports that as the gramophone was under repair during the first term, recitals were not commenced until the second term. However, up to the middle of July, 24 programme were presented. Several special jazz sessions have been held. In addition there have been several presentations of full-length operas. The W.E.A. have also made extensive use of the gramophone. This year, full use has been made of the funds availatle. The committee set out with the object of increasing the representation of modern composers in the collection, and progress to-wards this end continues satisfactorily.
It is largely owing to the commendable efforts of Professor Wood and Mr. John Miller that the resurrection of the International Relations Club has taken place; and that this club has acquired a name for enthusiasm and vigour. Its public discussions have each been introduced by a competent guest speaker: Professor Miles on 'The Polish Question'; Mr. Harold Miller on 'The Foreign Policy of the U.S.S.R.'; the Consul-General for Belgium on 'The Future of the Smaller European States.' They have also supported two study groups, on the cultural, social and political backgrounds of Russia and Germany respectively.
The Debating Club, we are told, still lives. An infusion of new blood on the committee started the year off and the first debate, 'That the complete annihilation of Germany is necessary in the interests of world peace,' attracted an audience of 80 (shades of the greater past!). Other subjects were: 'That the exclusion of aliens would be to the advantage of New Zealand';' That the Government has successfully controlled the manpower of New Zealand in the best interests of the war effort'; 'That the product of the American motion picture industry has an undesirable effect on the public' A debate was held with the W.E.A. Needless to say, we lost.
The activities of the Photographic Club have included fortnightly talks on all aspects of photography a visit to Mr. Perry's studio, demonstrations of developing, printing and enlarging, and a rather sad exhibition. The club owns a fine enlarger and other apparatus, and members can use the Biology darkroom.
As this last is another 'resurrected' club, we could perhaps point out that no epitaph on College culture is final, so long as the College itself continues to exist; new students, of a fresh genera-tion, will come to mock the verbal monuments wrought for them by the rash mourners of the past. There is, in fact, some hope for intellectual culture in Victoria College.
As this magazine was going to press we were shocked to hear of the death of George Burnard. He received his LL.B. degree from this College in 1942, and was a cricket blue. Although he had practised only for a short time he was considered to have done brilliant work in the courts. He was widely known at Victoria and liked by people of very different kinds.page break