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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 8 July, 3, 1946


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Dear Sir,—The recent Easter Tournament has provided one further example of Victoria's failure to make the grade. The question "why" is being asked, not only by students, but also by those less intimately connected with the College—the general public.

Reasons for our poor showing are easy to find and have been produced again and again, but let us examine these reasons (excuses) a little further. We have so many part-time students who are unable to devote time to the other aspects of 'Varsity life. A forceful argument, but actually there are many part-timers who are very active in clubs and societies, and many full-timers who take little or no interest.

We have few residential hostels which, at other University Colleges, help to weld the students into one united body. True, but properly handled clubs should enable students to make contacts with one another and should inspire in them a live College spirit.

We have no special schools for Medicine, Dentistry. Architecture, Engineering, etc.. which in other centres attract many male students. In 1944 statistics for male students attending the four Colleges were as follows:—

Auckland, 1,438; Victoria, 1,125; Canterbury, 850; Otago, 1,101.

When we add the 362 men students attending Massey Agricultural College to the Victoria figure, Victoria tops the list with 1,487 male students.

Our grounds and facilities for sports training are inadequate. Few Colleges are properly catered for in this respect and our difficulties are no greater than those of other Colleges. Some will say that one College must come last at Tournament, why shouldn't it be Victoria? This is in some respects, true, for the actual winning of Tournament is a minor consideration, but surely we could put up a more commendable performance than our recent pitiful attempt.

You may claim that Victoria's achievements are rather in the academic world and that many of our students have gone on to take positions of distinction in different fields. But these successes are in a large measure due to the initiative or diligence of individual students and to the work of their Professors and Teachers.

The activities of students cover a wide range—at this College we have approximately forty clubs, societies or organisations. Far too many students take no interest in club life and far too many again are merely fringe members who are unwilling to do anything constructive for the advancement or strengthening of a club.

We are convinced that if students began as Freshers to really work for a club, that club would become stronger, would gain a larger membership and would attract those who otherwise play for outside clubs. That is a great fault in our student organisation, that we allow so many athletes, performers, players, actors and so on to join outside clubs, simply because our own clubs are too easy going to reach a high standard.

Each year we have several hundred Freshers filling in Stud. Assn activity cards outlining the clubs they are interested in. This is an excellent idea but we are not aware of one instance where a club has consulted those cards and pursued the students who had indicated their interest. Within a week or two, the Freshers begin to find that study takes much of their time, but instead of directing their spare time to support of two or three clubs, they step into the Victoria habit of dissipating time and energy by attending only an odd meeting at about half a dozen clubs.

One solution might be the election of really responsible committees who have a genuine interest in the welfare and activities of a club. Annual Meetings are often sparsely attended and election of officers is made among those present—often not the people most fitted for the job. In our main election for the year of Stud. Ass., the percentage of votes is shockingly low—yet another example of student lack of interest and co-operative spirit.

What can you do to remedy the position?

(1)Make up your mind at the beginning of each year to join as many clubs as you can really devote attention to.
(2)If you are a champion swimmer or athlete, a first class actor or a good 'cellist, go along and stir up the 'Varsity club before you join a town club. As Tournament has shown, we are badly in need of support.
(3)Endeavour to support the attempts of individual clubs to go out into the city. Drama productions, ISS work-days, Extrav., Plunket Medal are only a few of your opportunities.
(4)Don't avoid Annual and Business Meetings, and don't be swept along by one clique—elect officers you know will do a good job.
(5)Nominate, if you wish, and above all vote for your Stud, Ass and Committee members.

Only with your interest and support can we throw off our mantle of shame and the wooden spoon while we're about it.

Two Disgusted Present-Day Students.