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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 13. September 24, 1947

National Student Congress Planned for Long Vacation

National Student Congress Planned for Long Vacation

There exists in this country a NZ University, whose sole function is conducting examinations and granting degrees. There also exists a NZ University Students Association, whose activities are almost as limited. It is a body which has never had a meeting which could be attended by all students, and whose members' only chance of meeting each other in any number is at sporting gatherings.

Victoria has initiated a scheme which we hope will provide a means by which the Association can become a real National Union of Students. During the long vacation, the first NZUSA Congress will be held. Anyone can come, and the Congress will take the form of a number of lectures and discussions, with a leavening of social events. All those people who are excluded from Tournaments because they are incapable of reaching a high standard in any sport, but who are interested in each other and in the problems of modern society, will find Congress an invaluable experience.

NZUSA empowered Victoria to en quire into and if possible to conduct during the long vacation of 1947-48 an NZUSA Student Congress in or near "Wellington, the entire responsibility to rest with VUC for the first year.

Australia Has Them

The idea of a Student Congress is something new for NZ. Australia held one in Hobart for the first time last long vacation. The Congress is intended to be a social and educational gathering of students from all over NZ on the same general lines as those held regularly by the National Union of Students in England.

Nig. Taylor on being interviewed said that the Congress would be similar in scope to that held by the National Union of Australian University Students and it is projected at present to endeavour to arrange for a limited party of, say, 60 to 100 persons. It is hoped to obtain the use of a school with sports facilities in its grounds, preferably a place such as Masterton or Levin, or even better within short motoring distance of Wellington.

Cultural Topics

Congress will take the form of lectures on literature, music, the arts, science problems of a similar nature to those which are given by, for example. WEA Summer Schools but with special reference to the position of the student and specifically the NZ student in relation to the subjects discussed.

If run on the line's of the NUAUS Congress, leading figures in the particular spheres debated would be approached to give addresses which would be followed by discussion. It would also be valuable from the point or view of expressing student opinion on particular world issues, having the advantage of being the views ex pressed by a much larger group of active students than is represented by NZUSA. It is not, of course, suggested that the whole of the time should be devoted to intellectual pursuits but that the Congress should also be a first-rate holiday.

There is at present in NZ no opportunity for the congregation of students generally from all Colleges other than through their sporting activity and it is felt that a University is not fulfilling its function unless it also encourages intellectual and aesthetic activities. There is no forum or body in which the views of the student on problems of the world, both nationally and internationally, can be expressed and while it is not suggested that such a Congress would necessarily represent the views of all students, it would at least be a pointer to the attitude of the more active students with regard to the problems.

When and Where?

It is suggested that in the first instance the Congress will last for a week or 10 days and that all the costs tor this holiday should be borne by the participants. Present plans envisage that the time of the Congress will be in the last week of January or the first week of February. It is necessary to get some Idea of what support would be forthcoming from the students of each College. It can be stated that the costs would probably be not more that £7 per head for the full period and [unclear: probably] a great deal less.

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