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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 6. June 3rd, 1948

The Social Side

The Social Side

Finally and probably most important I must mention the social life.

All I can say is that you would have thought that most of the students had never danced before in their lives and never would again. We certainly crammed in a vast amount of informal fox trotting and crammed a vast number of people into some very small rooms. The nearest thing I can remember was a dance in the VUC Gym on VE night (without tombstones though there is a fine cemetery next door). A week didn't seem any too short to make some beautiful friendships. Think of Tournament lasting a whole week, and think of having no responsibilities like jumping or running or debating or swimming. Besides dances there were concerts, singsongs, theatre parties and films, not to mention some comfortable handy pubs.

"What sort of people were these students?"

They were not very representative of student opinion as a whole. The vocal, energetic people were there; a high proportion of communists, many active liberals and labourites, and an amorphous mass of silent people who had come for the fun. Oxford and Cambridge were poorly represented; provincial universities and Londoners seemed to be there in masses, as were Training College students. I'm glad to say, however, that apparently the so-called "Weir House Mentality" Is not bred in England or does not go to Congresses.

It was fun meeting people, arguing with them, hearing them speak. The main speakers were entertaining and interesting. The social life was gay and relaxing. For me the weakness was a feeling of discursiveness, of trying to talk about too many things at once. We had too little time, and never got beyond the preliminary statement of the problem. I was bored by the stupid antithesis of communism and anti-communism, and the shouting of slogans by hacks. We would have done better if the subject had been briefer in scope, if we had had a series of lectures instead of one from each visitor, if groups had been smaller and better controlled.

But it was all worth while because of the people and the friendships, beautiful, platonic and otherwise. If you decide to have a Congress New Zealand, remember the primary aim is to get people together. Let them meet and argue and talk and dance and make love. No resounding resolutions or watertight party machines contribute more to good society.