Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 3, April 6th, 1949.
Building Appeal Lunches Who's Who in Gym
Building Appeal Lunches Who's Who in Gym.
The Building Fund appeal committee hopes to raise more money in the next few months, than has been raised so far in the twenty year career of the Appeal.
The big Appeal to end all Appeals kicked off at 12.30 lunch time—last Wednesday March 30th, with an official luncheon for the local 'who's who' ... in the Gym.
This is the answer to what everyone has been wanting to know—what the B.F.A. committee has been doing since the failure of the £5 appeal at the end of last year. The frousy old Gym as the diners saw it, is not what it was forty years ago when a mere two hundred students managed to rake up enough money themselves to build it. As long as 20 years ago it was realised that the Gym as it was could not possibly cope with the demands and numbers of the Stud. Ass., and in 1929. the Gym maintenance fund was made into a Building Fund for a new Gym. The committee which was then set up comprised present and past students, and members of the V.U.C. council and staff. This committee had been a going concern for 10 years when the war suspended operations. In that time a great deal had been done to prepare plans for the new Building—obviously these were obsolete for the post war numbers and since the war, this problem has been tackled afresh. (See last issue of Salient and the article on Plishke. We are assured by a member of the committee that we weren't just in saying that little thought had gone into this.)
Past . . .
Over the last ten years, a total of £15,000 has been raised; the main sources have been the levy on Stud. Ass. fees and the proceeds from Extravs and Cappicades. The money is invested in Govt, stocks and the interest increases the amount raised by £300 or £400 every year. The Govt, had undertaken to subsidise the Fund (when it reached £20,000) to the tune of 2:1 with a limit of £40.000. And during that time the city of Wellington must have benefited by some hundreds of thousands of pounds from the University.
. . . present
That £15,000 raised, even with the 2:1 subsidy, still left' a sizeable gap to the £100,000 odd needed to build the new block. And so the B.F.A. committee organized the luncheon. The idea of having it in the Gym can only be said to have been inspired. Pretty nearly everyone who should have come did so: we failed to draw the Prime Minister or Hon. Minister of Finance, but there were Sir Humphrey O'Leary. Mr. McCombs, Minister of Education. Sir David Smith. Mr. Appleton, and 130 other prominent citizens. This was an encouraging response, as the committee hadn't dared to hope that nearly that number would turn up. The Gym looked just as you would have liked it to look—a monument.
When the College was built, said Mr. H. R. C. Wild, the Chairman of the committee in his speech, "no provision was made for a building giving the facilities the students would need for their social recreational and intellectual pursuits outside formal lectures." He commented on the fact that many of the men who had tramped the streets to raise the money for the original building were present. When they were at Victoria, he said, the roll was 300 or 400. "Today the roll stands at 2,400. The classrooms and, laboratories are themselves sadly inadequate for that number of students ... All the facilities now available for student meetings, for dramatic performances, for debating, for sports, for student activities of every kind, are those afforded by this building."
He went on "without a sufficient Student Association building our students cannot enjoy the interplay of minds and discussions that bring the tolerance and understanding that is the real value of University training . . . such a building is not to be regarded as merely a convenience, but as an end in itself."
Mr. Wild then broke the news to the diners that "we have just received the insiplring news that the. Govt. has agreed to enlarge that limit (on the subsidy) up to £70,000. That means that, if we can bring that £15,000 which we have in hand up to £35,000—If we can now collect another £20,000—we shall receive £70,000 from the Govt., and we shall have a total of £105,000."
"Already" he said "we have a promise of £1,000 from one donor, two amounts of £250 each on condition that another eight similar sums are received, two more of £100 each, and one from a recent graduate, an exprisoner of war with his own way to make in life, of £25."
Also, he said, the college staff have generously offered to make voluntary contributions from their salaries which will bring in another £700 or £800. He pointed out that "this is the first time that V.U.C. has ever made a general appeal to the Public for financial assistance."
Mr. T. D. M. Stout outlined the facilities which were offered at Victoria for different faculties. "In other cities" he commented, "the university has had valuable and sustained assistance from the citizens . . . We feel that Victoria has only to make itself and its wants known to our leading citizens and our local to get all the support we need."
The President of the Students' Association. Mr. K. B. O'Brien, gave a fair idea of the problems which faced Victoria at the moment. There is no Gym space for any of the facilities which the Stud. Ass. would like to offer: there is no playing field at all and there are between eight and ten clubs competing for the four nights per week that the Gym is available. The Cafeteria facilities are inadequate (to say the least of it. Ed.) The common rooms are hopelessly small for the numbers and their comforts are non-existent. So the Appeal is asking for either plans to help raise the money, or cash. If any of those present thought they knew how bad things are, Mr. O'Brien's speech (well up to Plunket Medal standard) would have disillusioned them at once.
To rub the point home, the visitors were then taken on a tour of the college. We feel that it is rather a shame that they couldn't have, say, stood in the Caf. queue at 6 o'clock, or tried to make their way through the evening crush at the bottom of the main stairs. But no doubt the general idea got through. The Building Fund Committee is to be congratulated on this excellent move: we can help ourselves to get the £20,000 which is all that we now need, by getting into extrav. this year. We should not leave It all to the Committee to raise; last year Extrav. raked in about £750—we can do a lot this year to supplement the results of that Iuncheon.