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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1935

Weir House

page 32

Weir House

Five years and the weather will mellow a simple dignity out of Weir's glittering newness; five years and the cypresses will have lost their transplanted look; five years and the cottage will nestle in the harmonising green shapelessness of a native shrubbery; five years and Weir will lose its frontier philosophy and blend the earnestness of modern youth with the grace of University tradition.

The group consciousness of the House can only be described in terms of roundabouts and swings. It is not as strong as it was two years ago: when we come into the common room after tea and find that the Post has not been brought round from the Warden's office, we each wait for somebody else to fetch it. And yet this reserve and aloofness and selfishness has its compensations—it implies a stability that is much preferable to the restlessness that caused the promiscuous aggressive palliness of two years ago and the debonair hollowness of last year.

Weir is still full, with the waiting list still in operation. The annual proscriptions make the average expectation of residence very low. Only half a dozen Old Contemptibles are among us still, and the day is not far distant when no one will be able to boast that he has been out since Mons.

All the men on this year's Executive have been residents of Weir, though one of them was here for only a week. Of the others, one is an Old Contemptible and all the rest were proscribed last February, after two years' residence. By extending the opportunities for the exercise of leadership, Weir has given the V.U.C. electors a better knowledge than they ever had before of the qualifications of candidates for office. Alas that the knowledge has not been used! See how the Fates their gifts allot; if A is happy, Z is not. Yet what's in a name. That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, though, as a precaution against garden elections, it would probably prefer to he called an antirrhinum.

After these introductory burblings we can discuss more important aspects of group life at Weir. The hot-water system is still functioning well, and we have a colossal new electric toaster. Dick Wild, who was last year's Weir President, has been elected the first life-member of the Weir Association. Don McElwain is the first Weir man to win a travelling scholarship. Don has the world at his feet —just twenty, first-class honours, a travelling scholarship, and an imposing record of successes in the most varied activities. We wish him all the very best.

Against a background of creature comforts Weir provides us with a variety of company, which, although not kaleidoscopic, certainly manifests a hardy resistance to the stultifying standardisation of New Zealand secondary education. Individuality of temperament and diversify of interest have both survived, though sadly school-soiled. Perhaps the aggregate of discussion in the House runs the whole gamut of human interests, but in some rooms conversation is almost confined to swat or football, or the two. This has been aggravated by the increasing number of freshers in the House each year, but it is mainly an easily predictable result of building a palace where full-time students can break their contacts with the world outside and batten light-heartedly behind the cloisters. The function of a University as a hydra-head of the social organism is forgotten; forgotten, too, is the dury of a University to test on a priori grounds the new ideas that may or may not be worked out in society. Rather we crave twentieth century opiates of the people and gather round the newspaper on the common room table to refight the battles of Crawford and Perry, while the columns alongside blush unseen, with their pathetic tragedy of the social decay of the greatest civilisation of all the ages. And day by day attention is converging on fewer and narrower problems to the eternal warping of the soul and to the detriment of all activities except pen-pushing at exams.