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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road

And so I find myself leaving Victoria University of Wellington, probably for ever. I've been there for six years, and in that time a lot of things have changed - not always for the better. When I was a first year at Vic...

  • It was 2004.
  • Labour was in government.
  • Stuart McCutcheon was the Vice-Chancellor at Victoria (he's now at Auckland, and Victoria has Pat Walsh instead).
  • ITS was known as SCS (for student computing services), and when you told them about something broken, it was fixed within a week.
  • There was no university wireless network. (There was the excellent student-run SWANS, of course, and it's still more reliable than the official network, but with very limited coverage).
  • The math department was allowed to hand back its 500 or so weekly assignments via open boxes, so students could - gasp! - see each other's marks as they searched for their own assignments. This was changed to written-agreement-only during my second year, and by third year the open boxes were abolished altogether, leaving the long-suffering admin staff to hand back 500 assignments every week.
  • The School of Economics and Finance had enough staff to teach all its courses, including more than two specialists in each of macroeconomics and econometrics.
  • There was no myVictoria - access to the various online services was via a link repository called studentVUW, and you had to login separately to each one.
  • Student email wasn't administered by Microsoft, and your student email address expired after you finished your study.
  • There was no Faculty of Engineering.
  • There was a School of Mathematics and Computer Science. Then there was a School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. Now there is a School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research, and a separate School of Computer Science.
  • Gender and women's studies was, I'm pretty sure, not part of the Faculty of Education.
  • In fact, there was no Faculty of Education - the Wellington Teachers' College was still an independent institution.
  • I don't think there was a New Zealand School of Music either.
  • All areas of the library were signposted as silent study areas, and none of them actually were. (Now there are some where talking and eating are allowed, but it's not clear whether this has led to more respect for silence elsewhere.)
  • The Rec was... kinda scodie. It was refurbished in about my third year.
  • The library had carrells. They were good for sleeping in. Now the sides have been removed to make them into ordinary desks.
  • Relations between VUWSA and the university were very bad, owing to the university's apparent seizure of several student-owned buildings in payment of VUWSA debts. (The buildings seem to be further from student control than ever now, but relations have thawed somewhat.)
  • The Union, the administrative body for the seized property (made of a bunch of university employees and one member of VUWSA), was still called the Student Union.
  • Galleria sold Wholly Bagels bagels, and had a medium takeaway coffee size.
  • O-week events were well attended. (Is there even still such thing as O Week?)
  • VUWSA tended to have the money to fund them, rather than being constantly on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • The Pipitea campus was still partly under construction.
  • The Quad pizza place didn't sell curry, nor roast veges.
  • Salient contained a rather good comic called Man. I think 2004 may also have been the year of the genius Being Blind.
  • The cafe next to the Overbridge was called the Ilott. It had an awesome mural on the ceiling, with aliens and planets and spaceships, and it sold filter coffee for $1.10, and fruit-flavoured hot chocolate, and used china ornaments as table markers. I don't know what it's called now, and nor do I care, because it has none of those things any more.
  • There was no Unistop.
  • There was a campus pharmacy.
  • There were no Snapper cards. (I still don't know what VUWSA have done about the free bus ticket scheme, with the introduction of Snapper meaning they can no longer give out ten trip tickets.)
  • The library's collection of books was somewhat bigger than it is now, the controversial Collection Appraisal Project having reduced the collection by 10% in, I think, 2006.
  • There was no Westpac ATM on campus.
  • The EdCom computer store on Cotton Street was smaller, darker and less funky-looking.
  • There was only one table in Cotton Street, in front of what was known as "the good sofa". Now there are many tables, and lots of chairs too.
  • Cotton Street had rather icky greyish carpet with greenish stripes, instead of the current green carpet/grey vinyl combo.
  • Cotton Street was full of posters showcasing the work of Science grad students. These stuck out at right angles to the eastern wall and reduced the visual width of the Street.
  • There was no direct wheelchair access to Cotton from the eastern parking lot.
  • There was direct access from Cotton to Laby, with no other building in between.
  • There was furious controversy over the newly-completed entrance to the Easterfield building, which was hugely expensive but inaccessible after the doors were locked at 6pm each evening. Critics protested that this voided its stated purpose of making it safer for students to leave campus late at night.
  • There was no Te Puni Village.
  • The Mount Street Bar was called Eastside, The Mount Street Cafe was called Vicky's, and neither of them sucked anywhere near as hard as their modern counterparts do.

1 comment:

qwandor said...

It is now, in fact, the School of Electronics and Computer Science, shortened to either ECS or SECS depending on whether you are staff or student.

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