By Adam Pearse
As her final year of university slowly winds down, Nikita Skipper finishes her two-term stint as Massey University Students’ Association President with a positive, albeit, ongoing list of achievements.
Skipper says she has addressed the key issues she ran on in her campaigns, which were providing driver’s license training, ‘Thursdays in Black’ awareness, and free sanitary items for students.
In regard to the licenses, Skipper says next semester support for soon-to-be learner drivers will be available while a potential partnership with a local driving school could aid those at a higher level.
“So, where we are at this point is that the learners license base theory is going to be coming onto campus next semester so that’s going to be helping people get the theory done before they sit their first license and then from there we are hoping to partner with a driving school in Palmerston to subsidise restricted and full practice tests.”
For ‘Thursdays in Black’, Skipper recognises her own investment in the movement and says she hopes for a stronger exhibition on campus.
“This is more an internal drive in all honesty. We have a ‘Thursdays in Black’ training coming on May 22 out here and that is advertised through halls of residence, all Massey staff, all students and then to people in town.
“So hoping to get that stronger presence, it’s more of a generational thing. It only started last year so I want to get it out on campus and that can be as basic as people wearing black on Thursday and knowing why they are wearing it.”
As for the sanitary items, Skipper is looking to allocate funding to initiatives in other cities in order to bring them to Palmerston North.
“I am working with an initiative in Massey University Wellington who subsidise tampons, pads, menstrual cups to students of Massey University. So they are kicking off the ground now and now with my role in the NZUSA, we’ve got funding towards them to push a bit more.
“They are trialling down in Wellington at the moment and I’m hoping by the second week of next semester, it’ll be launched here in Palmerston North.”
Despite these plans, Skipper’s main goal has always been student involvement and while it’s not as high as it could be, she says it is slowly increasing.
“I’m just wanting to get more people involved with MUSA in terms of having a full executive to run when it comes to voting, I think that’s important and I definitely think we are getting there.”
Skipper acknowledges the work that’s been put in to get MUSA to where it is today and hopes that future presidents to come continue to improve the association.
“I think every president that’s come into this role has their own sort of vision for MUSA, I just hope when I leave MUSA, that the progress has been made, doesn’t fall back.”