Tuākana Mentor and AUSA Presidential Candidate Alofa So’olefai is under the Craccum spotlight this week, and discusses her goals and policies should she be elected to the Presidency role.
Alofa spent 2021 in the AUSA executive role of Treasurer-Secretary. She states that not only was it a privilege to hold this role, but not being tied to a specific portfolio within the union meant that she could look into multiple positions and observe how each respective role helps students, and the different services that AUSA offers to the University of Auckland population. Alofa’s desire and need to help people was instilled to her since she was young, and is a core value of not just her campaign, but herself as a person. “It (helping people) gives me a sense of purpose and makes my life worth living knowing that although I’m not special, I hold the power to grant someone happiness in their day just by giving them a hand”.
A notable issue that Alofa notices within the University of Auckland is a significant lack of culture, and lack of understanding of culture on campus. She cites her discussions and negotiations with the Auckland University Pacific Island Students Association regarding the Universities Cultural Space. Alofa states that “we went through so many negotiations and not once did anyone understand the importance of the space culturally which made negotiations seem pointless”. This is another significant reason as to why she is running for AUSA president.
Alofa aims to run for AUSA president in order for all different communities to “have their voice and culture heard on all levels”. She states that growing up in a household with often conflicting Samoan and Christian values means that she understands and can relate to many within the same position with conflicting views and culture.
There are three main policies that Alofa is running on. These policies are
- Student Culture: To assist in the creation of a student culture that enables all students to grow physically, academically,
- Student Partnership: Helping to formalise a partnership between the University and the students through AUSA with genuine student consultation that isn’t tokenistic or just ticking a box.
- Student Algorithms: Bettering the quality of the systems and services offered at the University by ensuring UoA abides by the new Pastoral Care Code of Conduct.
Alofa So’olefai does not consider herself one who will revolutionise everything, due to the short term-length of the Presidency. However she notably considers herself someone “who encourages others and works from behind the scenes to boost others up”. While she states improving student welfare is hard, as there is no one way this can be achieved, her policies are built on ones that AUSA have been striving for in their three areas of Student Support, Student Experience and Student Voice. She will aim to enact her policies in order to better student welfare at the University of Auckland. “To achieve these or even set a solid foundation is my way of paying it back to the student body in an attempt to better their student welfare at the university”.
AUSA election voting closes on September 3rd. Check out the AUSA website for further details on voting. You do not need to be an AUSA member to vote.