Student questions - Manawatu (September 2015)

Q: How much demand do you need to keep the library open 24 hours during exams?

A: We are aware that there is demand from students for longer library opening hours (especially around exam time) and consideration of how to meet this demand will be part of our planning. We are gathering hourly building occupancy data to help us understand where the greatest demand is (e.g. is it weekends and Fridays that need longer hours) and this will inform decision making but it is difficult to quantify exactly how much demand would be 'enough'.

Options that will be considered (amongst others) include:

  • swipecard access once the library has 'closed'
  • trialling longer hours and measuring use
  • limiting access to certain parts of the library
  • having a security presence in the building (if not library staff)
  • if not 24/7, extending hours further than we currently do for study week

Of course, all of these suggestions have a financial consideration (some more than others) ans we will need to plan for this, hence there is no quick solution, sorry.

We are always keen to hear from students about how we can better support and help you in our studies, so feedback is always welcome.

Q: What happened to the microwaves that were in the dining hall?

A: MUSA's response - There could be the option of placing these back in the dining hall, however the conditions would need to satisfy Alliance staff. MUSA Lounge is not best placed for microwaves as the space is regularly booked out and would disrupt microwave users. Could investigate contracting a club to assist with cleaning, however there is the question of who will fund it and what the expectation is for the agreement. There are quite a few microwaves around campus: Riddet Atrium, Chaplaincy, Vet Tower, etc.

Q: Hot water in dining hall takes 15 minutes to heat up - can this be sorted?

A: The tap now works perfectly and hot water is instantaneous.

Q: Can students have more lockets available on campus, as well as better advertising for the ones that currently under-utilised?

A: We are looking at providing additional lockers when making improvements through the Building Levy Committee. We will advertise any new lockers.

Q: Car parking - there are lots of empty car parks closer to campus - can they be sold to students?

A: Car parks are at capacity and if there appear to be vacancies it's because people happen not to be using them on that day or the car parks have been earmarked for future changes and developments. So, unfortunately, there is currently no capacity to sell parking space in these parks to students.

Q: Any possibility of having a pharmacy on campus?

A: Because of the rules that dispensing pharmacies need to comply with and the variable number of people on campus across the year who would use the service, it has not been possible to attract and retain a pharmacy on campus. We do have an option whereby the Unichem Chemist Shop offers a pharmacy delivery service to the Massey Manawatū Medical Centre for all prescriptions. Prescriptions can be faxed from the student fax machine located in the reception of the Medical Centre, Registry Building, Level 1. Payment is by credit card or debit card only. the prescription and 'Payment by Credit Card Form' must be faxed by 2pm for delivery on the same day. the prescription will be available for collection after 4pm from the Medical Centre reception.

Q: MUSA usually sponsors O Week correct? Now mandatory membership has been taken away? Student experience declined? Could do crowd-funding proposals?

A: MUSA's response - MUSA agrees that Oweek was bigger in the past. This is due to a number of factors. Compulsory membership meant we had a larger income and could afford to do orientation events at a loss. We previously had a Campus Events Network with other student associations who worked with entertainment acts to ensure multiple booking across New Zealand for reduced prices. Unfortunately, this system no longer exists. Other Student Associations currently charge up to $500 for their Oweek. We do not feel this is a realistic price to charge.

In 2016, MUSA is working towards a better Orientation experience, with specific O-week events in a licensed venue open only to ticket holders. MUSA does not have the money to pay for acts such as Fat Freddys/Six60 etc, but we are providing a range of events, some free, featuring New Zealand acts that are rising to the top of the independent (not 'indie' per se, just not major label) scene.

We believe in building a strong student experience, however we have worked to do this throughout the year rather than emphasising one event. We have hosted an event nearly every Wednesday during semester this year.

Q: MUSA voting not fair because there is only one candidate. Only advertised for candidates for 2 days. Advertise via stream, or send out a txt. Short discussion, but should take concerns to MUSA.

A: MUSA followed the constitutional requirements for notifying its election. This includes public notices posted 20 clear days before the election date. MUSA placed information on its website and Facebook and put posters up around campus. If people are genuinely interested in the executive, MUSA operates all year round and both the staff and president are readily available.

MUSA has taken some of the points on board and in 2016 will be significantly extending the notification period to ensure the student body is as well informed as MUSA is able to make them.

Q: Communication between MUSA and Massey and students not done well enough, very confusing. Suggestion to work with the heads of institutes to increase student engagement and communication. Combination of students and staff working together rather than MUSA which is run by a 'bunch of people who haven't been students for ages'.

A: There are alternative models of student representation that exist and we are always open to seeing how we can improve ourselves. However, we believe that the strength of MUSA is in its independence from the University. We exist to improve the life of students and our independence means we suffer no ill effects for critiquing systems and structures. We are implementing a class rep system next year to improve our reach within the academic sphere. We also currently have a strong lack of student representation on boards and committees across Massey University and we wish to remedy this.

MUSA has two structures: Operations and Governance. Governance is the executive that is elected from students, by students, annually. The executive undertake the legal obligations put upon them as MUSA is an Incorporated Society, they also perform the representative function at various forums. These people must be internal students on the Manawatū campus to be elected. If their status as a student lapses for any reason, they are unable to seek re-election. Operations is our staff. MUSA is a substantial organisation with a notable asset base. The staff are skilled professionals with experience in their respective fields, eg, the Advocacy role is filled by a qualified Social Worker. The staff are here to support and advise the executive, while delivering professional services to students.

We encourage any student with feedback or issues to come talk to us at MUSA. We are open to improvement and believe that without this feedback we are unable to represent students effectively.

Student questions - Manawatu (May 2015)

Q: We would like more vet specific workshops.

A: We are already doing many vet specific workshops as well as with some other cohorts with specific needs. We can look into doing more - tell us which topics you would like to see.

Q: We would like more campus recruiting opportunities.

A: We have a range of career expos, some of which are focused for a particular cohort, please tell us if you have some specific ideas or needs.

Q: We would like better doctor services.

A: We are always interested in your feedback and are working to provide a good service.

Q: Limited counselling appointments are not enough.

A: There are some drop-in appointments available. The service is designed as a short term intervention to support your studies.

Q: Improved waiting room arrangements for counselling patients - I feel segregated.

A: We are currently testing a single waiting room for both counselling and medical patients.

Q: We would like more feedback from doctors on health issues.

A: Medical Centre staff are always open to suggestions with respect to improving communication with our patients. Please ask us for more information if you need it.

Q: A pharmacy on campus?

A: Unfortunately the pharmacy that operated on campus for several years was closed because of insufficient year-round business to sustain it.

Q: Is it possible to have longer opening hours for the gym?

A: We are already open 102 hours per week. To keep the facilities as a safe space we employ at least one staff member at all times. We would need a large demand before longer hours could be financially viable.

Q: Kettlebells in gym?

A: We have kettlebells in the HIIT room. Both kettlebells and the room are available for student use.

Q: Booking of sports fields available on website or app?

A: This is a great idea. We currently don't have the operating software required for this, however, we will see whether this option is possible in our existing system.

Q: Free outdoor Yoga classes?

A: The Recreation Centre does not currently have staff or resources available to do this. However if it were organised by students, the Recreation Centre would be happy to give support as needed.

Q: We would like more Les Mills classes.

A: The Recreation Centre already offers 1300 Les Mills classes per year. Much greater demand for classes would be needed to justify a greater financial investment in more classes.

Q: Better publicity for services - improved communication.

A: Tell us how you would like to be notified of services, and we would be happy to consider alternative arrangements.

Q: Better communication between MUSA and students.

A: MUSA doesn't have direct contact with students. We are looking into getting access to that information - perhaps through filling out a form when you are first enrolling. We have a Facebook page for communication. Tell us how you would like to hear from us.

Q: Swimming pool on campus?

A: Swimming pools are very expensive to maintain. It is unlikely the demand would meet the financial requirements for a pool to be sustainable.

Q: Thankful that gym was open over Christmas / New Year.

A: Hope to continue with similar arrangement (with restricted hours) this year and moving forward.

Q: More recycling bins all around campus.

A: We are working on this.

Q: Internet / wi-fi access around campus isn't good.

A: We are working on improving service.

Q: More seminars on postgraduate study.

A: Centre for Teaching and Learning provides many seminars and workshops for postgraduate students. We will also look at other workshops that might be useful.

Q: We would like to see proofreading services.

A: It is an expectation that students acquire accurate grammar and spelling skills as part of their education at university, so this is not a service that is provided.

Q: More academic writing support services for international students.

A: Centre for Teaching and Learning is considering various options to enhance services. Providing more writing support for international students is one of the options under consideration.

Q: More and better social activities for mature students, gap students, and PhD students.

A: We trialled a social event for mature students at the beginning of the year. We are also looking for an event in the second semester - potentially college specific. We are definitely aware of the need and looking for ways to increase activities. Any ideas on what you would like, please share with us. MUSA is also very happy to work with students on this matter and has recently organised a very successful event enjoyed by all who participated.

Q: A feminist club?

A: You are most welcome to found a feminist club or any other club, MUSA is happy to explain how to found one.

Q: Why not make activities that are not age related?

A: There are more than 50 clubs that are open to anyone. If none of the available options suit you, you are welcome to found a new club. MUSA is very happy to support in creating a new club. We have a clubs day at the start of the year and there will be another one on the second semester. If the current system is not working well, talk to us to help us improve.

Q: Why do we pay fees for services we don't use?

A: Fees are charged to provide access to services. If we actually charged for the services themselves it would be much more expensive.

Q: We would like to see longer opening hours at the library.

A: Unfortunately we would need a large demand for this before longer hours would be financially viable.

Q: Security issues? Laptops and bicycles are being stolen.

A: Please keep your belongings safe to help us deal with this problem. It is often very few individuals who cause most of the problems. In conjunction with MUSA, we will be doing a security inventory to check lighting etc. There will also be a survey where students will be able to tell what they want done.

Q: Parking should be cheaper / system should be different.

A: Submissions have now closed, but we are still willing to listen to any good ideas.

Q: What about having a quiet wellbeing space?

A: We can definitely look into that. One possibility is to put a proposal through to the Building Levy Committee. The campus registrar is happy to talk about how to submit a proposal to the committee.

Q: Vegetarian options in shop and dining hall are extremely limited.

A: Alliance catering are working on providing a good vegetarian service.

Q: It is not just vegetarian either; healthy food options are very limited and very expensive. It would be good to have a salad bar and wraps.

A: Alliance is considering how best to meet the need for more access to salads and wraps.

Q: What does MUSA provide?

A: MUSA is one of the oldest student associations, explains what MUSA provides. We are looking at more cross-cultural, cross-age and socio-economic group events. Students can start initiatives they would like to see. For example Farmers’ Market is happening monthly now, and it got kicked off through sustainability club. If you currently don’t have the skills to start the initiative yourself, MUSA will help you to put it together.

Q: Extramurals can’t access these services.

A: Extramural students can access all services during block courses, and any time they are on campus. Some of our services are also provided through email, telephone or Skype. Additionally we have distance student support services.

Q: I am a distance student and don’t use any of these services, paying for them shouldn’t be compulsory.

A: Distance students, like Internal students, pay a levy which is based on access. All students, Internal and Distance are welcome to use any of the services when they come onto any of the campuses. They also have access to services online and on the phone. It is acknowledged that distance students are more likely to use online and phone services than physical services so they are charged a lower fee than internal students. Furthermore, the internal and Distance levy are prorated depending on the number of papers taken.

Q: Distance students shouldn’t be charged the levy fee as we have no way of accessing these services.

A: As above.

Q: Distance students pay the same fee as internal students, but don’t have access to any of these services.

A: As above.

Q: I am an extramural student who works fulltime so many events are inaccessible to me. It would be great to offer and evening or weekend session that is going to be valuable for students like me.

A: We do offer weekend and evening sessions. Our distance newsletter which is sent to all distance students has the details.

Q: As a distance student who doesn’t use any of the services but pays a levy I would like to see some investment in something I would use all the time which is online access to lectures.

A: The levy is for a different purpose – student support – rather than the tuition component. All services are available every day, and can be accessed by phone, email, or facebook.

Student questions - Manawatu (2014)

Q: Do we work alongside the bus system? Sometimes buses leave earlier than on the timetable or buses won't stop.

A: Any feedback (positive and negative) can be referred to FM Helpdesk (Facilities Management Manawatu) or phone extension 82288. Any issues will be followed up at the regular meetings between Massey and Horizons.

Q: The toners in the photocopiers in the library run out.

A: The photocopiers/printers in the Library do get heavy use and as a result use quite a lot of toner. We hold plenty of spare cartridges in stock, so if a copier is out of toner please just let a staff member know and we'll fix it straight away.

Q: Thankful that gym was open over Christmas/New Year.

A: The Recreation Centre will be open the following days and hours over the Christmas/New Year break
Dec 22-24, Open 7am-11am. Dec 25-26, Closed
Dec27-28, Open 8am-noon. Dec 29-31, open 7am-11am
Jan 1-2 Closed. Jan 3-4 Open 8am-noon

Q: Parking – only one kiosk was working in the car park in the last few weeks and need a mechanism for cash exchange to swap dollars.

A: Massey University is in the process of upgrading this equipment and anticipate that a new system will be in place for 2015.

Q: Followme – can parking be tied into swiping ID cards?

A: Massey University is currently assessing a number of possible options as part of the planned upgrade.

Q: Rec Centre ten session concession cards– no idea of expiry date on it so lost sessions.

A: The membership form has a reminder to card holders that the concession card is only valid from the date of purchase for 6 months.

Q: More staff need mental health training. This seems to be swept under the carpet.

A: Dealing with students at risk, which includes mental health issues, is part of the RA Training programme. More training is to be organised with residential managers.

Q: Academic staff need mental health training – some are not at all supportive when students disclose mental health concerns affecting their academic performance. Vet students are under a lot of stress and staff are not always understanding.

A: Regarding the mental health issue it is recognised that the Vet programme is competitive and thus stressful. Counselling works very closely with this. There is probably more support there than for other programmes but we would like to extend that and run programmes with the Accommodation Services team, academics etc on how to respond appropriately when students present with problems.

Q: I did papers at Victoria – got free breakfasts, massages, tips on decreasing stress around exam time. We (students) got a sense of “we know you’re stressed”. Large contrast in services here around exam time – is this a resource issue?

A: Universities will spend resources differently. Doesn’t mean we can’t do something in that area within the financial constraints that we have.

Worked with MUSA who put on fun obstacle course. The Counselling Service runs mindfulness sessions.

Q: There seems to be a bit of an information vacuum on how to give feedback on courses, detailing incidents apart from the online evaluation at the end of the paper.

A: MOST (Massey Online Survey Tool) requires taught papers with more than 10 enrolled students to be surveyed at least every 2 years. This is delivered online and gives every single enrolled student in that offering an opportunity to provide detailed feedback on their experience of the course.

Q: Mental health and stress-less programmes. are these offered all year?

A: Counselling advises that “Stress less” has just started. It has been advertised on facebook and flyers as are pre-exam stress workshops. They will also run "mindfulness for academic success" next semester.

Q: What is being done about student safety, specifically sexual assaults?

A: Have sought feedback from students (informally) and RAs who walk around the halls and surrounding areas in the evening. All potential areas with safety concerns have been reported and have been addressed or are about to be addressed

Q: Are pre-reading and learning support funded by SSL?

A: No

Q: First year drinking, bit of a crackdown on campus. Forcing students into town to get smashed. Doing pre-loading in unsafe environments.

A: Massey University will continue to re-look at alcohol related policies in the halls taking into consideration feedback from students and from our RAs who work closely with students

Q: Do we have a Uni bar? Can one be funded by SSL?

A: No. There was a MUSA bar however it was not profitable. We try to provide a safe environment in Hall lounges.

Q: Would it not be safer to have a funded safe environment on campus for drinking?

A: We can look at more social spaces on campus.

Q: If students are paying fees why does that not cover RAs?

A: Pastoral care for different student cohorts is covered by the Levy including students living in the Halls and in town.

Q: What is being done about parking and lighting – follow up to the previous forum?

A: Pay stations will be in place at Orchard Road by Xmas which should alleviate previous problems. Parking charges on the Manawatu Campus are used to fund the unlimited access bus. Lincoln University is the only university that provides free parking. Other campuses charge a premium price for on campus parking. Parking on the Albany campus has been free because of difficult transport options to date.

FM are presently obtaining quotes to install lighting from the Ring Road to the Recreation Centre along the left hand side path. The cost of this initiative will influence whether this proceeds.

Q: Could more buses be run during the lunch hour slot and also linked to the Library closing time?

A: Buses are funded by parking revenue and not by the Student Services levy. Horizons regularly monitor bus usage and there is no indication that extra buses at lunch time or at Library closing time would be at full occupancy.

Q: Are advocacy services available for Distance student?

A:A Palmer is the Distance Students advocate. Advocacy services for internal students on the various campuses are provided by MUSA, ASA and MAWSA.

Q: Disappointed that recent death of international student went unnoticed.

A: There was a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work done with the family and friends of the international student who died recently. The International Students’ Office has worked hard to manage this sensitive issue. The Campus Registrar and the AVC, Research, Academic and Enterprise and Massey Clubs’ representatives attended the funeral. If students wish to discuss this issue further they are welcome to contact the Campus Registrar.

The Campus Registrar is presently looking at developing a Memorial area on campus where relatives and friends of deceased students or staff can donate plaques or furniture for the area.

Q: Is it possible to get free proof reading of assignments by the University?

A: Proof reading is not provided by the Student Services Levy. The Manawatu Centre for Teaching and Learning can provide help and support and the Online Writing and Learning Link (OWLL) is also a useful tool, but the Centre does not provide proof reading either.

Q: Could more group collaborative tables be provided in the Library Commons area?

A: The AVC Research, Academic and Enterprise, has advised that the University is working long-term towards offering students 80% online content in the future. There are also conversations in progress on potential layout options for the Library and students will be involved in discussions around this topic.

Q: Improve Fale Pasifika please.

A: S Shillington has met with the people in the YFC building to discuss upgrading of the facility. The new Building Levy Committee has been established and will meet on 16 October to consider a range of options, including upgrading of YFC.

Q: Can the Rec Centre be kept open over Xmas and New Year?

A: The Rec Centre will only be closed on Xmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and the 2nd January. It will be open for limited hours from 22 December (these will be advertised) and will revert to normal summer hours of 6 am to 9 pm on 5 January.

Q: Can you provide more student events on campus?

A: MUSA is presently seeking more funding to run events to promote student culture on campus. Hoping to run regular Wednesday lunchtime activities.

Q: More clubs activities.

A: MUSA is seeking more funding for clubs.

Q: Lockers for students on campus for textbooks, clothing etc.

A: The Campus Registrar will look into this request.

Q: 24 hour grocery store.

A: MUSA have looked into this request previously. Revenue from the shop goes into a greater operating pool and looking at the customer demand for such a service it is presently not viable.

Q: What medium do students use to find out what is going on?

A: Student City website, Eventfinder website, MUSA Facebook page and MUSA website.

Q: The Massey Career Hub would be a good place to advertise student events. Would you consider changing its name?

A: Able to change the name and some overseas universities have done so but presently using this as the primary name. Willing to discuss.

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