The USPSA Voyage
The University of the South Pacific Students’ Association has been in existence ever since the University of the South Pacific began operations from 1968. USPSA is further acknowledged by the Royal Charter granted to the University by her Majesty the Queen of England on the 4th of February 1970 at Buckingham Palace. Article 16 of the charter clearly states that there should an organization of students.
In 2009, the University only had 3 Campuses. They were Laucala in Fiji, Alafua in Samoa and Emalus in Vanuatu which also had 3 different Students’ Association in each of them. In Laucala USPSA existed, while in Alafua the Students’ Association was known as the University of the South Pacific Alafua Campus Student Association (USPACSA) and Emalus in Vanuatu, the University of the South Pacific Emalus Campus Student Association (USPECSA). Until this time Laucala had 2 representatives in the University Council, while both USPSACSA and USPECSA had one representative each. The major development took place after the 68th meeting of the University Council held at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi where the University Council had been reviewed. Thus under the Pro Chancellorship of Hon Fiame Mata’afa the Students’ Association was requested to work with the office of the Vice Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra to embark on a general project, that is, of forming an umbrella body for the students at USP. This also occurred at the same time that the University declared all 11 campuses in the member countries. Ms. Lily Vuiyasawa, Ms. Delphine May Vuti and Mr. Akmal Ali all of them student leaders and members of the University Council embarked on a journey to create the Umbrella Student Body approved in the 70th Meeting of the University Council as USPSA or USPSA Federal Body /Office.
The aim was to set up a body of students that would look after the welfare of students in all the campuses of the University. May 2009 to September 2009 was one of the most challenging one in the history of the Students’ Association. As within four months the 3 major Associations were to come under one umbrella and tackling the non cooperative behaviour of many student leaders who were not ready to accept change was a challenge that took some 2 years to overcome. The First Federal Council convened on the 27th of September, 2009 where a proposal for the administration of the Federal office and the location was discussed. The Draft Constitution was accepted and Ms. Lily Vuiyasawa was elected as Chairperson, Mr. Natautava Rokotuibau as Deputy Chairperson and Mr. Akmal Ali as the interim Secretary General.
The initial funding for the Federal Office had been given as a grant from the office of the Vice Chancellor. This funding had lasted the association some two years. The full 14 branches of the Federal Council were fully formed and complete by April, 2011 and furthermore, the building where the Federal Office is located was secured successfully; the whole building was secured for USPSA Federal Operations. Today, after 8 years, the Federal Office is fully operational with over 23 Federal Council Meetings having taken place since its establishment to this date.
A Glimpse of the 7th Federal Council Meeting