Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 10. August 6, 1958
Marilyn Says, 'See you at Congress'
Marilyn Says, 'See you at Congress'
What sort of vacation are you planning at the end of this year?
Possibly you'll be working for most of it. Possibly if you're one of the lucky ones, you'll be reading all those books you've been meaning to read for so long.
But before you rush away to immure yourself somewhere in the wilds until the beginning of next year, consider Congress. Congress is, in short, that time honoured institution, the New Zealand University Students Association Congress held annually at Curious Cove. The next will be the twelfth since its inception in 1957 and, we hope, the best.
What is Congress?
Congress is all things to all men. It's certainly something different in the way of a holiday. A paradise for the swot-sickened and lecture-drugged. A haven from the drudgery of the year's specialisation in your particular subject (s) where, for one splendid week, you can skim the intellectual cream of the country with no more effort than lying in the sun.
Freed from the restraining bonds of swot, timetables, exams, conventions, landladies, fond parents, etcetera, you can explore all sorts of problems, initiate or take part in an infinite number of discussions ranging from sex to politics, from politics to religion, from religion to grog, from grog to?—your guess is as good as mine.
Someone, somewhere, once called Congress the "University of New Zealand come to life". This is an apt description. At Congress you get all your types, your masochists, misogynists, melancholies, mystics, morons, myopics, monophysites, monotheists, martyrs, maniacs, even your misanthropes! You may even meet some of those Rarae Aves, the agricultural student.
During the year your activities are somewhat circumscribed by the exigencies of your course. Even the noble Arts student—the backbone of the university—is becoming to an increasing degree the victim of specialisation. Congress breaks down barriers and gives us a wider perspective; it promotes the free exchange of ideas; it challenges the individual to define and to defend; it arouses the student from his bourgeois stultifying torpor of mind; it provides the material to think about and—that rare thing—the opportunity to do so.
One of the most refreshing things about the lectures (apart from their above-average quality) is the fact that they are entirely voluntary. To be able legitimately to attend a lecture or nay, as the spirit moves, is indeed a rare pleasure. Couple with that the certain knowledge of a first-class address, and you have conditions elsewhere unequalled. You may be interested in some friendly advice from an old hand on the equipment necessary for attending a lecture. This is somewhat different from what you are no doubt used to. For maximum efficiency of concentration (so say nothing of comfort) the minimum equipment is as follows: 1 Lilo (you may possible manage without), 1 sleeping bag, 3 pillows (minimum), 50 cigarettes (if a non-intellectual omit this item), chocolates, sweets, apples, etc. to taste.
A word to the wary; If you are still thinking of Congress exclusively as an intellectual powerhouse, then don't if you are the frankly social type with no pretensions or aspiration to the higher planes of intellectual exercise, then Curious Cove has plenty to offer you—parties, parties and P-A-R-T-I-E-S. Beside parties, Congress can offer you sunshine, a warm sea, bush-clad hills, and whether your forte is swimming, fishing, tramping, water-skiing, bending a bow or pitching a line, you will find all catered for at Curious Cove.
The programme at the Cove is a very full one: breakfast (if you make it), lecture, discussion, then numer-out strenuous or non-strenuous activities, as inclination dictates, for the rest of the day. Dinner, lecture, films, and/or dancing, parties (plural) are the order of the evening. To make room for such a hectic programme one thing is almost entirely omitted from the agenda—sleep. However, I can truthfully report that its omission is not generally regretted.
Those whose prowess lies in the sphere of athletics will have plenty of opportunity to utilise their abilities for the greater honour and glory of the universities in the Congress Olympics. Strong men and bold are indeed essential as the strength of an Olympic team depends for success on the qualities of its saboteurs!
Having previously said something of the lectures, at least by implication, let me now say something about the lecturers.
Not only are they a very interesting bunch, but also a bright crowd who add quite a decided tank to Congress social life. They are as stimulating at parties as they are on the lecture platform and in provoking discussion. The formal lecturer—student relationship breaks down in the convivial atmosphere of Curious Cove and a spirit of bonhomie prevails.
If, despite the eloquence of my eulogy, you are not yet convinced that attending Congress is the best use to which you can put that last week of January, '59, get someone else to confirm this fact. Any "old hand" will endorse my opinion.
So, if you're the social type, come to Congress; if you're the intellectual type come to Congress; if you have problems, if you have no problems, if you like talking, if you like listening, if you like doing neither, then Congress is the place for You. In fact if I haven't said it before, Come to Congress.
Jan Nyhan, Congress Committee, Otago University.
This year's Congress dates are: Friday, 23rd January, '59, to Friday, 30th January. Application forms will be available at your Students' Association office at the beginning of October. Information on costs and travel arrangements is available from the same source.