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The Setup – Issue 20

By the time you are reading this, we are two or three issues into our experiment. We decided to devote the last six weeks of the run to something absolutely new. Some of that was born out of a reaction to this year, feeling that we had been robbed of time to gel as an editorial team. There was also this conviction that we had moved with the herd a little and we’re now just doing the standard student magazine that everyone else was. It wasn’t that the content wasn’t good, just that it felt like we were wasting our platform. Things like This vs That or Mullet of the Week have an audience but that audience would also seek it out online.

Instead, we wanted to do something a little more ambitious, something bordering on a series of small essays and think pieces on one particular theme or topic. You have already seen that in Nexus Gets Political and Nexus Likes to be Liked, but how many issues can you play with that are meaningful to an audience? For this, the third issue in the run, we are doing something slightly different. It all stems from a single joke “The University should buy the Warriors.” That was something we pitched to Neil Quigley two years ago and we had a plan to use it to make the University interesting again.

Revisiting that idea in the planning of these issues, we came up with the idea that the University has forgotten how to be young. In fairness to them, that isn’t really the job of the University. But how much do you know about their plans for campus outside the Pā? It turns out that there is a plan. In fact, it is their sinisterly titled “Master Plan.“ Not only do we know of its existence but we have read it, and though we feel weird admitting it, it isn’t bad.

It’s filled with the sorts of things you would expect to be in there. Things that were put there by old men with English names that likely include hyphens. The reality is that it is perfectly serviceable. But that is kinda the point. Somewhere along the way, these people forgot to bring the fun. There is more of a focus on a cost-benefit analysis and less time spent doing things to make the University “Cooler than Otago.”

Because of that, we thought we would give them a reminder of what it was like to be younger. We have put together our own master plan we call “Nexus Designs a Campus.” Is it grounded in reality? fuck no. We don’t know how to build a campus. Is it well researched? Again, our magic eight ball says not likely. Sure there are some genuinely well thought out ideas in here. And our overseas correspondent Lyam Buchanan actually describes what a British Campus is like, but for the most part, it is hopeful, idealistic, and youthful.

We haven’t gone completely overboard and we vetoed the completely ridiculous. For instance, Harry isn’t getting a rollercoaster. Although it should be noted that in the not too distant past University staff suggested a flying fox from the library to Kahurangi and that almost made it in.

Instead, we have divided the whole things into the following sections:

How they do it in the uk

The aforementioned Buchanan piece about UK campuses and Students’ Unions

The Village green

From putting a stage on the lake to astroturfing, and building BBQ areas. This is a Village Green that is going to make you want to stay on campus.

A Sports Precinct

Harry attempts to answer the age-old question. If we are a sports University then why don’t we act like one? Outside of Hillary Scholars, what do we have? What if we built a stadium just 12,000 seats. Put a sports bar in. And then had a place for all the smaller non-rugby codes to come and play. What if we moved the Gym over there too, add a driving range… Now we are starting to play.

Retail Spaces

Ok before anyone gets crazy we acknowledge retail is already on campus. But not in a fun and meaningful way. What if we got genuine youth focused clothing stores, pop-up shops, computer stores, and a laundromat?

A Greener Campus

One of the more exciting ones we wanted to play with was the idea of giving lip service to a clean green campus. What would an actual green campus look like? Solar panels, roof gardens, and getting smarter. It’s all the Elon Musk fever dream with fewer problematic statements about aliens building the Pyramids or rescuers of children being labelled paedos.

Are you not entertained

None of our fictional campus rebuild works if students don’t want to be here, and don’t want to stay here. So we need to talk about regular concerts, movies, food, a Bakehouse, a pool area students actually want to use, and getting some mini golf in. If you haven’t already been thinking about using the entire field for a Summer festival called Rhythm and Cows then you haven’t got what we are trying to do here.

What if town came to us ?

Every year some over-ambitious WSU Presidential candidate or overzealous University staff member suggests building a bar on Campus for after-work drinks. That is such pre-COVID thinking. We want to move the whole clubbing scene on to campus. Think about how moving Bar 101, Back Bar, and a cocktail lounge/pub would change the game. We are talking cheaper drinks, a safer walk home, and a place to watch one day cricket or State of Origin. Plus the WSU Bus for a Buck would be cheaper.  

A Carpark building

The least sexy of all the developments is also the most necessary. A multi-level car park building with profits going back into student clubs and an ambitious wash and valet service.

Single Access Multi-faith prayer and worship

We just said car parks were the least sexy then talked about churches. But maybe it is time to have a real multi-faith chapel with prayer rooms. We are going to make an argument.

A Clubs Village

It’s time we got ambitious. Instead of a bookable space in a classroom, we are suggesting a series of pre-fabs that create a whole club village. Like the Olympic village but with less promiscuity or athleticism. Just a utopia of clubs and lockers.

An Lgbttiqa+ Space

One of the key tenets of the WSU clubs village would be rainbow space. Private, secluded, but also air-conditioned so that would be a step up.

A Maaori Space

The Pā is not the default “Māori space” on campus. Kyla is going to make the case for an official Māori socialisation space.

The Halls

Finally and perhaps most contentiously, the Halls. We aren’t saying anything is wrong with them, but is that really the benchmark for our campus?

And that is our campus plan. Feel free to send us snaps on your version or anything we have left out