Organisation - May 29, 2018

Student Council elections: ‘We stand for real inclusivity’

Text:
Luuk Zegers

Starting today through Thursday 31 May, you as students can choose whom you want to be represented by in the Student Council. But what do the three parties – S&I, VeSte and CSF – stand for?

The Student Council office in Forum. © Luuk Zegers

Robin Baas, lead candidate for CSF

‘CSF (Christelijke Studentenfractie, EN: Christian Student Party) stands for a clear vision based on Christian values. We have a long-term sustainability strategy. By that, we mean sustainability in the broadest sense: yes, we aim to be a green university, but we also want a sustainable approach to the increasing numbers of students, maintain close contact with the surrounding area of the university and guarantee the quality of education.’

Robin Baas. © Luuk Zegers

Real integration and relevant education
‘People often act like we are very international and multicultural. But we still see grouping based on nationalities: a group of Chinese, a group of Indonesians, a group of Dutch, etc. We should really take steps to change this. This could be done from the university’s side by being stricter about the international students’ level of English, for example; something the Student Council is already working on. We also think that WUR could be clearer in its communications toward both Dutch and international students regarding what it means to attend an international university.’

‘As CSF, we believe that education should have a positive impact on the real world. We therefore want education to be even more focused on the issues we see as a society.’

Joshua Wambugu, lead candidate for S&I

‘S&I (Sustainability & Internationalisation) stands for internationalisation, sustainability, transparency, equality, and of course the quality of education. We want to promote integration, because we feel that there still is a big gap between international students and the Dutch. By having a better integrated community, people can trust each other. S&I contributes by discussing the challenges that we face as international students.’

Joshua Wambugu. © Luuk Zegers

Mixed grouping and international drinks
‘When you’re going to a new culture, you have to take time to adapt. We want to look at the strengths and weaknesses that international students have to see how we can help lift them up. To achieve better integration, we’re hosting international association drinks. Here, people from different backgrounds come together: it is a platform for dialogue. Also: the concept of the international classroom. We want to ensure that professors encourage mixed group work. Instead of one-sided group formation of a Dutch group, an Indonesian group, an African group, we would like to see that tutors promote diversity within these groups.’

‘If you look at our activities, we are about reaching all communities within WUR. Real inclusivity. Because if you talk about sustainability, for example reducing plastic on campus, it is relevant for all students.’

Sophie Galema, lead candidate for VeSte

‘VeSte (Verenigde Studenten, EN: United Students) has three priority areas: the high quality of education, broad international development and the opportunity to develop extracurricular skills. This appeals to me: I think one could learn a lot outside of their studies. VeSte therefore focuses on active students, who are active outside their studies as well.’

Sophie Galema. © Luuk Zegers

Excursions, Erasmus and EDS contact point
‘Some programmes already do this, but I would like to see more excursions in education. I think it is very informative to see how the knowledge contained in books is applied in practice. I also think that Erasmus exchanges should be stimulated more by the university. At the moment, it is still along the lines of: “here is a list of thirty countries; just choose one!” I think it would be good to base this choice more on the experiences of others. Such stories are shared on VeSte Goes Abroad, but I only discovered that after the fact. The university could put more emphasis on these.’

‘The Extended Daytime Schedule (EDS) will become very important as of next year. Of course, a university should be realistic about growth. There were students who could not follow mandatory subjects on account of the classes being full. It should not be possible for students to be “forced” to overrun their time. To have a clear idea of the consequences of the EDS, VeSte has opened a contact point. This way, we will be able to get a clear picture of the problems that arise due to the EDS.’

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