Between 18 May and 22 May are the student council elections. The German Anna Walther, bachelor student Molecular life sciences, is party leader for Sustainability & Internationalization (S&I) at the upcoming student council elections. Resource asked her four questions.
What are to S&I the most important themes?
We think that Wageningen has an example position in the context of sustainability. The university is already working on it, but it could improve. We would also like to involve students with this theme, that is the reason why we work together with the green organizations of Wageningen, such as Green Office and Wageningen Environmental Platform.
Another important spearhead is strengthening the international society within Wageningen. We find it very unfortunate that international and Dutch students are still two different groups, while a multicultural city like Wageningen offers the possibility for a dialogue.
What will be your most important achievement in 2015/2016?
First, I would like to improve the visibility of the student council and by doing so bringing more democracy to the campus. Although our university is already quite transparent, it still requires some effort to keep abreast of important decisions within the university. That is the reason why I would like to have more ‘open office days’, open debates and discussions and information evenings about the events in the student council.
Besides, I would like to improve the medical care for students in Wageningen. At this time there are only three general practitioners which have to take care of all 10.000 students of Wageningen. The Dutch standard is actually 3 GP’s per 1000 inhabitants. Moreover, the language barrier makes it difficult for international students to ask help from a doctor.
And - last but not least - I would be happy to work on an affordable, diverse and sustainable catering on the campus. Given the fact that Wageningen is the center of the Food Valley and even offers study programs on nutrition, I believe that healthy and affordable food for all students should also be available on campus.
What is your personal motivation to join the student council for a year?
The student council in Wageningen is to me one of the most important parts of our university, because this way students can be involved in choices and decisions within the university. I find this very important. Wageningen became a real ‘home’ to me and I want to ensure that future students have the same experience.
Are you satisfied with how the participation at Wageningen UR is regulated?
I definitely think Wageningen is one of the better democratic universities in terms of participation. But there are areas of improvement: the communication between government, student council and students is sometimes quite slow, whereby many students have little understanding of the events and decisions at the university. In this way participation is obviously very difficult, because without information students cannot form an opinion about what is happening on their campus and thus become easily frustrated. I think that both administration and student council can work on this.
Prior to the election Resource interviews the party leaders of the three participating parties. Also read the interviews with Nick van Nispen of Veste and Wiard Ligterink of CSF.