Wetenschap - 26 september 2002

ISP is looking for new members

ISP is looking for new members

The International Student Panel represents international students on academic, housing and social issues. The panel is looking for new members. Elections of representatives from each course will be held soon. An important issue for ISP is finding a way to have the panel members' voices heard in the main student council.

The current ISP members would like to see a representative elected from each MSc course. However, since the number of courses will grow, the panel would become too big. Therefore the elections will be adjusted to the new structure. A representative from each course will be elected, after which the chosen representatives must discuss amongst themselves who will take up a position on the panel.

Another problem ISP is trying to find an answer to, is how to get the international students' voice heard in the main university student council (studentenraad). Three Dutch student parties, CSF, PSF and Veste, are represented on this council. Only members of the council have a right to speak during meetings with the university board. During a meeting between the student council and the University board last week, university vice-chancellor Professor Bert Speelman suggested that the student council should find a way to include international students in the council.

One option would be for international students to become representatives for one of the parties already in the council. According to the current ISP members there are several constraints that make this an unrealistic option. First there is a language problem. "During meetings with the party there would be one international student among seven Dutch students," says vice chairman Antonio Barraza. He feels it would be unrealistic to expect the students to speak English all the time.

Another constraint lies in the fact that Dutch and international students' representatives are likely to have different issues on their agendas. And international students are under a lot of time pressure. "They're only here for eighteen months," says chairman Benktesh Sharma. "This means they don't have much knowledge of the student council, nor much time to work on it."

Shital Dixit thinks the responsibilities that come with the work for ISP are hard for some students. She has been working fulltime during the past two months for Infopoint, where freshly arrived international students were welcomed and helped to find their way. "Most international students know ISP exists," says Dixit. Chairman Sharma hopes that new students will want to join the panel.

For more information on the Wageningen University student council see www.wau.nl/sr/

The ISP website is very out of date: www.wau.nl/isp/

Leonie Mossink

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