Science - May 27, 2004

International students represented in all student parties for first time

The annual elections for the university student council take place between 27 May and 6 June. For the first time there are international student candidates for all three parties, and PSF’s number one candidate is an American. While there are few differences between the demands of the different parties, their attitudes and ‘culture’ differ. Wb asked a number of the international candidates what they are aiming to change if they are elected.

PSF

PSF is the oldest student party in Wageningen, formed around 1971 by revolutionary students engaged in national politics. The party is now more locally oriented, although still progressive and tries to represent all students. At present four out of twelve members of the student council are from the PSF. Jasmine Osorio is the number one candidate on the PSF list for the coming elections. Osorio is doing an MSc in Environmental Science with a focus on politics. She has been involved in student politics in her home country, the United States. According to Osorio, the PSF can be recognised by its pro-active stance. “We don't wait for the agenda to come to us. We pro-actively strive for our goals. Sometimes we carry out creative activities to highlight issues. We gave a bike to the members of the university executive board to highlight their expensive cars in the light of the budget problem.” Unlike the other parties PSF does not automatically trust the executive board. “Student welfare is not their only priority.”

Osorio wants to become a councillor to help bridge the gap between Dutch and international students. “I speak some Dutch, which will be helpful during this first transition year from an all-Dutch to international Student Council. I speak English fluently which helps me better represent students’ wishes.” The PSF has the longest list of things they want to achieve next year. One of their main points is more freedom for students, which means fewer compulsory classes and fewer compulsory components within the classes. Uxue Donezar from Spain and Wei Qin from China are also on the PSF candidate list, Donezar is fourth and Qin seventh. Both have been active in student bodies in their home countries. They expect to have more power if they join the WU student council than they had in their home countries. Wei studied at the China Agricultural University and the problems of the Chinese undergraduate students here struck a chord with him, so he wants to help to solve the problems they encounter.

See www.wau.nl/psf

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