Science - January 29, 2004

Ukrainian students visit WSO

Ten students from the Ukraine will spend the first week of February with the Wageningen student union, WSO.

The Dutch union members hope to teach the Ukrainians how they can influence managers and the press and increase their activities back home. The visit starts on Saturday 31 January, and is in response to a visit by WSO members to the Ukraine in September last year. The Wageningers went after the European student union concluded that the Ukrainian national students’ union was not democratic enough to join the European umbrella organisation. Sara Mulder was on the trip to the Ukraine: “The university rector is the boss and students the underdog.” Students were afraid to undertake action for fear of being expelled from the university. “Students that had taken part in an anti-war demonstration had been threatened with expulsion,” said Mulder.

WSO has arranged a week of activities for the visitors, including workshops on how to use the press, and how to structure a union organisation. “The students are also interested to learn how student accommodation is organised, as well as how our discount office works,” adds Frans Buschman, who is member of the work group. Above all, Buschman hopes that they end the week with the feeling that students can influence university policies. He also expects to learn things from the visitors: “Maybe our solutions are not always the best either.” The Ukrainians will give a presentation on Monday 2 February, which is open to all, as is the rest of the programme. | Yvonne de Hilster

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