Tag: student representative

News: Establishing of ESAA met with both enthusiasm and critique

DG EAC formally announced the launch of Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Association (ESAA) this Friday, 12th of June with a kick-off conference. About 250 participants were invited, including founding associations, representatives from the European Comimsion, and stakeholder representatives who have been involved in ESAA.

The new association is supported by DG EAC and represent uniting for existing associations under one umbrella, Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association (EMA), the garagErasmus Foundation and Erasmus+ Oceans.

The website highlights ESAA aim to  be a “dynamic platform for networking, professional development and intercultural learning while promoting European Higher Education and worldwide cooperation”. On the press site, it is also highlighted that the foreseen aim is to develop projects and improve quality of education, in addition to providing an alumni network. You can view the presentations from the launch here, where they highlight the aims of the new organization.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport,  Tibor Navracsics, said about ESAA in the press release: “Erasmus+ is one of Europe’s flagship projects, and rightly so. Studying in another country, whether for a short or longer period, is a great experience for young Europeans: It helps them to enhance their skills as well as to understand and accept cultural and other differences. Student and alumni associations offer crucial support to help young people make the most of this opportunity – before, during and after their stay abroad. That is why I am very pleased that ESAA will help to channel this support and know-how even more effectively. I am looking forward to seeing new activities that will further improve the mobility experience, encourage networking and help promote the opportunities Erasmus+ offers to a wider audience.”

It appears that the event was marked with enthusiasm by those attending, and in social media the role of networking amongst members was frequently highlighted. For discussions and photos from the event – follow the #ESAAkickoff hashtag on Twitter.

However, the establishment of ESAA has also been met with considerable critique from ESU – the European Student Union, who has raised concerns about the representative nature of ESAA, Commission involvement in shaping a student organization and the kind of policy agenda that is being pushed.

Student Spotlight: Interview with new ESU Vice-Chairperson Erin Nordal

We are always delighted to see Hedda students to succeed. So we are particularly delighted about the news in May that Hedda master student Erin Nordal was elected as the vice-chairperson of ESU – the European Student Union. On this occasion we asked Erin a few questions about her new appointment and her views about higher education. 

Erin Nordal  (Photo: NSO)

Erin Nordal
(Photo: NSO)

First of all, congratulations on your new appointment. Could you perhaps tell a little about what your work as a vice-chairperson for ESU will be about?

Thanks so much! As Vice-Chairperson of ESU I will lead an umbrella organisation that represents 47 national unions of students in 39 different countries, in total ca. 20 million students. Together with my two colleagues in the presidency, we are responsible for managing the internal development of the organisation, working with the budget and the staff. We also have a team of 7 other elected members, and 3 members selected by our team. Much of the work we do is focused on advocating for students rights, be they social, economic, cultural or political. We travel to many meetings and events, hold our own conferences and conventions, and speak at r conferences relevant for higher education and students. With the upcoming Bologna Ministerial Meeting in Yerevan in the spring of 2015, we will be placing all efforts on advocating for our policies and contributing to the discussion of the future of the Bologna Process. We will also be working with a new commissioner of education in the European Commission, and building relationships with a new set of members of the European Parliament that were elected in May.

Student union representatives tend to come from quite varied backgrounds – what attracted you to this? Is there a particular aspect about higher education as a field that you find particularly fascinating?

I started out as an exchange student from the United States at the University of Bergen, and I became the chair of the newly established International Committee in the Student Council of the Faculty for Social Sciences, which worked on improving conditions for international students at the faculty, especially focusing on inclusion. From there I was recruited into one of the political parties of the University’s Student Parliament, and I was elected Vice-Chairperson of the Parliament within only 6 months. My interests in student representation kept growing, and a year later I was elected to the executive committee of the National Union of Students in Norway (NSO), as international officer.

Student blogger: International students and democratic deficit?

Enzo Rossi  (University of Oslo)

Enzo Rossi
(University of Oslo)

This guest entry is written by Enzo Rossi, who is a current student of the HEM programme, a former full-time student representative, and the co-founder of Internationalista, a platform that aims at increasing international students’ awareness of democratic processes and  involvement in governance at the University of Oslo. 

Are international students disproportionately underrepresented in formal governance, decision-making and leadership positions? Data for Norway seems to suggest that this is the case for all Norwegian Universities except Stavanger!

Democratisation has been hailed as one of the benefits of student mobility (Guruz, 2008). International students are expected to gain democratic principles from their adopted countries and go back home with an increased respect for democracy and a desire to uphold the rule of law and participate governance and decision making processes, becoming a positive influence for their community. But how can this be operationalised? How can democracy become an integral part of a study programme? One of the easiest ways to involve foreign students in democracy in their place of study is through being involved in student democracy.

Enzoblog2Norway has a long democratic tradition in its universities, and all decision making bodies must have student presence. Norwegian Students’ Unions have a pretty homogeneous way of doing things, they elect representatives for their “student parliament”, the highest decision making body for students, from different political factions present on campus. Several of those are linked to specific political parties and others are based on faculties or interests. Those elected then in turn elect students to take a paid sabbatical year working at the student parliament.

Call for contributions: upcoming book on student governance

studentsAre you working with issues on student governance? A call has been announced for contributions to a book on themes concerning student engagement in contemporary Europe. The broad key themes include:

  • Students’ role in the society: democracy and social justice
  • Student influence on higher education (institutional, national and European level)
  • Student governance on institutional, national and European level

The editors welcome contributions (3000-5000 words) in the following categories:

  • Analytic research articles describe an existing situation (e.g., a policy, organization, or concept), and use that description for some analytic purpose: respond to it, evaluate it according to some specific criteria, examine it for cause-and-effect linkages, contrast it to what happened elsewhere, to what might have been, or to what we have today.
  • Best practices articles focus on offering straightforward, actionable advice on various topics pertaining student unions or student movements.
  • Policy Briefs feature synopses of key policy analysis intended to frame issues, inform decisions and guide policy action in the intersection between research and policy. The article should start with an overview of recommendations, methodology, and a roadmap, not with background material. Article structure should be designed considering findings and recommendations, not according to the steps in your research journey.

For more detailed information about sub-themes and the book outline, see the extended call for proposals (pdf).

Please send your proposal on the attached form (see the extended call for proposals file) containing an outline of the intended article (max 400 words) and your CV or biography by 1 June 2013 to manja.klemencic@gmail.com or rok@esu-online.org and mention in message subject: “CoE book submission”. Authors will be notified by 15 July 2013. Final articles are due 15 December 2013.

HEIK academic seminar about student power in Europe with M. Klemenčič

This video features a presentation by dr. Manja  Klemenčič, titled “Student Power in Europe. The presentation highlights some of the important similarities and differences in how students are organised across Europe and what their role is in higher education governance. It will further highlight how one could analytically understand the organisation of student interests in a cross-European perspective and analyse the institutional change that has taken place in representative student organisations.

Manja  Klemenčič currently is a visiting scholar at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung and CEPS at University of Ljubljana. She holds BA in Economics from University of Maribor (2000), and M.Phil in European Studies (2002) and a PhD in International Studies (2006) both from University of Cambridge. Earlier, she has held fellowship positions at Harvard’s Center for European Studies and School of Government and at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.  Her research interests include the role of students in higher education governance, the development and organisation of student unions and the role of higher education in democratic citizenship.

The lecture was recorded in March 2012 as a part of the academic seminar series of the research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional Dynamics and Knowledge Cultures) at the university of Oslo.