Do you already know who are you voting for? Not yet? Don’t worry! The Jester has some information that might give you guidance for this yearly event at our university.
First things first, what is the Student Council?
All higher education institutions such as WUR must have an SC according to the Law of Higher education and Research Act (WHW in Dutch). This law gives the Student Council four rights on all university policies related to students’ life and issues. 1. Right to (dis) approve, the SC can decide if a policy pass or not, an example of this is the new resits and academic calendar proposal currently being discussed. 2. Right to advice, the SC can give their opinion and must be listened to and taken into account in the form of advice. 3. Right of information, to ask and receive information about what’s going on in the university. 4. Right of initiative, the SC can come up with its ideas and proposals to improve the university.
Why is it important?
The Student Council represents the students’ interest in every decision made by the Executive Board (EB) that intervenes in the student context. Having good representatives means that the EB cannot take a decision that goes against the students’ aims on purpose or unintentionally. Critical representation can put students’ concerns forward on the agenda of WUR.
How does it work?
Officially there are 12 representatives and it’s been a while since WUR’s SC is formed by 3 parties, CSF, S&I and VeSte. The last election results gave CSF 2 seats, S&I 3 seats, and VeSte 7. After almost a year some changes seem to have occurred and some parties have lost members due to disagreements or better job offers. No surprises for a 40 hours a week underpaid job, right?
So let’s have an eye on each party:
VeSte stands in Dutch for United Students and is colloquially known as the white-Dutch party, the nickname is self-explanatory to anyone who takes a look at its representatives, candidates and list pushers. It was formed to represent the interests of the big 5 student associations CERES, SSR, KSV, Argo, and Unitas. In the last years, their motto has been High-quality education.
The Christian Student Faction, represents well, Christians. Let’s not forget that Wageningen is the last corner of the Bible Belt and hosts a wide Christian population. What does religion have to do with policymaking in a scientific university? Only God knows! Their motto is Unity in Equality.
Sustainability and Integration, previously Internationalisation, is known as the international party, sometimes called the Chinese party, since there is always at least one Chinese representative. Is the youngest party and started from the need of representing students that didn’t fit in the Christian or student association category, especially internationals. It is considered the left party after PSF faded and as part of the Green Active Network (GAN) represents these associations’ interests and the country associations around WUR. Creatively enough their motto is more sustainability and better integration.