Report on European Students' Union meeting and EPICUR networking conference
‘Let’s talk! European degree and legal statute of European Universities’
This online event, organised by the European Students' Union, created the opportunity for all student representatives in European University Alliances and National Student Unions to come together. It allowed for a diverse discussion regarding the EU proposals of a legal statute and of a European degree for the alliances of Higher Education Institutions.
The meeting started with an information session provided by vice president Jakub Grodecki and executive committee member Matteo Vespa from the European Students' Union. They shared foundational knowledge on the development of joint degrees and legal statutes on a European scale. This included important points that are still up for consideration, such as the different criteria a European degree should act in accordance with.
The discussion that followed was driven by two main questions:
- Do you think that it is necessary to have such frameworks in place?
- How would such a structure allow to achieve any of the aforementioned points?
The student representatives were excited about the possible implementation of these new frameworks, and the opportunities it would provide all students. Nevertheless, critical thoughts were brought up as well, showcasing that co-creation with student representatives from a diverse range of alliances is essential to ensure all European student perspectives are heard and understood. This is necessary to make sure that European students will benefit from the development of European degrees and legal statutes.
This event was organised both online and in-person in Vienna by the European Partnership for an Innovative Campus Unifying Regions (EPICUR). The aim was to connect and exchange with different European alliances and to gain insight and inspiration in how student representation is ensured.
Welcoming words were given by Johannes Schützenhofer, chair of the EPICUR Student Board. Following this, student representatives from Circle U, EUniWell, CIVIS, Arqus, and EPICUR presented their alliances and the respective student bodies within the alliances. EUniWell was presented online by CSO Lotte Nagelhout. More specifically, these presentations shared the goal of the student body and how this should be achieved. Furthermore, it was discussed how the student bodies actively participated within the different alliances and their respective work packages. The presentations also brought to attention common challenges, such as the cross-cultural and European-wide nature of these international student boards.
The five alliances that were represented showed great diversity of student bodies, as some consist of up to 40 members, whereas others may have a smaller number of active participants. Additionally, the level of engagement between students and the other aspects of the alliances differed extensively, giving food for thought on how to ensure student democracy on all levels of decision-making within the alliances.
The Networking Conference concluded with a discussion on how to engage with students, especially those who are not already active in other student bodies. This was deemed particularly important, as it is necessary to have student boards that are diverse and representative of all students in a European University Alliance.
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