Student Board Workshop 2023: Planning for the future of student representation
The EUniWell Student Board is an integral part of EUniWell’s governance structure with a core mission to develop, co-create, and critically evaluate ideas within EUniWell and to also ensure that student voices are reflected in the development of the European University for Well-Being. The Student Board is led by the Chief Student Officer and two Executive Board Members (collectively known as the Student Executive Team), and is made up of two student representatives from each partner university. On 22 and 23September, members of the Student Board came together in Cologne for their second annual workshop.
Building on the success of last year's inaugural Student Board workshop that focused on team building, this year’s edition came at a particularly important time as we approach the start of EUniWell’s second funding phase this November. Hence, this year’s workshop provided the opportunity for the Student Board to review their working practices and achievements since its founding three and a half years ago, while working out a collective vision and goals for student representation and engagement for EUniWell’s next phase. The two-day workshop was devised and delivered by Liam Walsh (Chief Student Officer), Letizia Di Donato (Executive Board Member) and Tanya Gautam (Student Coordinator), and was broken up into four main sessions.
The first session, jointly delivered by EUniWell’s Managing Director, Dr Graham Harrison, provided new Student Board members with an introduction to EUniWell and set out the core plans for the upcoming second phase of the Alliance. The second session was used to review the expectations and responsibilities of Student Representatives, along with a wider evaluation of the status of student engagement with EUniWell at each partner university.
On day two, the third session which focused on cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion was excellently delivered by Dr Britt Dahmen (Head of the Department of Gender & Diversity Management at the University of Cologne), providing the Student Board with the necessary skills and knowledge to actively engage with these important themes in all work going forward. The final session of the workshop was used to brainstorm short- and long-term student-led initiatives for the Student Board to work on in the next phase. These initiatives were inspired by EUniWell’s five thematic focuses of well-being, and some of the ideas presented during the workshop included a seminar series on decolonising education, international cultural exchanges on EUniWell campuses, and an academic conference on eco-anxieties.
Altogether, the activities and discussions held in these four sessions curated a renewed vision for the Student Board to take forward into EUniWell’s second phase, one that focuses on encouraging and delivering student-led initiatives across the Alliance, while ensuring that students’ educational commitments are not dwarfed by their contributions to the work of the Student Board. Moving forward, it will be a priority of the Student Executive Team to ensure this balance is maintained and to continue to find ways to align the working practices of the Student Board with the core values of EUniWell. For example, plans are being made to introduce two new roles within the Student Board – a diversity and inclusion officer and a sustainability officer.
Opportunities to work together in-person are highly valuable to the Student Board to develop closer working relationships outside of the normal online work environment and they will next be meeting in-person at the upcoming Rectors’ Assembly and EUniWell Showcase in Murcia this November! During the Showcase, the Student Board will be able to share the main outcomes of the Student Board workshop and will also have the chance to present the work representatives have achieved locally at their respective universities.
The Student Board would like to thank Katharina Schlepper for her assistance in organising the workshop.
If you would like to know more about the Student Board or if you are interested in contributing your ideas, please feel free to contact Chief Student Officer, Liam Walsh (cso[at]euniwell.eu) or the student representatives from your university!
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