'Give policy a well-founded push in the right direction'

| Rense Kuipers

Crisis or not, the elections for the University Council are scheduled for next week. This year, students have a choice of four parties for a seat in university politics. In this mini-series, the leading candidates take turns to present their respective parties. This third episode: Max de Vries of UReka.

Photo by: SHOTMANIACS.COM

Face and voice of the party

‘We are the oldest and above all a very diverse party; we are represented from and in every faculty and over the years we have built up many close connections with numerous committees and associations. In addition, we are the only party associated with the Dutch National Student Association (ISO, ed.) that represents the interests of 750 thousand students in the Netherlands. We are not necessarily of the hyperambitious perspectives; interests are often too broad and too complex for that. We use the connections we have and try to push policy in the right direction, as well-founded as possible.’

Three focal points

1. ‘First of all, we as UReka stand for high quality and small-scale education. Through strong connections with study associations, we represent the vision and concerns of all study programmes at the central level. Next academic year, we want to keep a close eye on the TOM 2.0 transition for students. Moreover, small-scale education is a great commodity; the ability to visit a professor to ask a question after the lecture is the true identity of the UT. You're not a number here, you're a person. We should cherish that.’

2. ‘We find the integration of international students extremely important: both at the UT and at industries in the Netherlands after graduation. We strive to create a unified UT community through representing student perspective on internationalization policies. In our opinion, integration works both ways, so there is a role for both Dutch and international students to stimulate that integration. Additionally, the employability of (international) students after graduation has our full attention. Together with other UT departments UReka works on a proposal of offering a minor that focuses on Dutch corporate culture and language to improve the employability of our international students.’

3. Student wellbeing in combination with study pressure is definitely one of our priorities. We want a bottom-up study to see where the real problems are among students. In recent years, for example, the UT has focused on the support system and additional student psychologists, but we want to get to see where the problems truly originate so we can fix the cause of the problem. Maybe it's the strict 0 or 15 EC requirements? And maybe it's the experience of integration? You can't see our focal points separately from each other. We will raise our voice to improve student wellbeing.’

The role of the corona crisis?

‘The impact of Corona-crisis on students and staff has our full attention. As we look to support our students through the crisis, we also see it as an opportunity. For example, we see online education as an extension, but absolutely not as a replacement for regular education. Through strong connections with ISO, we are able to highlight student concerns on a national level. For instance, ISO researched that 54.000 students suffer a study delay due to the Corona crisis. Those connections can help find solutions for our UT-students. In these uncertain times, we are concerned about student welfare. We want to help ensure that everyone can return to campus safely. The campus is indispensable for everyone.’

facts & Figures

  • Party: UReka
  • Established: 2001
  • Current number of university council members: 6
  • Number of people on the election list: 15
  • Link to party program