Figures also show a downward trend in activism

| Rense Kuipers

The Student Union notes a 'general decline in the number of active members' among associations, according to the recently published activism monitor 2023. The study and world associations in particular are struggling with declining activism.

To illustrate, the Create Tomorrow committee last year. The event will not take place this year because no new committee was found.

The activism monitor confirms the concerns expressed by the University Council and rector Tom Veldkamp earlier this month. 'It's an acute problem, both for larger and smaller activism. We have to face the fact that activism is declining and that boards are struggling to find new board members,’ said Oliver Davies of student party UReka.

'Downward trend'

The activism monitor provides figures behind that expressed concern. Last autumn, boards of associations filled in the data, at the request of the Student Union. One of the conclusions in the monitor: 'Although there are some sector-specific differences, there is a general decrease in the share of active members compared to the data from 2021 and 2022.' This 'downward trend' is particularly visible in the study and world associations and much less clearly in the social, sports and culture associations.

Active EEA students

The monitor also looks specifically at activism among international students and the composition of committees. International students are less likely to be members of an association, the monitor concludes. 'But the international students who are members of an association are often active, especially when it comes to students from the European Economic Area countries’.

Another conclusion is the large difference between the sectors in terms of the academic year of the committee members. The committee work at the culture, sports and world associations is mainly on the shoulders of fifth-year students and above. In the categories 'other', 'social' and study associations, the committees consist mainly of first- to third-year students, with the majority consisting of third-year students.

Implementation plan

The Student Union previously announced that it was working on an implementation plan to boost activism. According to Student Union chairman Xander Bon, this is 'in an exploratory phase', for which the SU is holding talks with student assessors, University Council members and the Strategy & Policy department. It is still unclear when the plan will be finished.

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