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23 March 2021

Fighting for your interests in the corporate mill

As chair of the University Student Council, I wrote my first blog in September. We are now over six months further. And a lot has happened in the meantime. 

I have had the opportunity to sit at many tables and have therefore been able to see and hear a lot. One comment from one of these meetings has stayed with me: "VU is a very political organisation. The moment you think you've made an agreement in a meeting, it changes completely as soon as you walk out the door."

I think this is very typical of VU. As student representatives, we are exposed to the administrative mill for a year. The university is suddenly not only primarily a scientific educational institution, but also a company that has to be run practically, with some bureaucratic side effects as a result.       

For me, as a student of administrative and organisational sciences, it is fascinating to see what happens in such a large organisation and how policy is made here.

Our work is like a never-ending chess tournament, in which you beat your opponent to checkmate

As a student council, we have to lobby for our lives and we continue to do so. Many of our initiatives and formal tasks resemble a kind of perpetual chess tournament, in which you have to pinch your opponent to checkmate. We keep going until the organisation has to agree to implement our input on policy or possibly change it.

Last year was a repetition of moves, in which we also encountered a bizarre amount of resistance. As an organisation scientist, this is not unknown to me. In every attempt to realise change, you can count on resistance. As a student, I find it very special to experience this phenomenon in practice.

Despite this resistance, the student council has continued to operate strongly and we have always carried out our tasks in the interest of our students. And we succeeded. I want to mention this because I want to eliminate a misconception.

I sense a tendency to dismiss students who want to talk about content as young naive people. After all, what do we really know? Well I can tell you, a lot! We live the life of a VU student every day and directly experience the consequences of the university's policies. We see up close what is happening and that is extremely valuable.

We work full-time to make VU a better place

We council members are the students on the front line. We denounce issues that affect us all at the highest level of the uni. We also stand up for those who have no voice and take their concerns and complaints seriously. We are committed to the interests and well-being of all students, working full-time to make VU a better place.

So think about that when you meet us at the next round table. We will be ready for a new series of moves and will continue until the next checkmate.

Kata Rakić 

Chair university student council 20/21
k.rakic.usr@vu.nl

Kata Rakic USR-voorzitter 20/21

 

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