Are you interested in NovUM or student representation, but don’t know how to get involved?
Several options exist, such as becoming a NovUM student representative in one of UM’s councils.
You may wonder: what are UM’s councils? How do I become a student representative? What is it to be a student representative? We got you, keep reading!
What are UM’s councils?
The councils represent UM’s staff and students and impact UM’s direction. Depending on the matter, the councils advise on new initiatives from the university/faculty, consent to them, assess them, monitor them and/or submit proposals for new initiatives. Learn more about the councils with this short video NovUM has created for you.
Concrete examples of what the councils have done so far are:
- Creating a platform for students having trouble finding a room
- Implementing e-lectures and e-books in most faculties
- Increasing the number of study places and extending their opening hours
- Reducing the time students have to wait to see UM’s psychologists
- Making UM more accessible for people using wheelchair
- Making available free Dutch language courses for all UM students
- Increasing the quality, diversity and sustainability of UM’s food
- Implementing the Green Office and waste separation
Each council has a fixed number of seats: 20 in the University Council; 18 in the FHML Council; 12 in the FSE, Law Faculty, and SBE Council; and 10 in the FASoS and FPN Council. In each council, the students and the staff equally share these seats (e.g., in the University Council, student representatives have 10 seats, and staff representatives have 10 seats). Every year, UM holds elections to renew the student and staff council members.
How to become a student representative in the council?
The response is straighforward: get elected! As the councils are elected bodies, UM holds elections every year around the end of the second semester for new members to enter the university and faculty councils. You can run in the elections as an independent candidate, but this gives you less chances to be elected because you will benefit from the votes you gather. Conversely, when you run on the list of a student party, you benefit from the votes that everyone on the list gathered. You thus have more chances to get elected; there is a real benefit to running on a party list!
Now, why run on a NovUM list specifically? Campaigning in the elections will help you develop skills such as creativity and resourcefulness to develop a unique campaign and interpersonal skills to communicate at best with people and get your message across. In addition to this, NovUM organises diverse workshops with specialists for you to learn or deepen skills such as debating and writing manifestos. Running in the elections, especially with us, will thus enable you to develop plenty of skills that you can showcase later!
What is it to be a student representative?
There is two main areas of work as a student representative.
Firstly, you participate in the council meetings. They happen once a month and during those, you tackle what is on the agenda with the other council members. You thus learn about what is going on at UM and, depending on the agenda item, you can make comments and ask questions, vote, or make proposals. You can also put items on the agenda to discuss what you think matters for the university/faculty. Each council has its own internal structure, so you might have another meeting, for instance only with the student representatives.
Additionally, the members of each council join committees to work on specific topics, such as mental health, diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, employability, etc. As each council has its own internal structure, the nature and workings of the committees, as well as the frequency at which each committee meets, depend on the council to which you are elected.
What is the advantage of being a NovUM student representative? All throughout the year, we help you achieve your goals in the council by assisting you with anything you need, as well as regularly discussing with the other NovUM councillors what can be done to be more efficient in the councils. Together, we go the extra mile!
Working in the council and committees give you a real chance at knowing and influencing UM’s decision making and developing valuable skills, such as communicating, support building, proposals writing, and team working. Do you want to learn more about your specific council? Contact us or our student representatives sitting in the council in which you are interested!