Group update: february

Every month we will share an update from the group on the website. In this update, the group explains what projects and conversations we are working on within the USC, what issues have been raised in the Joint Assembly and what the opinion of asap is.

XIth fraction of asap

In between cycles, we now have the space to give an update on a number of projects and conversations we are involved in. That is what this group update will focus on. Of course, we are also excited that the Netherlands is slowly opening up again and that we can carefully and increasingly have physical meetings. We hope that you are looking forward to the easing of the measures as much as we are. And of course, we hope to see you again at a physical asap activity soon!

Social Safety

A campus and student life in which people feel safe, respected, and heard has always been very important to asap. Knowing and feeling that one is protected against undesirable behaviour as a result of human actions within or in connection to the university is paramount. Recent events in the media, a report by amnesty, and news of undesirable behaviour at the university demonstrate the big steps that have yet to be taken to ensure social safety. The USC has written a memorandum to tackle this issue. In this memorandum, we sketch the current situation and make recommendations for the university to improve on. This recommandations include, but are not limited to, having yearly surveys to monitor the state of social safety and instating a social safety coordinator and ombudsman for students. The Executive board reacted positively to this memorandum and we will have an open discussion about it in the upcoming cycle.    

Re-usable cups in Huygens

In the light of a more circular economy on campus, we wanted, together with university, to explore options on how to eliminate the single-use cups for a coffee to-go. Luckily, university had already initiated a pilot with the Billie-cup. This cup, is sort of like a bottle with deposit, when buying a coffee, you initially pay extra for that cup. But for every other coffee, you can simply return that cup and get a new one, while the other one gets cleaned and re-used. This pilot has now started in the Huygens building (the faculty of Science) and will hopefully soon also be implemented in other places. 

“Inspraakavond” City Council about international housing

Marie went to the city council in the name of asap and the USC, talking about the experience as an international student at Radboud, especially in regards to housing. This was done as an initiative from Mika Kraft, student at Radboud, group follower of the PvdA and candidate for the upcoming elections, to raise awareness for the problem and make them take a more active part in solving this issue. The details of the conclusion are not fully clear yet, but a suggested solution is, that the municipality will set up points to report problems, to analyse how big the problem is. Furthermore, the story was well received and used as an example to take the problems of international students at Radboud and HAN more serious. This will hopefully be a starting point for the municipality to play a more active role in solving upcoming challenges and to hold Radboud and the HAN more accountable for the issues arising.

Day/Week of the Student board

It’s been a while since we last gave an update on this topic. The idea was to organise a week of the student board instead of just the day of the student board, as was done in recent years. We knew this change will take a while so we started planning for a week in 2023. However, we already wanted to do something extra for this year. So we pitched the idea to have a gala/party for all student boards this year. The policy worker at Student Life and International Mobility (SLIM) was enthusiastic and we had further conversations about the budget and the organisations. In agreement with the chairs of the umbrella associations we decided that it would be nice for the umbrella associations to organise this party. Specifics have yet to follow as we’re trying to combine this party with the afternoon activity the USC and SLIM usually organise, which includes a talk from the Rector. You guessed it, planning a party and day activity on the same day as you want the rector to be available can prove to be a challenge. So, stay tuned for the next update!

Menstrual products

One in ten women sometimes has no money for menstrual products. At Radboud University, 60% of the students are already women. The University Student Council wants to combat menstrual poverty by offering free menstrual products in vending machines. Menstrual poverty means that girls, women and other people who menstruate do not have enough money for products such as sanitary towels or tampons to get through their periods safely and comfortably. An earlier study showed that girls and women without the right products sometimes even stay at home and miss out on education, diversity officer Jeanette Heldens said. This subject is very much alive at the university. Offering free menstrual products promotes the normalisation of this topic and a more inclusive university, because now also menstruating people with a less stable financial situation can come to the university. 

Future-proof education 

Now that the campus is slowly opening up again, we see each other less and less online. Although many students like this, there are obviously also important lessons that we can take away from online education in the lockdown. For example, we are seeing more and more flexible and hybrid options that may be the solution for some students. For example, the current crisis in student housing. The USC makes a strong case for the university to offer the most ideal options to its students. This is done, for example, by the memorandum that was written about the online weblectures. Other possibilities for future-proof education are also being considered. For example, interdisciplinary education is a hot topic, and there are already possibilities in honours and medicine. But we would like to see this come back to the university as a whole. By recognising the overlap in disciplines, they can strengthen each other and we believe that this could be a good enrichment of students’ knowledge.