The Aurora Universities Network attaches great weight to student involvement, both within universities and as a network. That is why student engagement encompasses one of the four key themes of Aurora.
Students are excited to be an integral part of the network and aim to be a driving force in shaping and achieving its ambitions. Aurora Student Council (ASC) consists of two elected student representatives from each university, who collectively decide on student priorities for their own Aurora activities and student priorities for the network. The Aurora Universities Network offers a unique opportunity for students to exchange experiences and improve the quality of student representation at each university. The elected chair of the Aurora student council participates as an observer in the General Council and Board meetings. They are actively involved in the network’s activities and ensure Aurora’s continued student focus.
Student engagement is a broad concept which may cover i.a.
- Ideas initiated by the student representatives in Aurora for joint Aurora activities.
- Views of student representatives on the overall vision & mission, strategy, and operations of Aurora.
- Active participation in the various thematic and project groups by students with a particular engagement with that topic.
- Activities to strengthen the profile and practice of Aurora universities as institutions that offer their students an engaging education with a lasting impact on their personal development.
- Independent student projects in accordance with student priority.
Furthermore, they’re vouching for – and working on the following projects:
In 2017, the Student Council decided to write a handbook, which serves as a manual and introduction to the network, for all new student representatives who work within Aurora. The Handbook offers information on Aurora’s fundamental character, history, governing structure, working groups as well as the student involvement. Access the Student Handbook.
Summary of recent activities
The Student Council held a mental health workshop during the fifth Aurora summit. There, students discussed that the network should work on an Aurora mental health strategy that all the universities could adapt. This was brought up in a General Council meeting where everyone agreed that this matter was indeed important. There is now a Birds of Feather project for mental health that the University of Iceland is overseeing.
Following this, the Student Council wanted to unite together to spread mental health awareness. The council produced a mental health video, where a student from each Aurora university shares a message in their native language. It was published in May 2019.
About the Mental Health Video
The Student Council finds that mental health should be one of the priorities for the network. It is something that is international, affects everyone and each university should be taking steps to support student and staff in these matters. The video features a message from students within Aurora regarding mental health, and the objective is to raise awareness on the matter.
Summary of recent activities
In the context of the Aurora Sports Days (Wednesday, April 24th, Antwerp), a workshop “Aurora collaboration in the domain of Sport” was held with professionals from the sports offices of Aurora member universities on the same day. Heralding the start of the Aurora Sport Days program as part of the PCU Games 2019.
Representatives from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University of East Anglia presented their institutions’ sports offices policies and activities. The hosting University of Antwerp presented the Project “STICK” (Sport and Academic Talent Integration Through Exchange Programmes in Hockey), supported by the EU through the Erasmus+ programme. The presentations and discussions were seen as useful forms of exchanging information and experiences.
- Jürgen Schmagold from the University of Duisburg-Essen
- Adam Garford from the University of East-Anglia
- Jan Snellen, Mariëlle Spekreijse and Jolanda Seijger from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
- Peter Verboven from the University of Antwerp
About Joint Sports Events | Aurora Sport Days
Students found that for Aurora to become stronger, more students need to participate in the network and it can be in various ways. Students wanted the network to organize a joint event where a broader student group could participate in activities and get to know the network. It was decided to make Aurora Sports Event a priority for students.
The Aurora Student Council is working on a newsletter which the students would publish. The purpose is to bring attention to the work students are doing, what the network is doing and try to reach and raise awareness about the network amongst other students at our universities.
From the start, students have put a significant emphasis on OER within the network. A project group was established under the lead of Anke Petschenka (UDE) who has been a great chair and maintained strong student focus in the group. You can read more about OER under “Innovation of Teaching & Learning”.
In 2019, the ASC hosted a workshop for student representatives where the structure of ASC and student participation within Aurora was discussed in detail. The work on this will continue in 2019 and the first draft of a policy for the ASC presented during the summit in Amsterdam next fall.