University council fights for old-school student card

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The tangible student card needs to make a come-back, according to a letter the University Council sent the Executive Board. It can be modernized if needed, the council members say, but the digital card we have now, isn’t enough.

This academic year, the UU was the first university in the Netherlands to replace the student card with a digital one that only exists in the MyUU app. It was a more sustainable option, but students quickly encountered various issues. It wasn’t always possible to retrieve your student card when offline, and the digital one wasn’t always taken seriously – a problem similar to ones students face when printing their certificate of registration.

Students at the faculty council of the Faculty of Humanities are now asking the University Council to make it possible to receive a paper version of their student cards for free. Although they appreciate the sustainability argument, they state the current set-up causes too many problems to function properly. “The university states that both a digital and a paper version of the certificate of registration are valid, but that doesn’t mean that every university, museum or sports club sees things the same way.” By offering students the option of requesting a paper student card, “the university will be cutting back without hindering students who really need a tangible version of their student card,” according to the faculty council.

All students of other faculty councils concur with the Faculty of Humanities’ resistance, according to a letter from the University Council addressed to the Executive Board. The Students council of the Faculty of Medicine adds that they are enthusiastic proponents of a plastic student card that can be used for the entirety of the student’s enrollment to borrow books, print documents, identification purposes and other uses. The University Council agrees with this solution, because a student card like that would have more functions than before.

The University Council also states that the Executive Board shouldn’t underestimate the social aspect of a tangible student card. “For many students, the tangible student card acted as a physical branding and connection to the organization. The UU was literally carried everywhere by the student. By abolishing the student card, this emotional value has been lost with it. That doesn’t fit with the university’s ambitions of forming a community, which was named as a crucial goal in the university’s strategic plan 2016-2020.”

In the letter, the students’ council asks the Executive Board whether they acknowledge the shortcomings of the digital student card and support the idea that the tangible student card is valuable in forming a community. The University Council also asks the Executive Board whether they have a solution to the current problems, and whether they agree with the solution suggested by the Faculty of Medicine.

The university board and council will meet on February 19th. Answers to these questions are expected on the same day.

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