In September, student board members presented the mayor with a plan of action. Photo: Desiree Meulemans

Executive Board announces more support for student board members

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The Executive Board voiced its appreciation for the university’s student board members in a letter published today, offering them more facilities for the coming period. This is a response to an open letter signed by over forty student organisations, which asked for more recognition for their board work amidst the corona crisis.

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This year, the life of a student board member is anything but easy. They’re trying their best to keep student life vibrant, but are simultaneously aware of the dangers of the corona crisis, and they function within the boundaries of the health regulations. “We received many signs from board members that they were struggling with this, and that they’re not getting a lot of recognition for their difficult position. We wanted to do something with this,” says Sya Huijskens, member of the University Council for the Partij van de Utrechtse Student (PvdUS).

She was one of the initiators of the open letter that was sent to the Executive Board in late October. The letter was signed by over forty student organisations - from student associations and study associations to sports clubs, Vidius, and all the parties in the University Council. The letter says: “Students’ morale is dropping as a result of the constant cancelling of events, ceremonies, and (introductory) activities. A public word of support and recognition for the current efforts would, in our opinion, have a positive effect, and would greatly improve the sense of mutual communication and understanding between Utrecht University and its students.”

Quick response from the board
The board’s response came within a week. The board says it’s aware that this period requires enormous resilience and empathy from the student board members. The board is extremely grateful to the students that they’ve been so flexible, and – among other things – worked together with the municipality to create a plan of action to reduce the number of infections among students.

The board is also presenting a number of concrete measures to facilitate the student board members’ jobs. In December, for instance, a virtual dinner will be organised for the hundred largest associations; additional training will be provided to student board members, and the expansion of subsidies for activities will continue throughout 2021. The latter is a subsidy for associations that have had higher expenses as a result of corona.

The Executive Board also wants to organise additional contact times with the student boards to strengthen the connections, and more office-meeting facilities will be made available, to the extent that this is allowed by the government measures.

In an initial reaction, the students say they’re happy with the board’s response. They say it’s a beautiful show of support in difficult times.

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