April 2011. The student parties are out again in order to warm-up for the up-coming elections. The challenge for everybody again: let's work on our legitimacy! With only around 30% participation in the elections, most students seem to be very reluctant to have confidence in their students parties. Where is the master topic to get the students to the polls? Will it be the Green Office praised by NovUM or the long waiting time for the printers articulated by DOPE?
The elections from 16 to 29 May will show. Aren't these parties mere career springboards for ambitious students who would like to push up their CVs? Maybe it becomes more attractive to you when you know that you also get at least a little reimbursed for your effort, also financially by the University. Further topics need to be crystallized. Visibility, transparency and student participation throughout the whole academic year might be the topics of first rank for all parties. Today it seems that the parties are only interested in the communication with students to get their votes - where are the on-going public debates beside the councils? What has been achieved in student politics? And please, minutes should be easier accessible than just somewhere in ELEUM. Some steps have been made to integrate the students via online opinion polls - more of that! As a student of Maastricht University, I would like to take part in decisions concerning my studies. Not least that I am paying for it.
Another problem: that the elections only take place at the end of the academic year means that mostly and only second year students are in the councils. The parties look for new candidates at the end of the students first year, the elections are run, they become council members in the second year and in the 3rd year most are going abroad. It would be much more wise to have the elections at the beginning of the academic year so that the newly arriving students become directly attached to student politics. Students could theoretically run for elections twice and be council members for two years as well, the institutional knowledge would be kept more easily within the students parties.
Kalle Kosthorst, second year student at Fasos