Let the student reps campaign begin !

In the next 24 hours, we will be voting for our student representatives. La Voix du Collège asked every candidate known to us at the time of the printing deadline to write a few words about why s/he is candidate and what s/he can offer the students.

Edit: Congratulations to Fabio Vidal, Asil Khalafov (ECO-EEIB), Sascha Daghofer, Alessandro de Giacomo (IRD) Jani Erkkilä, Veronika Vargova (POL), Andrés Borja Alcaraz and Cecilia Nieuwenhout (Law).

I want to be student rep for you’, ‘I will listen to you’ and other similar and very surprising altruistic declarations have been popular amongst candidates lately. We are still waiting for a candidate to come out and say ‘actually, I’m a candidate for myself’, which would be much more honest. This is not to say that candidates should be accused of telling lies; however, this way, students can expect more than simple ‘paroles en l’air’, as we say in French, from the candidate. Here is a short summary of their promises.

Last year's student reps
Last year’s student reps

We asked the candidates what kind of student rep they intended to be once elected. Availability was naturally mentioned very often. Sanna Widen (Law) and Lucie-Belle Dissirier (IRD) emphasized that they want to be proactive student reps. Taha Bousmaha (IRD) believes that the position is not about having privileges, and along with Stefan Dumitru (POL), speaks about being “energetic”. Ginevra Sponzilli (POL) wants to be a “passionate” student rep if she’s elected. Veronika Vargova (POL), Sascha Daghofer (IRD), Zakaria God (IRD), Asif Khalafov (ECO), Ernest Petrosyan (ECO) and Irina Pop (ECO) commit to be reliable. The latter also underlines her coolness; however she warns that she is no babysitter but rather that she will facilitate and improve processes. She also emphasizes her discreetness, similarly to Fabio Vidal (ECO), who has promised to respect the confidentiality of his complaining classmates. As well as this, he has assured us that he will be both persistent and determined. Cecilia Nieuwenhout (Law) has underlined that diplomacy is an important quality for a student rep, whereas her classmate Isil Ergec (Law) emphasized her personal experience, and Olga Chilat (EEIB) as well. She also mentions the importance of equality, whereas Kingsleigh Viollet (Law) refers to democracy.

Creativity-wise, the answers to this question leave much to be desired at the moment of sending this issue to the printer. Ginevra Sponzili (POL) has already posted some sentences of great thinkers to give an idea of the principles that will fuel her mandate.

Once we looked past these declarations of intent, we had a look at the proposals of the candidates, and how they would be implemented. One exception, however, is Borja Alcaraz (Law). While he promises to be a “true”, “available” and “multitasked” student rep, he nevertheless refuses to promise “uncanny, unrealistic promises”. A nuance applies to Sascha Daghofer (IRD) and Kingsleigh Viollet (Law) who assure us that they don’t want to make any promises they won’t be able to keep, even if the latter has still made quite a few promises.

Concrete proposals
The canteen is naturally a very hot topic, especially in light of the students’ daily frustration as they pick hopelessly at their serving of potatoes. Whereas Taha Bousmaha (IRD) and Veronika Vargova (POL) propose fewer potatoes, Alessandro de Giacomo (IRD), Sascha Daghofer (IRD), Olga Chilat (EEIB) and Ginevra Sponzili (POL) call for healthier food in general.

The library is also usually a very popular topic of student elections in general, and the campaign at the College of Europe is no exception in this regard. Sascha Daghofer (IRD), Kingsleigh Viollet (Law) and Olga Chilat (EEIB) ask for prolonged library opening hours. The proposal of Jani Erkkilä (POL) is maybe the most specific. He would like to develop a “software that would automatically reference books in the College reference style”. Alessandro de Giacomo (IRD) would like to strengthen the links between students and the IT office on digital matters.

Cecilia Nieuwenhout (Law) focuses on academic issues, notably promising to refer to the department if the workload becomes too heavy. Her classmate Isil Ergec (Law) addresses the same issue. Sanna Widen (Law) is willing to fight for more tutorials and digital syllabuses. Mathilde Thibault (Law) emphasizes the sharing of lecture notes. These seem to suggest that the academic workload is a very sensitive topic for the LL.M. candidates. Olga Chilat (EEIB) and Ernest Petrosyan (ECO) also address stress management, the latter by proposing sports activities. With regards to the language rule, Lucie-Belle Dissirier (IRD) suggests tandems between French speakers and English speakers in relation to our essays and papers.
Stefan Dumitru (POL) focuses on communication and unit as vital aspects of being a student rep.

Lucie-Belle Dissirier (IRD), Isil Ergec (Law) and Asif Khalafov (ECO) are the only candidates who mention extra-curricular activities. Whereas Lucie-Belle Dissirier would like to set up regular charity projects, Isil expresses her enthusiasm about the TEDx project. Ginevra Sponzilli (POL) also suggests organizing social events.

Jani Erkjilä (POL) is the only candidate to mention the Bruges community, declaring that he would open a dialog between them, the students and the administration of the College.

Some candidates also address post-College life. Sanna Widen (Law), Kingsleigh Viollet (Law), Zakarya God (IRD) and Alessandro de Giacomo (IRD) mention employment and career perspectives. More concretely, Mathilde Thibault (Law) and Veronika Vargova (POL) would like to work closely with the Careers office on networking.

Zakarya God (IRD) is the only candidate who mentions working together with the student reps of the other departments on some general issues such as the canteen. He would also like to involve students in the IRD decision-making process.

We as students are being offered a buffet of promises from each candidate, which should help us make our decision – unless one of us has already been corrupted by a candidate with a coffee or a beer.

Let the games begin. And may the odds be ever in you favor.

Interviews conducted by Victor Sole and Guillermo Begue

Have a look at the candidates’ own presentations !

ECO :
Asif Khalafov
Ernest Petrosyan

EEIB :
Olga Chilat
Irina Popa
Fabio Vidal

IRD :
Taha Nito Bousmaha
Sascha Daghofer
Alessandro de Giacomo
Lucie-Belle Dissirier
Zakaria God

LAW :
Andrés Borja Alcaraz
Isil Ergec
Cecilia Nieuwenhout
Mathilde Thibault
Kingsleigh Viollet
Sanna Widen

POL:
Stefan Marian Dumitru
Jani Erkkila
Ginevra Sponzilli
Veronika Vargova

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