Election Program SOG: more than just studying!
2013-‐2014 Studentenorganisatie Groningen Sint Walburgstraat 22b 9712 HX Groningen www.studentenorganisatie.nl firstname.lastname@example.org
Worldwide RUG: create the perfect international environment for students!
The RUG is not only defined as the perfect international environment for students because of its various English-‐taught degrees and its lively atmosphere around the university; but it also aims to offer the right solutions for students’ needs. The SOG are the voice for internationals at the University as they are the only party, for the second time in a row, that is putting forward an international student as a candidate for the University Council. For the purpose of being close to internationals’ desires, SOG comes up with new ideas: summer school possibilities all around the world, better internship opportunities and always the chance for internationals to become an integrated part of the Dutch community during their studies. On top of this we propose more participation of the university on abroad studying affairs to stimulate the application of students from around the world. Helping internationals find their way in Groningen
SOG understands the needs and the issues that internationals face even before their arrival in Groningen. And the SOG are trying to overcome them by getting involved! Answering questions such as ‘Where to stay? How to get a part time job? How to travel cheaply? Are there any other students from my country?’ are essential for an easy transition to Groningen. The solution to this would be the establishment of a platform between the prospective students and the current students so that the ‘new arrivals’ could benefit from the best student tips beforehand and make the best use of them. Access to Facebook groups like ‘housing in Groningen’ ‘for sale in Groningen’ could prove to be really useful. Moreover, the accommodation problem could be solved by the university in another way as well: finding Dutch families that are willing to offer a room in their house for exchange students and putting them in contact with the prospective students before arrival. Consequently, the exchange students would easier pick up the language while enjoying an ‘all inclusive Dutch experience’. Dutch courses A better integration in the local community? Learn Dutch! SOG considers it essential that every international is offered the chance to acquire a certain level of Dutch. For this, we have already fulfilled part of our mission by getting 50-‐hour free language courses for those internationals that follow any degree at the RUG. Furthermore, the SOG even ensured that students who are already fluent in German will have access to a “Dutch for German native speakers” track, allowing for more efficient results. However, as the saying goes, ‘the more the better’. Therefore, we would like to go further and set our goal in providing the same opportunity for exchange students as well. Moreover, we will strive for getting more affordable courses at the language centre for those students who are willing to put more
effort in order to upgrade their level after completing the free basic track. The project will result in a better integration of the students in the local community and would enable the students to get a job alongside their studies. Internships Make your way to the top with better preparation for your career! In order to support and facilitate our students accessing better jobs in the near future and to help them effectively determine their area of interest, SOG wants to implement the ‘internship program’ both during and at the end of the studies. We consider the university should be actively involved in providing us with the possibility of gaining a certain amount of experience in our field of study in order to become valuable candidates for the remorseless competitive job market. Why do we want this? Because we aim for higher employment rates for our students! We aim for easier access for our students to the labour market! We want to assure that a degree from RUG comes with many long term benefits! Summer schools
In order to gain a broader understanding of the subjects covered by the RUG; and for enabling them to experience different approaches to those matters, SOG proposes summer schools! The perfect opportunity for the motivated student to enhance an international experience! And it comes with multiple benefits: gaining more knowledge in their field of interest, enabling worldwide connections with students from different countries, exploring new cultures and expending one’s perspectives. In exchange the project will take place in Groningen as well, so students from other universities will come here for 2 weeks, something that would act as international promotion for the RUG. So these summer schools offer a great alternative for spending 2 weeks of your holidays in an efficient and fun way abroad. The RUG University is already highly popular among international students as the rate of foreign students is increasing every year by 10 %. This is partly due to the RUG successfully satisfying students’ needs by providing them with studying rooms, an on-‐line library, virtual learning , academic and financial advice. Additionally, SOG would be glad to put into practice more useful projects concerning life at RUG in order to make the students feel more part of the community and to make their years as a student in Groningen be the time they ever will have.
Excellent facilities are essential for the SOG
The SOG proudly announces that the opening-‐hours of the UB will be expanded because of the efforts of the SOG this year. In order to safeguard this implementation, we will keep an eye on it so that it remains like this. During the past years, we have seen more and more
students appreciate studying at the RUG Libraries. Because of this increase, there is now a shortage of available workplaces in the faculty libraries and in the UB. This year, we will make sure that the availability of workplaces won’t dwindle further and we will do everything possible to create more workplaces. In addition to this, there are often no vacant computers available so students are left without. We plead for more outlets for laptops and tablets to reduce this problem. Also, we'd like to enable wireless printing at the university libraries, in order to create the possibility to print directly from your own laptop. Lastly, we have noticed that the website “MyUniversity” is not easy accessible. We therefore would want to ensure that this website will become clearer for every student! The canteens of the RUG also draw our attention. Healthy nutrition is important, and the SOG therefore stands for an affordable and a quality array of food in the RUG canteens! In addition to this, we would like to plead for the expansion of canteen opening-‐hours, since it closes already at 4pm (or even earlier) during exam periods. In these periods the UB is crowded and the majority of the students prefer to study in the library all day, therefore it is essential that the canteen opening hours be expanded. The SOG is also currently setting up a Food & Drinks Committee.
The SOG wants a quality-‐upgrade of professors and student-‐ assistants
As students we need to pay more and more for our education, and of course we want good professors in return! The SOG aims therefore for well qualified professors, who should be assessed and need to have obtained a basic teaching qualification (BKO) if they want to work at the RUG. One of the SOG’S goals is that the level of English of professors should improve, since not all of them master the English language to an acceptable level. In addition, the SOG wants more stringent quality requirements for student-‐assistants. In this way the SOG hopes to achieve a quality-‐upgrade of teachers at the RUG.
Studying is personal development
The presence of student associations in Groningen creates a better student climate within the university and the city. We want students to always have the opportunity to become an active member of any association next to their studies, whether that is a sports-‐, study-‐, or student association. We are of the opinion that such opportunities for extracurricular activities should remain in existence to strengthen the personal development of all students. As well as this, the SOG demands that it should be possible to excel within your study. This is one of the reasons that we cherish the Honours’ College program and we strongly support the expansion of the faculty Honours’ programs. Next to this, the SOG pays a lot of attention to the sport associations and sport facilities in Groningen. Top-‐athletes should always be
supported through proper regulations in cooperation with the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and the municipality.
No Binding Study Advice (BSA) in year 2 and 3
Students should not be deterred and burdened with unnecessary obligations. The university should be a place where you can develop yourself, without too many restrictions. Good education will not be achieved with a higher BSA, it will be achieved through improvement of education itself. We stick to this belief and we will under no circumstances accept a BSA in year 2 and 3.
A link between education and your career
Students should be supported in their search for suitable posts for an internship and should be able to get advice easily concerning their future career plans. For this, the SOG strives for the wider availability of internships, both at companies and at the RUG. We also plead for better use of the facilities that can be offered by the career-‐office “Next”. The SOG is of the opinion that every student should be able to prepare themselves for the labour market and their future career.
More freedom in choosing the contents of your minor-‐space
It should be possible for students to choose courses for their minor that interest them: fixed packages that force you to follow certain modules are undesirable. The SOG pleads for more freedom to customise your minor and would like to create more options to fill your minor-‐ space with. That is why the SOG wants space for the specialisation and the deepening of subjects the student is interested in most. Through more exchange programs, cross-‐faculty minor packages and internships (at firms and at the RUG) the quality of education will definitely increase.
Entrepreneurship during your studies is an investment for the future
In the coming years, there will be a greater need for starting student enterprises and the SOG is of the opinion that the RUG should contribute to this. To encourage students to start their own company, the RUG should award a prize for the best student-‐entrepreneur. This prize will motivate student entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas further and it will acknowledge the outstanding achievement of the entrepreneur. The SOG is an advocate of a centrally organised organ, within the RUG, to stimulate entrepreneurship. It is important that every student will come into contact with knowledge concerning entrepreneurship. Through guest-‐lectures by successful student entrepreneurs, students could become inspired to create their own firm. In this way we hope to not only prepare students for jobs on the labour market, but also to create jobs themselves.
No 'school-‐year system', but rather Learning Communities
The school-‐year system is not a good solution to bump up students’ success rates. The SOG is of the opinion that this system operates at the expense of students and the quality of education. Learning Communities can be seen as a more appropriate tool to improve the quality of education. A learning community will provide small-‐scale education in which study associations should play a central role. Through active participation in seminars and lectures, students should receive better understanding of the subject matter and, creating more discussion. It should be made clear that this participation is a choice and no obligation, in this way the freedom of choice of students will be guaranteed.