Every year, AKKUraatd writes a new Election Programme. The whole programme is thoroughly worked out by everyone involved within AKKUraatd. The new candidates for the elections create the Election Programme and the finetuning is done by other AKKUraatd members and members of AKKU, with different backgrounds and studies. This way, we create an Election Programme that contains the most important points of improvement at Radboud University. It’s not too long, but no too short either. It prepares us for all things to come during a year in the University Student Council. The whole Election Programme can be read via the link below.
Download the Election Programme here, swipe through it, or view the points one by one below!
Go through the election program per subject!
In this day and age, climate change is one of the gravest challenges ahead of us. The field of education ought to train future generations to take on a relevant role in society in which sustainability occupies a key position. AKKUraatd believes that Radboud University should lead the way in the field of sustainability. We argue in favour of integrating sustainability within the core business of universities: education and research. Building on the knowledge within our university, AKKUraatd wishes to contribute to making the university even more sustainable. We also want to strengthen the university’s position as a platform where innovative ideas in the area of sustainability are formulated
- Student gardenerRadboud University has a green campus, but the inside of the buildings could still be a lot greener. Many buildings do not have plants and the buildings that do contain plants are usually fake. We can truly see how beautiful a building that contains a lot of greenery and real plants can be when we look at Maria Montessori. This provides proven positive effects on the brain and the state of mind, among other things, which is good for the hard-working students and staff.
AKKUraatd would therefore like to see more greenery in the buildings of our university and wants to create a new position called the student gardener. A student gardener will be responsible for caring for the plants inside the buildings. In addition, these students will also be able to think about the layout of the plants at the university. This new position will ensure that the current fake plants in the buildings can be replaced by real plants. Apart from these green benefits, this new position will also be a fun side job for students.
- A greener campus
AKKUraatd argues in favour of a low-traffic, green campus where students can be found outside more often during their break, but also during their studies or work. To reach this goal, AKKUraatd has, just like in previous years, formulated three points concerning this theme:1) An easily accessible, low-traffic campus
AKKUraatd has advocated for a low-traffic campus for years now; not only to stimulate biking and walking on and nearby the campus but to also create a safe and peaceful environment that a low-traffic campus can ensure. The Campusplan of the university contains new plans to make the Erasmuslaan and the Heyendaalseweg low-traffic areas with the input of AKKUraatd. AKKUraatd would like to press ahead with these plans since a lot is still to be executed. Naturally, the campus also has to remain easily accessible. That is why AKKUraatd will do everything in its power to ensure that a low-traffic campus still contains good public transportation services to the campus.
2) More green on campus
A greener campus helps inspire and motivate people to come to the campus. More space for greenery on campus is much needed given the reduction of biodiversity in the Netherlands. AKKUraatd believes that the university should take it upon themselves to reverse this decline and change it to more biodiversity, starting on the campus. AKKUraatd wants to achieve this by opening up places like the area of the Linnaeusbuilding and filling it with greenery. In addition, AKKUraatd wants to develop an Erasmuspark that will contribute to a green environment at the heart of the campus. Finally, AKKUraatd pleads for more vegetation on buildings.
3) Relaxing in the open air
Our campus already has beautiful surroundings which are often undiscovered or difficult to find. The university has to encourage students and employees to study and/or work in the open air and make sure these places are easy to find. This way, students and employees will be stimulated to relax in a healthy way, inside and outside of working hours. An example of actively promoting working outside could be to promote the already existing campus walking routes.
- Sustainable meals
Meat- and dairy production have a considerable impact on the environment. AKKUraatd thinks that the university should set a good example in the field of sustainability. The number of animal food products on campus should therefore be reduced and instead replaced by sustainable and plant-based alternatives. AKKUraatd strives for catering facilities to provide plant-based alternatives at a lower price than animal food products in order to stimulate the purchase of sustainable meals. Using less single-use packaging is crucial to this.
- Less food packaging and food wasteAKKUraatd has sustainability high on its priority list and sees that improvements can be made to the catering facilities of the university. It is striking that many food products are being packaged in single-use packaging. The corona pandemic had forced the university to package food items. However, now that the national corona restrictions have been lifted, we have to make sure to go back to more sustainable packaging material.
Food wastage also has to be reduced drastically. Too much food is being unnecessarily thrown away at the end of every day. Multiple solutions can reduce this problem. For example, by selling leftover food at a reduced price at the end of the day or by selling the leftover food in the app ’Too Good to Go’. This app is already being used by the Refter. Apart from helping reduce food waste, these solutions will also benefit students with discounts on food.
Green initiatives, such as the Billie Cup, also have to be promoted and stimulated everywhere on campus. The Billie Cup is a cup made of sustainable material. This cup can be obtained on campus and also be cleaned on campus. This will reduce the waste of disposable cups. In addition, the university also has to look into the possibilities of re-using products used in laboratories, such as the products used in the faculty of Medicine.
AKKUraatd prioritises good education. We believe that students deserve excellent and challenging education. AKKUraatd values the opportunities the university offers in terms of broadening and deepening knowledge and thinks the university should offer this to all students. We stand by improved study facilities, a sound digital learning environment, and high-quality education. This is why we argue in favour of customised education and an individualised treatment for every student.
- A Personal instead of a Binding Study Advice
AKKUraatd finds it important to keep on striving for a personal study advice. Radboud University currently uses the BSA (Binding Study Advice). This is a rule in which a student has to obtain a set amount of study credits within their first year. If the student fails to do so, the student is forced to quit that study programme. This rule has been made to ensure students do not keep on studying a study programme that does not fit them well. AKKUraatd thinks that the BSA is not a fitting rule for this solution. In reality, we see that the BSA increases the stress level of students. Additionally, not completing the BSA is not the same as not studying the right study programme. The BSA only reflects a moment in time of a student and does not sufficiently take into account external factors. AKKUraatd, therefore, argues for a PSA (Personal Study Advice). A PSA will reduce the stress of students during time and presentation pressure. This will ensure that every student can focus on studying a study programme that fits them. A PSA will allow everyone to study at their own pace. The PSA helps focus on the student, instead of study credits. AKKUraatd envisions the following:
1) Personal guidance
Conversations should be actively held with the students throughout the year to evaluate and see if their choice of study still fits them. Not only grades but also the intrinsic motivation and personal circumstances of the student are being taken into account during these conversations.
2) Mid-year checkpoint
AKKUraatd wants to install a checkpoint halfway through the year with students that have collected less than 24 EC. These students will be invited to a conversation with the study advisor. On the bases of these conversations, a personal guidance strategy is being made. This strategy has to be based on what the student voices and has to take into account any personal circumstances.
- Content notesWhile studying at university, it is sometimes necessary to discuss topics that may be perceived as shocking by some students (think of examples of texts and images of (animal) abuse, sexual misconduct or depictions of violence). Discussing these kinds of topics and depicting graphic images could potentially trigger traumatic experiences in students. AKKUraatd finds it important that the university creates a safe learning environment for its students. That is why AKKUraatd pleads for fitting content notes, prior to showing graphic images or class discussions of literature on sensitive topics that could trigger negative emotions in students. The university has to make sure that students feel safe when attending lectures. We can create such a safe environment by supplying the students with information on where they ask their questions or find help before and after these lectures by posting it in the study guide or on the Brightspace page of that course.
- Hybrid educationThe pandemic has created a big supply in the demand for online education. Weblectures have proven to be an excellent addition to physical education. AKKUraatd believes this is a positive change. Students now have more control over their studies. Students have to have the option to choose to follow their studies online or offline. Many faculties already offer weblectures as a standard addition to physical education which makes it possible for students to study in a more flexible way. However, not all studies use this technology yet.
AKKUraatd argues for as many study possibilities as possible. In addition, AKKUraatd wants to contribute to a lively, connecting campus and a social learning environment in which students and teachers can work together. Physical education plays an important role in this. However, AKKUraatd realises that there are several factors that make it difficult for students to attend all their lectures on campus. The room shortage, the big travel distances of students, and the increased threshold of coming to campus after the pandemic are among the most prevalent factors. Well-fitting, hybrid education would be an ideal solution.
- Flexible studying and flex-studyingBeing an active student is encouraged by the university and contributes to the wellbeing of students. That is why the university offers flexible studying to these students. Flexible studying can be applied for by students who have extra commitments next to their studies. For example, they are part of a board or take part in the co-determination of the university. Students with care responsibilities, students in top sports, or students with a disability can also request flexible studying. Flexible studying offers many possibilities to these students. Flexible studying ensures they have priority when they register for working groups, have access to weblectures, and have more flexibility when it comes to reaching deadlines and compulsory attendance. AKKUraatd believes that flexible studying sounds good in theory. However, it is difficult status to obtain.
The process of applying for flexible studying is perceived to be less than ideal. It is a time-consuming process, in which students are often moved from pillar to post. The application procedure is unique to every faculty and these differences are substantial. Flexible studying is meant for students who already have many responsibilities. That is why it is important that the procedure of applying for flexible studying should always be as accessible as possible. AKKUraatd argues for a central and easier application procedure.
AKKUraatd is also in favour of ‘flex-studying’. This is a form of studying in which a student pays for each study credit, which promotes a more active student life. Other universities already employ this method and meet the needs of their active students. That is why AKKUraatd argues for this well-fitting way of studying. It should be possible for everyone to study in their own way.
- Privacy in educationBoth employees and students get in contact with an increasing amount of personal data. This is not only data of fellow students, but also from external parties such as respondents in research reports. In many cases, students are only minimally guided in working with private data in a safe way, even though this is an extremely important academic and professional skill. AKKUraatd pleads for more guidance when it comes to handling personal data in education, including basic information on privacy law and the principle of ‘’Privacy by Design’’ (taking into consideration privacy risks beforehand, not afterwards).
- Stimulating and facilitating interdisciplinary education
AKKUraatd believes that different studies can offer each other many things. There are currently many obstacles when it comes to following courses from different studies. AKKUraatd believes that this is not stimulated enough and proposes the following:
1) University-wide courses and central information
Students can broaden their knowledge and better prepare themselves for an interdisciplinary work area after their studies if they are offered the option to study and collaborate with fellow students of different faculties. The possibility of following courses outside of one’s curriculum has to be actively promoted to students in order for students to achieve this. In order to create a clear overview, these courses and minors have to be easily accessible on a central course and minor overview on the website (and/or Osiris).
2) Solution for double examinations
Exams may not overlap for courses of different studies and faculties that are frequently followed together. This helps encourage students to take additional courses. The university needs to find a solution in cases in which avoiding a double examination is impossible, as the Nijmegen School of Management does. Students will then be able to follow the courses they want without any restrictions.
- Capacity on campus
AKKUraatd, therefore, argues for more efficient use of the capacity on campus and advocates for an expansion of the existing capacity. The university should therefore examine how the capacity can be better utilised and expanded.
The possibility of using study facilities has to remain when using the capacity more efficiently. Since the university wants to switch to a ‘’Bring Your Own Device-system, the existing computer rooms will be demolished. This not only leads to making functioning software less accessible, but also to forcing students to purchase expensive laptops. AKKUraatd believes that the right study facilities should continue to be offered and also advocates for a more efficient use of space on campus and better use of the laptop lending system. Flexible working from home can remain possible if the availability of software through licensing is increased. This allowed students to study outside of the crowded libraries, leading to less congestion in the study workplaces.
For the organisation of good education, strong student representation is of the utmost importance. Especially at universities where students and employees make improvements together, it is important that consultations run smoothly. AKKUraatd dedicates itself to the structural improvement of the student representation climate. Our focus is on programme-specific, faculty-wide and university-wide student representation.
- Observance of the WHWThe Higher Education and Research Act (Dutch: WHW) describes which education-related rules the university should abide by. As the Radboud University, despite losing the predicate ‘’catholic’’, is still a ‘special’ university, our university can sometimes make exceptions to this law. The Executive Board has also expressed their intention to follow the WHW more strictly, which comes with both positive and negative changes to the co-determination. AKKUraatd believes certain areas deserve extra attention:
1) Position of the umbrella associations
Currently, both the student parties as well as several umbrella associations have seats in the USC. If Radboud University completely follows the WHW, there is a chance that the seats for the umbrella associations will disappear, since they are not included in the national legislation. AKKUraatd finds it important that the voice of (the members of) the umbrella associations are heard for the topics relevant to them, even when their seats in the USC disappear. That is why AKKUraatd argues for a good collaboration between the umbrella associations, the members of the USC, the executive board, and the policy workers. It is important to think about this before the WHW is fully implemented to create a workable solution for everyone. This way, the umbrella associations will still have an influence on the policies that affect them whilst at the same time they will spend less time on subjects that are less relevant to them.
2) 50/50 voting ratio in Faculty Joint Assemblies (FGV’s)
Currently, we are the only university in the Netherlands that has a voting ratio of 60% for employees and 40% for students on a faculty level. By law, this voting ratio is 50% for employees and 50% for students, however. This rule stems from times in which employees were more involved in religion than students and therefore had more voting rights. AKKUraatd thinks this rule is out of date, especially now that the university’s catholic predicate has been terminated. We, therefore, argue in favour of establishing this ratio back to the national level: 50/50.
3) Funding study materials
It has been determined by law (section 7.50, paragraph one in the Dutch WHW) that no extra costs ought to be charged for compulsory study materials. Unfortunately, we still see that a lot of study programmes charge extra costs for study materials, for instance, microscopes. AKKUraatd wants to see to it that this law is observed more strictly. Next to that, we do not wish for unnecessary costs to be charged to students.
- Strong and accessible student representationCurrently, all (new) members of almost every co-determination body have to find their way within the rules and regulations of the university without much guidance. This oftentimes costs a lot of time and undermines the effectiveness of the (decentral) co-determination. AKKUraatds argues for a co-determination secretariat that is specialised in offering help to the decentral co-determination to aid these students. The secretariat is the place for members of all councils to ask all their substantive and/or procedural questions.
In addition, the annual training moments should be evaluated with the aim of making them complete and up to date with the current time to ensure that they are more in line with the rights and duties of the participational bodies. More attention should be paid to the practical side of co-determination: How exactly does a participational body start working? The training should also be evaluated on an annual basis so that it can be improved in the future.
Moreover, AKKUraatd pleads for a central platform from the university on which all documents necessary for functioning in the co-determination can be found easily.
Finally, AKKUraatd wants that all FSC’s (Dutch: FSR’s) and PC’s (Dutch: OLC’s) are accessible to both Dutch-speaking students, as well as non-Dutch speaking students. The current language policy that has been established by the executive board, therefore, has to change. The utilisation of Dutch as the language of instruction makes joining any form of the participational body less accessible for non-Dutch speaking students.
Student life is about more than just studying. The university is an environment in which you can develop yourself in various ways. It is important that students who dedicate themselves to the student community are supported and that facilities are continuously being improved. AKKUraatd wants more attention for students whose well-being is not at best, as students’ well-being is an important condition for a good student life. AKKUraatd therefore argues in favour of improved facilitation of counselling and support for students. This way, students can both enjoy their student days and acquire experience outside of their studies.
- International student life
More and more international students come and study in Nijmegen. This development is beneficial for the university and ensures more diversity on campus. AKKUraatds wants to guarantee that the international students feel at home more easily on campus and the student life but sees that this does not always go smoothly. That is why AKKUraatd argues for more general awareness of the international atmosphere of the university. This, among other things, means that there needs to be a separate STIP for international students. International students oftentimes experience different problems as Dutch regulations are often not applicable to them. This way, they will have a point of contact for specific questions. Unfortunately, many associations still do little in the way of internationalisation when it comes to the supply of information and communication. This makes it more difficult for international students to really immerse themselves in the student life of Nijmegen. AKKUraatd would therefore like to see this change and wants the university to actively stimulate and support associations in the process of making their associations more international-friendly.
- Inclusion on campusAKKUraatd strives for a campus where everyone is accepted for the way he, she or they are. A pleasant and inclusive environment guarantees a nice atmosphere and place to study. Inclusion included many things. For example, think about breaking the binary layout of the campus and breaking taboos surrounding gender and sexuality, but also about facilitating students with mental or physical disabilities and fighting racism.
First of all, AKKUraatds would like to see that all employees of the Radboud University indicate their pronouns by means of placing them in an employee file on the website. In general, AKKUraatds wants teachers to be more attentive to using the correct pronouns of their students. This way, we normalise the way we think, sharing our pronouns, and asking about pronouns so that we can break through the stigma.
Secondly, more suitable study places should be provided for students with mental or physical disabilities. Online education should be made available to them as much as they need. Finally, we suggest providing more gender-neutral toilets. This can be achieved by making some small changes to the toilets that are already there.
- Transgressive behaviourIn 2020, 92 employees and students requested a conversation with a confidant about undesirable behaviour. As for as AKKUraatd is concerned, that is 92 too many. The Radboud University must therefore put more effort into preventing such undesirable behaviour. Screening new employees is a method that has been employed in 2021, which appears to be a good way to prevent such behaviour. However, the existing policy and procedure fall short, to detriment of the victims.
Under the current complaint procedure, victims are not able to submit a complaint anonymously. This causes the victims to experience a higher threshold to come forward about what has happened to them. In addition, complaints that are submitted without a name are currently not dealt with. This makes it more difficult for victims to speak up. Victims have gone through enough already and should be treated and heard with respect. AKKUraatd argues for a complaints procedure in which victims receive appropriate help, according to their own needs and at their own pace. It still happens too often that victims are sent from pillar to post in the entire process.
Victims deserve fitting, professional help as soon as they request it. The university has to see to it that this is provided. AKKUraatd also wants to break the taboo surrounding transgressive behaviour. Visibility plays an important role in this. Campaigning against this type of behaviour makes it easier for victims to share their stories and can drastically reduce this problem.
- University breakfastThe canteen facilities operated differently than usual during the corona pandemic. Opening hours were adjusted and the range of types of food was more limited. Now that the national restrictions have been lifted, we can slowly get back to the old normal. That is why AKKUraatd argues for extending the opening hours and for more variety in the current food supply.
Extending the opening hours will contribute to a lively campus to which students can go in the morning or in the afternoon for some healthy meals. The canteens are also great locations to meet fellow students. Not only as a break from studying, but also to enjoy a nice breakfast at the start of the day. This is not just relaxing, but also practical: oftentimes students do not have enough food at home. That is why AKKUraatd advocates a HEMA-like breakfast at university: a varied breakfast for a friendly price.
- (Affordable) housingThere are not enough student rooms for the students in Nijmegen. For many students, it is therefore difficult to find a room. Moreover, their rents are often too high. The university is still actively recruiting students and has a big influence on the number of students that enrol. The university does too little to help create affordable housing for the number of students that they aim to attract. That is why AKKUraatd thinks that the university should take on more responsibility for the housing of their students. They can exert this influence with their conversations with the municipality together with the SSH&.
AKKUraat thinks more work should be done to build new and affordable housing on campus. Ideal locations include the education buildings that will be demolished or renovated, such as the Erasmusbuilding. This way, the university has a way of actively contributing to a solution to the housing shortage.
Finally, new students often receive information about finding a room, but the university does not tell them much about the rights they have as a tenant. As a result, students often have to pay more than is legally allowed, or they end up in conflict with their landlord. AKKUraatd thinks that students should actively be informed about their rights as tenants so that students are in a strong position when a landlord does not abide by the rules.
- Wellbeing support for everyone
The corona pandemic has put more pressure on the wellbeing of students. Many students indicate that they often feel feelings of loneliness, stress, and the feeling of not being connected to each other and the university. AKKUraatd believes it is important for every student to receive the guidance that they need. It should be clear to students where they can go with certain problems. Not all students even know that there are student psychologists, for example. This is partly because information on them is difficult to find. Talking about mental problems is also a taboo that needs to be broken, also in our university. That is why AKKUraatd argues for increasing the visibility of mental support. AKKUraatd also believes that the step to counselling should be made as accessible as possible. AKKUraatd, therefore, argues for four improvements:1) Prevention
AKKUraatd pleads for a platform on which external help such as study advisors, student psychologists, etc. is easy to find. Some tips on, for example, lifestyle can be posted here with workout clips, mindfulness, and healthy recipes. This way, accessible tools are provided to increase one’s wellbeing and students will know where they can go with their problems.
2) Possibility of tutoring for all students
AKKUraatd wants students to be able to go to someone who can support them with their studies, their student life and other (education-related) matters. At the moment, such mentors are only available in the first year of most studies. AKKUraatd believes that mentors should not only be available to students in the first year of their studies, but also in the later stages of their studies. Therefore, AKKUraatd argues for the further introduction of mentors who are (financially) supported, prepared, and trained, so that they can continue to care for students throughout their studies.
Students can be assigned to a mentor from the second year of their studies. They can indicate whether this is something they want. AKKUraatd believes it is important that the university takes an active stance in promoting the possibility of this type of guidance. Considering the possible shortage of student mentors, AKKUraatd proposes to hire new student employees as student mentors.
3) Better accessibility for student psychologists
AKKUraatd believes that the student psychologist should be accessible to all students. However, a number of things are currently raising the threshold for reaching out to student psychologists. At this moment, the waiting time for an appointment is four to five weeks, which AKKUraatd thinks is way too long and should be reduced. In addition, AKKUraatd wants to see to it that the first appointment should be free of charge. This would make the threshold to take the first step towards mental wellbeing a lot lower. This will contribute to students getting the help they deserve.
4) Accessible guidance
Seeking professional help can often be a big step. To reduce this step, AKKUraatd advocates the appointment of an intermediary whom students can contact directly if they encounter problems. This person can then point the students in the right direction. The development of a ‘roadmap’ containing all options for mental assistance could also help. For students with a disability, family caregivers, pregnant students, and others who need more guidance, a clear overview of the various support options offered by the university must be created. A more user-friendly website could be considered. AKKUraatd also believes it is important that this accessibility is also fitting for international students. They must be offered appropriate assistance from the university as well if necessary.
- Promotion of self-development in the first yearFor many students, the information on possibilities for self-development in addition to their studies is not clear enough. Not being able to go to campus for two years and thus not having received much information through informal contact, many students do not know they have all the space they need at university to plan their own studies and undertake extracurricular activities. These activities are very important for developing oneself. That is why AKKUraatd thinks the university has the responsibility for stimulating students to participate in these kinds of activities.
AKKUraatd is of the opinion that students should already receive information on the possibilities of self-development in addition to their studies at the start of their studies. This information could include participation in the co-determination, volunteer work, being a board member of a study, sport or student association, the Honours Academy, and many other possibilities. The information could be distributed via a digital letter from the rector of Radboud University, or throughout the year. It is important here to ensure that students are referred to the correct information pages on the website of Radboud University and the study advisor. In this way, Radboud University students are given the opportunity to develop themselves alongside their studies from their very first year.
- An appropriate compensationThere has to be appropriate compensation for the students who decide to dedicate themselves to the university. AKKUraatd thinks that the compensation active students receive for being part of a board or co-determination is too low. These experiences are not only very instructive and valuable, but they also boost the development of students and are essential for the university’s social commitment. On the other hand, these activities take up a lot of time and often cause study delays, which can be detrimental, especially within the student loan system. According to AKKUraatd, an active year should therefore be better compensated.
AKKUraatd not only wants the compensation to be increased but also wants it to be paid out in a different form. Within the current system, students receive their compensation towards the end of their year as active students. This often leads to students still needing a part-time job to be able to fully fund their year. AKKUraatd wants the active students to be able to decide for themselves whether the compensation is given monthly, quarterly or annually. This way, we achieve that students can better focus on what they have chosen to do and that their commitment to the university and their associations remain of high quality.