The University of Maastricht Student Council, a separate entity to the faculty-specific councils, is approaching re-election time. These elections will take place May 17-20. The council consists of 18 members, 9 of which are students whose membership is voted upon by the general student body of UM. This council is considered to be representative of the UM student body, according to the Higher Education and Scientific Research Act. It has the right to give advice and give/withhold consent. It is also purported to act as a sounding board for the Executive Board of the university, is involved with assessment and monitoring, and may submit proposals for new initiatives. More information may be here.
This year, there will be eight lists in the running for the 9 available seats. These lists run from experienced party candidates to first year independent candidates.
List 1: MSRP DOPE
DOPE runs as one of the oldest student parties in Maastricht. Widely known for running on a largely Dutch platform in past years, it is currently turning towards a more internationally focused programme that encompasses multiple aspects of student life. With their clearly stated priority of quality of education, they also support student wellbeing, sustainability at UM, availability of study spaces and student housing, extracurricular-activities and internationalisation, and extensive representation across all faculties.
Learn more about DOPE, and their vision, from our interview with Rozemarijn Kahle, here.
List 2: SHAPE-LEX
This year, SHAPE and LEX will be joining forces for the University Council. SHAPE is mostly health faculties concerned, whereas LEX is an extension of the Law Student Association JFV Ouranos. As of the time of writing, they do not have a campaign platform but they do advertise that they are interested in wellbeing, diversity, and quality of education.
List 3: United Students of Maastricht (USM)
USM is a relatively new party to the scene, but that is not stopping them from doing their best to make a splash. As Moritz Takacs, the founder of USM, says: “it was quite tricky to do at the beginning”, but since their founding two years ago they have stormed up the rankings in terms of representative seats. They do not have a published platform for this year, but are largely expected to run off their 2019 Manifesto. This includes international representation, mental health and wellbeing, study-finance support, and an expansion on diversity.
For more information on USM and the vision behind their name, read more here.
Edit: Since this article was written, USM has published its election programme 2021.
List 4: NovUM
As one of the larger and more established parties in Maastricht, NovUM has been making waves in the student political scene. As the self-styled progressive party of UM, NovUM is running off a broad and ambitious programme this year. What is more, they have teamed up with VOLT, a pan-European party that is best known for entering the senior political scene across the continent, winning three seats in the latest Dutch national elections. While they currently have no seats in UM councils, the VOLT-NovUM coalition may prove to be strong for the coming year.
For more information on NovUM and how the party has gained momentum in the past few years, read more from the VP of NovUM here.
For more information on Volt and what Konrad von Klitzing, a party leader, thinks about UM student politics, read here.
List 5: Peter van Mill
This list is the first of our independents, Peter van Mill. Peter is a first year student of SBE, who decided that he would like to run for the UC because he believes that the current scene is dominated by established parties but does not feel that enough is being done. His focus will lie mostly on the technology used by the University staff and students, perhaps with the Great Hack in mind. He promises to approach all problems critically and has expressed a keen interest to work with colleagues fairly if he is elected to the board. While he does not have a social media campaign or website, Mr van Mill will be representing himself in the upcoming Student Election Debate.
List 6: KlimaatActieNetwerk Party (KAN)
This list is the greens party of Maastricht, with a passion for sustainability and an earth-focused programming. One of the biggest names in the current scene, this party has grown exponentially in the past few years and is surely likely to gain an even stronger foothold in the years to come. Representing a coalition of groups outside of University life, KAN represents student interests across a broad range of topics. This being said, their clearly stated aim is climate justice and they believe that this mindset can be applied to most areas of UM dealings, from curriculum development to the UM 2030 Climate Goals.
One of their leaders, Freddy Liepert, is running for re-election and promises to build on her already impressive work of the past year. You may hear more from her, as well as delve a little deeper into the sustainable side of Maastricht, here.
List 7: Giulio Atzori
Giulio Atzori is another first year independent running for the UC and has a clear focus on the infrastructure at UM. His goal is to expand on the study facilities, from building a new library with up-to-date capabilities and an increase in study space for students - something he highlights as a clear weakness since the pandemic struck.
List 8: Hayden Bunn
Billed as “The Independent”, Hayden Bunn comes into this election as an experienced voice in UM affairs. Mr Bunn has worked with both NovUM and the Maastricht Student Union and so is no stranger to the process at the institution. Although he displays a clear frustration at what he believes to be an ineffectual election cycle in Maastricht, he believes that he has what it takes to inject a shot of energy into the process and make a difference for the students.