City & UniversityInterviewStudent Life

Your Vote Counts – A conversation with Lijst Calimero about the University Elections 2024

Note: this article was made as a collaboration between the Groninger Studentenkrant and Lijst Calimero

University politics is not necessarily a topic that is talked about a lot. However, it is of crucial importance. We as students quickly forget that we do have a say. This means that we have the right to voice our opinions and complaints, which then should be reflected in the behavior of the institution. Yet if we wish to see changes in the way our university behaves, we need to get involved. This week RUG students get the chance to elect the people that are going to represent our desires. From May 14th until May 17th, 2024, the University Council and Faculty elections are being held. 

Last week, I had the privilege to conduct an interview with two candidates, representing the party of  Lijst Calimero. Roudina Elgrabli, a second-year student in liberal arts and sciences, and Chris Csölle, a third-year student of  psychology who is also pursuing a double degree in philosophy of cognitive science. They answered the following questions: Why is it important for students to get involved in student politics? And what is the vision and goals that Lijst Calimero has for the RUG? 

For the first question, Roudina Elgrabli and Chris Csölle, stated that if we wish to see our interest represented in the university, we need to get involved. But what is the University Council? 

Roudina Elgrabli, explained “The University Council is legally mandated by the government. Students have both the right and the obligation to be involved in the university governance. In the particular case of the RUG, there are twelve seats available for students to be involved and work as representatives of the whole student body. Therefore it is essential for students  to vote, as the elected candidates will be their voice. Ultimately, the University Council, thus by extension you, allows students to infer  university actions”

It is certainly a pity that many students are unaware of both the importance of the Student Council and the political decisions taken by the RUG. Therefore, Roudina Elgrabli stated that one of the goals of Lijst Calimero is to improve the communication between the university and the students. This initiative aims to familiarize students with the political decisions taken by our institutions. “Lijst Calimero believes that students should be at the center of the political procedures, as the decisions taken will mainly affect us. They wish to work as a body which will represent all students, form all the faculties and nationalities”  

The political aims of  Lijst Calimero revolve around improving the quality of education, as this is the service students pay for. Chris Csölle explained a few initiatives that their party seeks to implement to achieve this. “We wish to undertake the following initiatives if elected.  Improve TA training, allow students to specialize more in the field directions that they are interested in, and  increase the number of study places. Additionally  Lijst Calimero  stands for Student wellbeing, as this plays a major role in the educational experience. Students deserve to study in a safe environment that features an optimal work-life balance”

To elaborate on how they wish to achieve this goal Roudina Elgrabli shared a further initiative. “Among other initiatives to enhance this balance, Lijst Calimero aims to implement the hybrid week before the winter break. By providing this week, international students will receive enough travel time to ensure punctual arrival at their family festivities.”

A further example of Lijst Calimero commitment to student-wellbeing is their devotion to student rights. To elaborate on this point, the candidates stated that they wish to revert the restrictive protest rules, to protect the right to expression. Chris Csölle declared that “Lijst Calimero cares about the societal impact that the RUG has. Therefore, they will look into how the RUG contributes to issues such as warfare and climate change. Lijst Calimero wishes to create a moral university, since we represent the university as much as they represent us.”

Unfortunately, this article cannot cover all of Lijst Calimero’s proposals. However, by clicking here, you can view their election programme. This way, you can determine whether their objectives align with the changes you wish to see at the university.

Lastly, the candidates stated that regardless of whom you might vote for, it is very relevant for students to get involved. Do your research and vote for whoever best represents you, but please, please vote in the election.”

There are other running parties with alternative proposals, therefore if you seek to get involved, please check out their aims and elect the one that best represents you. Click here if you would like more information about voting in the University Elections of 2024.