On your way to lunch, still pondering the unbearable expectations of your latest Research in Context session, you once again pass by the mysterious other office on your right upon entering Dining Hall. The doors are open and a sign is welcoming you into the world of ASC, yet you wonder what the purpose of such an organisation could be, other than being the inconspicuous object of super sticky satire. I have been tASCed with unmASCing the Academic Student Council (better known as ASC) and its board members.
ASC describes its mission statement as “improving the Liberal Arts and Science education at UCU from a student’s perspective”, and thus identifies four key domains of activity: interdisciplinarity, positive learning environments, diversity and exploration. This immediately becomes clear in conversation with Vera, ASCs passionate chair.
As a transfer senior from the University College in Twente, she arrived motivated to bridge academic cultures. Her incredible discipline and enthusiasm for conversation and engagement serve as a driving factor for the integration of the board, which does not go unnoticed among her fellow board members. She underlines the importance of realising ASC’s vision in the board before implementing it on a campus scale and takes pride in successfully collaborating with the UCSA, the Wellbeing Team and College Hall. Vera echoes how the time has come for improving academics and implementing evaluations, and invites everyone to the Life after the Bubble event on the 15th of November.
“ASC is not the only one that can bring change. All students can take initiative/should feel free to take initiative and push for change together with ASC.” (Vera – Chair)
As Secretary, a new position in the board, Bas proudly finds potential in the learning opportunities that he may discover as the head of administration, treasury, ICT and public relations. He stresses the academic importance of his placement in the UCSRN board for better marketing of ASC activities through the network. Bas highlights the importance of cooperating in the formation of one’s goals and aims to make a lasting impa(s)ct on the learning environment. Next to his objectives, he mentions his drive to create a better connection between University College students and the selection of Master programmes.
“You realise the impact of academics on other parts of your life on UCU. Therefore we encourage you to come talk to us about more than just education: anything from minor problems to radical ideas and personal matters.” (Bas – Administration, Treasury)
“ASC is not the only one that can bring change. All students can take initiative/should feel free to take initiative and push for change together with ASC.”
Nichole’s passion for diversity motivated her to run for Student Assessor and fuels her objectives within the ASC board and beyond. Her influence as a liaison between the numerous directive bodies from College Hall to the student community (e.g. Campus Life Forum, Management Team etc.) allow her to push for the UCU that she envisions. Her aims include tackling diversity in admissions, reliability of information and transparency.
“If I don’t go for it, who else will?” (Nichole – Student Assessor)
Very much in sync with Vera’s call for moving past merely evaluating towards implementing, the Academic Affairs Officers find new responsibilities in improving academic dynamics in their disciplines. Ella (Humanities) is content with the processes in her department and reaches for stronger communication and social management. Jorn (Sciences) sees potential in the freshness of the staff dynamic in the Sciences department and pushes for higher possibilities of exploration along with a balance of professionalism and sociability. Finally, Isha (Social Sciences) mentions a number of issues she is tackling in the department, especially concerning the implementation of the Research in Context course and the Sociology track [see september issue – Ed.].
“ASC has opened my eyes to the academic potential of UCU and it offers me an outlet to help others.” (Ella – AAO)
“We can influence so much, the UCU students can take advantage of that.” (Isha – AAO)
“Bottom line, we cannot do our jobs without your perspectives.” (Jorn – AAO)
I would like to express my gratitude to: Vera Vrijmoeth, Bas Kellerhuis, Nichole Wanjiru, Ella Shields, Isha Mol and Jorn Krijgsman, for their contributions to this article’s conception. My apologies for the numerous ASC puns, one simply cannot resist the urge.