Feature on student opinions by the president of LUNA.
How many times have you not heard someone complain over lunch? It might be about your last exam not being handed back out on time, or that Ladok result that is still missing. Maybe there are never any vacant group rooms available or simply too few practical elements in you education. Whatever it may be about, those complains too often stay in the lunch room and remain just being sulky comments.
That is not the way it has to be, neither the way it should be.
Last Friday (2016-09-02) LUNA, together with the other student unions at Lund University, attended the Welcome Expo ‘Hälsningsgillet’ to inform new university students about our work. Different games and informative activities followed each other. What to me stood out the most was the Åsiktsfotografering, roughly translated the ‘opinion photo shoot’.
What we did was simply trying to strike a conversation with passing students at the fair, asking them if they had any opinions on their experience at university. Maybe not the easiest question to answer as a novisch, but the crowd also provided some familiar faces with a tad bit more experience.
The Åsiktsfotografering allowed students to write down their thoughts in a little speech bubble and be photographed with it. What this did was draw attention to the matter of student opinions. What may be perceived as whining can be a widespread notion. It is not always the solution to ‘suck it up’, justified opinions are the basis of organised student operation.
Student opinions matter more than many students ever realize. The student unions work with improving the situation for all students they represent, be that education-wise or concerning social life. What dictates what work we do, is what our students think. It is quite saddening knowing that much of the basis of our work never surfaces.
Student influence can be found on all different levels: Want to make sure the courses are the way they should be? We review course plans and evaluations at department level. Is there something wrong with the rules of admission? We can bring that up at centrally at the university. How are the resources for higher education actually distributed? We can have a say in that on a national level.
This activity was eye-opening for many people I believe. Some had never realized the great extent of the influence student unions have in Sweden and others had no idea what difference they as students are actually able to make. I myself was inspired by how much enthusiasm and ambition I met when discussing these matters.
So next time you find yourself complaining in the lunch room, remember that your opinion can make a difference. It just has to be heard.