What is the YUFE Student Forum?
As an alliance, YUFE aims at bringing radical change in European higher education by establishing itself as the leading model of a young, student-centred, non-elitist, open and inclusive European University. But how will YUFE stay student-centred and non-elitist? That is where the YUFE Student Forum comes in!The purpose of the Student Forum is to make sure that the perspective of the students is always present in the realisation of the YUFE vision. From the outset, students have played a central role in all stages of the alliance – from proposal preparation, to the implementation phase and the continuous journey towards our common goal: the establishment of a true European University. Each YUFE partner university has committed to have three students participate in the Student Forum and the working groups that oversee YUFE’s implementation and growth. The YUFE Student Forum representatives are important in co-leading and co-creating the YUFE mission and vision.
The role of a Student Forum member takes many forms
Nassim, Paulien and Yuliya are the current representatives of our UAntwerp students in the alliance and it is important that they actively gather and communicate their input to the wider YUFE Student Forum. Whitin the scope of our European university, they are the voice of not only the YUFE students on our campus, but of all UAntwerp students. In cooporation with the representatives of the other YUFE partners they ensure that the input of students is reflected in the development of the alliance. Each Student Forum member also commits to actively participate in one of the thematic YUFE working groups, in order to co-develop the activities and bring in the UAntwerp student perspective. As it is with our UAntwerpen Studentenraad, the YUFE Student Forum also has to organise its own governance structure, achieve an internal workflow, think on and discuss all issues that relate to student participation within YUFE.
Whether an experienced student representative at University of Antwerp, or new to the world of student participation, YUFE brought an introduction to international cooperation for our Student Forum members. Learning first-hand how similar challenges get tackled in different ways because of the different local contexts has broadened their perspective on the European culture. Working, discussing, compromising, co-creating and making friends in an international environment guarantee professional and personal growth. Yuliya, Paulien and Nassim each find their own highlights in this experience and set their own particular accents, but all three agree: “YUFE is a barrel full of opportunities, if you are just willing to dive in”.
Nassim Talbi is a bachelor student in Communication Sciences. As a member of both the Student Journey workpackage and Student Forum, he works on improving the student experience. Besides that he is also working on improving the communication towards students together with other Student Forum members. This makes trying to enhance the efficiency of the Student Journey and communication his main focus. Nassim also values YUFE’s commitment to being an inclusive alliance so he tries to pay extra attention to this aspect of YUFE’s development in all areas.
Paulien Decorte is a PhD Student in Social Sciences, researching food media among young adults. After a first YUFE experience as a student co-creator in 2018, she rejoined the YUFE Alliance in 2021 as a Student Forum member, and was elected President of the Student Forum from 2021-2022. She continues her work in making YUFE as student-centered as it can be. She also represents UAntwerp PhD candidates in the further creation of a European university, as this alliance can provide both them and participating universities with unique research opportunities. Paulien will be participating in the further development of YUFE Quality Assurance.
Yuliya Chesnokova is a master’s student in Law, specialising in Public Law and Diversity & Inclusivity. Last year, she enrolled in the YUFE Student Journey, which inspired her to become a Student Forum Representative to make YUFE more accessible and well-known amongst her fellow students. She is eager to help shaping an open, inclusive, and sustainable European University by means of multi-level communication, interactivity, and transparency. Yuliya will be participating in the further development of the YUFE Student Journey.