The UCSRN – University College Student Representatives of the Netherlands – is the national student representative body for University College students and was founded in 2015. Noting the input from our members, we assessed the priorities and long term mission for the UCSRN to be as follows:
Liberal education requires diversity of students to enable a truly critical discussion and frame of mind. Therefore, the UCSRN aims to promote the accessibility of education at its various colleges to students from many different backgrounds as well as diversity within the curriculum and student-organised projects. What makes the education approach excellent is the steep learning curve facilitated by intensive education. Connecting classroom to community – understanding that university is not just a place to pursue academics – is key to the UC programme. In order to maintain this high quality of education, the UCSRN, together with the student councils at member UCs, should aim to preserve these key elements of the UC programme and should strive to continuously improve the quality of education.
To become an organisation with influence, the UCSRN should focus on connecting with external partners and maintaining important relationships. To provide students with better opportunities after college – whether that may be through an easier transition to master programmes or better job opportunities – the UCSRN needs to create a network of partners that support our mission. To other partners, the UCSRN is a gateway through which they can reach the community of 4.500 UCSRN students. The UCSRN should try to correct misconceptions and stigmas of UC students.
Internally, the UCSRN should focus on creating a platform for discussion for our members. While the committees focussed on organising events in the past years, the focus of the committees has shifted to be groups where best practices may be shared, student initiatives and local societies may be put into contact to create cross-city initiatives and in which policy recommendations to lobby efforts may be discussed. Events are not organised top-down anymore: rather, events will evolve bottom-up with the support of the UCSRN. An exception to this is the famous UCSRN tournament.
These are the eight long-term goals for the UCSRN. Decisions on how these goals are reached and when they are reached have been intentionally avoided; we believe the boards and students of the coming years need to be free to create a clear vision on what actions they will pursue to reach these goals.