Student Melancholy : Address from the Student Council President

Elísabet Brynjarsdóttir.jpg

Translation: Julie Summers

Autumn is here. The campus is bustling, the sunlight is slipping away, and that seasonal gloom is creeping up on us. It would be quite easy for me to write a melancholy column about how often students' rights are disregarded, or about the revolt we're planning in response to the housing shortage, the lack of support for students, and accessibility issues on campus.

But before we head into the dramatic world of revolution, we should look back on the path already traveled. Since taking office this past March, the new Student Council has had plenty to do. We've increased the availability of counseling services to students, with a second psychologist already on the job and a third on the way. If you've got something on your mind, you can go see one of these professionals at no cost. This summer, we began the process of shaping an overarching agenda for our work on behalf of the student body, putting together an operational plan and prioritizing projects. A new Háma cafeteria was opened in Læknagarður this autumn. Study spaces in Eirberg have been greatly improved. And the number of preschool openings for students' children is increasing.

All of this is the result of students taking initiative.

No project is too big or too small for the Student Council. Recently, we've focused a great deal of work on the University of Iceland's involvement in performing dental age assessments of asylum seekers, and we have unanimously opposed the university signing a formal service agreement with the Directorate of Immigration for continued involvement. At the same time, we're urging FS to offer more vegan options at Háma, and we've improved student access to a variety of transportation options through collaboration with the local bus service, Strætó. Students can now purchase six- or twelve-month student bus passes, which also give the card holder special access to a Zipcar subscription.

But there's no rest in sight; we're forging ahead. And this time, we want you to join us, dear students. That's why we decided to launch a campaign to gather ideas from students about the issues that are most important to them. What is the issue of greatest concern to students?

Our campaign began on September 17 and lasted two weeks, during which time we received all sorts of great ideas. At the end of the submission phase, those ideas most deserving of a full-on advertising campaign were put to a vote. Even though not every idea made it to the voting stage, each suggestion will be appropriately considered in consultation with the student who submitted it.

The reason behind this is simple: We want to hear from you. We want all students to feel that they can participate in creating a better university experience, we want to give students the opportunity to get more directly involved in our work, if they so desire, and we want to increase democratic participation in a battle that affects all of our lives. We want all students to stand together and demand better.

Even though our campaign is over, we're always happy to hear from you. Remember that students are always welcome in the Student Council office, located on the third floor of the University Center and open weekdays from 9 to 5.

I look forward to hearing from you.