Where you study

The main focus of the UG is delivering a high quality of education. But, in order for students to develop to their fullest potential, the university should do more than just facilitating a study. The UG should provide the optimal environment for students to develop themselves on an academic and personal level, whilst keeping their wellbeing in mind. With the contemporary internationalization of the UG, it should keep into account that all students shall receive the same chances for their personal development. The same goes for disabled students. Furthermore, the UG should set an example when it comes to a sustainable & inclusive community.

Internationalization

With the current globalization, the UG is becoming more international. Lijst Calimero finds that the UG should become a welcoming host to prospective students and offer an atmosphere in which they can feel at home and prosper. The UG should recognize its characteristic as an international university with many cultural differences, whilst also focusing on its regional role within the Northern Netherlands. The university should do its very best to achieve this, and otherwise, adapt their aims for internationalization. Furthermore, the marketing strategy should be proportionate towards both Dutch and international students. More importantly, the UG should always take into account the capacity of the city.

Housing

The UG is obliged to be an adequate host for both Dutch & international students and therefore has to keep on making an effort to tackle the problem. Lijst Calimero believes that the UG should take responsibility for the situation and should take the lead in trying to implement the promises made in the Housing Covenant along with the municipality, housing organizations and other organizations. Lijst Calimero proposes the following measures:

  • Lijst Calimero wants the UG to decrease the amount of advertising to actively attract students until more student housing and working spaces for students are available in Groningen.
  • On the short term, money should be invested in emergency housing. On the long term, other options are necessary. Housing should become available on the Zernike campus. To realize this, contacts with private investors and the municipality are key. The UG should take the lead in organizing these contacts.
  • Student housing organisations such as the SSH should stop the short-stay contracts, as students are not short-stay. The UG has to take its responsibility and join active campaigns against the use of these contracts with all necessary means, including lawsuits.

Transnational education (TNE)

Lijst Calimero has opposed the Yantai project in 2018 which resulted in that project being cancelled. Following the event, our warnings about public money being spent on the project resulted in an official investigation by the Inspectorate of Education. Our suspicions that many hours were not recorded properly were right. Approximately €670.000 of public funds were not recorded on the Yantai project, which was not allowed according to the Ministry of Education. Currently, there is another investigation going on into this project, which will be monitored closely by the University Council. Within the foreseeable future, Lijst Calimero does not think it is appropriate for the UG to look into new TNE projects since big mistakes have been made in the Yantai project. The UG should sort out problems with international students in Groningen first, such as housing & inclusion, before putting much effort in giving education abroad.

Student wellbeing

The UG carries the responsibility for the wellbeing of its students. Lijst Calimero wants to focus on helping students and creating preventive measures. Students often encounter social pressure and study stress. The stress that students cope with can influence their wellbeing and therefore influence their performances greatly. The university should put in enough effort to help students get through their studies without becoming mentally exhausted. The UG should actively raise awareness and inform students about early warning signs. We want to research the possibilities of a stress reducing, wellbeing improving intervention and a goal-setting programme.

Wellbeing Week

Lijst Calimero has initiated the Wellbeing Week, a week to give more attention to the wellbeing of the students of the UG, focusing on having a sustainable healthy lifestyle. The Wellbeing Week is one of the ways Lijst Calimero has started breaking taboos surrounding mental and physical health issues. The Wellbeing Week should provide open discussions with health experts and/or experience experts. Lijst Calimero believes the UG should make it into an annual campaign and take the lead in creating a healthy student environment.

Student Psychologists

No more waiting lists for student psychologists

It is unacceptable that students have had to wait between six and eight weeks to see a student psychologist. We have tackled this issue last year by appointing three additional student psychologists, which led to shorter waiting lists. However, if the waiting lists will not be resolved yet, we will ask for more student psychologists.

Encourage intercultural competence

The student population consist of students with various cultural backgrounds. This creates a challenging obstacle to approach them, especially those with special needs. Each background has their own needs and wants. Thus, it is fundamental to gain knowledge regarding intercultural competence for student psychologists to tackle this issue. Lijst Calimero therefore urges the UG to raise the quality of (student) psychologists with regard to intercultural competences.

Focus on prevention of mental health problems

Student psychologists should focus on prevention rather than treatment of mental health problems because this can already offer a lot of students the help they need. Hence, it is important to hire enough student psychologists, which creates extra time for prevention work.

Reflection spaces

Stress levels are high while being a student. Therefore, Lijst Calimero finds that the UG should offer reflection spaces for those who want to relax between studying or following courses. A pilot project in the UB is currently running. If the evaluation is positive, we will strive to make it permanent.

Lifestyle & dietary coaches

The UG has developed a programme for their staff members in which they can participate in certain sports, such as yoga, and courses on mindfulness and health checks. While Lijst Calimero recognizes that sports are already available to students at a low price at the ACLO, we would like the UG to explore the opportunities for the UG to offer dietary and lifestyle advice (related to e.g. stop smoking, drinking). We think that a lot of students could benefit from this programme, both physically and mentally.

A goal-setting programme

We want to reduce student stress and increase student well being. This is quite a task. Luckily the UG does not have to reinvent the wheel. Successful goal-setting programmes or interventions have been implemented at major universities such as the University of Toronto (in Canada) and in the Netherlands at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. If these universities can successfully fight stress and dropout rates and increase mental wellbeing and average grades, then certainly our university can. We want to research to opportunity these programs provide for the UG.

Extracurricular activities

Lijst Calimero believes that quality of education should be the the main focus of the UG. On the other hand, it should be also allowed students to have time to develop themselves outside of their study and outside academia. Lijst Calimero wants to stimulate students to be involved in extracurricular activities to gain other, non-academic skills.

Support for study associations & international board members

Study associations are playing an essential part in following our programme. Lijst Calimero has made it possible for board members of study associations to get an official board year certificate. We think that the UG should provide them the support needed to perform the best they can. This is why we want to encourage students to do a board year, especially international students. Therefore, the financial support fund should be available for every student that is active as a board member, to make doing a board year more attractive. The tuition free board year should also be available to non-EEA (from outside of the EU) students.

Discount on tuition fees for board members

Study associations contribute to the development of students and are an important part of student life. They are an important part of studies and curricula. In addition to the regular board grant, there must also be an additional discount on tuition fees for board members of study associations to make studying next to a board year more accessible.

Extracurricular ECTS for board years

Doing a board year gives students much practical experience and knowledge that you do not learn during your studies. These skills you can apply both in your studies and on the labour market. This is why Lijst Calimero believes that extracurricular ECTS should be linked to a board year as an official recognition from the UG. For inclusion, it is important to encourage international students to do a board year since ECTS are internationally recognized. This way, international students are better embedded in student life.

Good study facilities

Every year, the UG is welcoming more students which increases facility problems. The current working spaces are insufficient for the amount of students of the UG. Therefore, the UG should provide sufficient, available workspaces as well as improving the existing facilities.

Available workspaces and the UB

Extend the opening hours

The University Library Zernike and Central Medical Library should extend their opening hours until midnight and on Sunday. Additionally, Lijst Calimero observes that some students study optimally in different parts of the day. Therefore, we would like to do a pilot project which makes sure the University Library (UB) closes at 01:00 during the exam period.

Double Monitors on computers

As an addition, Lijst Calimero asks the UB to run a pilot which implements double monitors on computers, as several studies show this can improve productivity.

Start to use the bicycle basement at the UB

Lastly, the UB has a well-known bike rack issue. The number of students who would like to study at the UB has been increasing significantly. Unfortunately, the library has problems preserving all the bikes of these motivated students. Therefore, we propose that the UB basement should be available for bikes.

Catering

Lijst Calimero aims to lower the prices of the food in the university cafeterias. A survey from Lijst Calimero has shown that students are highly dissatisfied with the high price of the catering. Therefore, Lijst Calimero wants to reduce the food prices in the university cantines as well as broaden the range of halal, vegan and vegetarian options. Lijst Calimero believes every student deserves a healthy and affordable meal.

Responsible treatment of students’ data & personal information

Since privacy and personal data are fundamental rights, it is of the particular importance that the UG takes their students personal data into account. The UG should fully support the data officer, who keeps track on the flow of information. Lijst Calimero believes that the UG has a responsibility to treat student’s data carefully.

The Sustainable University

Lijst Calimero believes that the UG has to focus on sustainability, especially within their premises. Therefore, there should be a sustainability officer. There should be effective communication between the municipality and the UG on sustainability, as policy on this topic often overlaps. The University of Groningen should actively focus on becoming the greenest & the most sustainable university in the Netherlands. Lijst Calimero wants to achieve this in several ways.

Energy officers

The University should allocate more budget to help faculties implementing the waste transition. To help with this transition, the UG should appoint energy officers who actively check all existing and new buildings for their energy levels. Furthermore, they should also have the necessary funding and manpower to improve the buildings. Additionally, these officers should help faculties in writing a faculty-specific development plan on sustainability by making plans of improvement and setting CO2-reduction targets. The funding can be reached through an ESCo-construction, something which has previously been used at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Strive for an excellent energy level in buildings

Regarding sustainable energy, Lijst Calimero wants to encourage the UG to make the energy transition in their buildings. The Energy Officers Sustainability should be taken into account in existing and new UG buildings (such as the Aletta Jacobs Hall expansion, Feringa Building, Healthy-Ageing campus, etc.). We want to strive for a BREAAM-NL level of at least ‘Excellent’, with the ambition to reach ‘Outstanding’. For example, the further isolation of existing buildings should be explored, i.e. via radiator-foil and double glass. Spots for solar panels on all UG buildings should be actively explored, and placed if possible.

Reducing waste

Lijst Calimero believes that the UG should stimulate recycling measures by removing regular trash bins. They should be replaced with bins that allow for the separation of paper, plastic and other items.

Coffee discount for own cups

Lijst Calimero believes good behaviour should be rewarded. Hence, the catering company should be encouraged by the UG to provide a discount for students and employees who bring their own coffee cups.

Role of sustainability in education

Lijst Calimero also believes that skills and intellect on sustainability should be available through education. Existing minors on sustainability should be actively promoted to all students. Alternatively, a masterclass open to everyone (Massive Open Online Course) regarding sustainability should be an option.

Decision-making in the university

As a university council party, we discuss and thus form opinions on the way the board of directors pursues policies within the university. Lijst Calimero strives to have a bottom-up approach in representing students. We appreciate the views of students from different backgrounds & cultures, and try to integrate these in our policies. Hence, we organize several Think-Tanks each year to give students and other student representatives from faculties the opportunity to help us form opinions and policy. In decision-making in the UG, Lijst Calimero strives to do the following:

Professionalization of the student representation

Lijst Calimero believes that student representation is of the utmost importance for a proper functioning of the UG. In recent years, the roles of the faculty councils and the program committees have changed through implementation of new laws. With the increasing decentralization, there is an increased responsibility for these committees. In order to properly train members of these committees, Lijst Calimero proposes to organize a central day which prepares University Council, faculty council and program committee members for their function.

No policy based solely on lists, rankings, and surveys

The UG has to focus on providing a high quality of education. Lists, ranking and surveys give insight on the comparability with other universities UG. However, Lijst Calimero finds it is essential that these measures do not constitute the main objective and that no policy is based solely on these measures. Measuring the quality of the UG should be done in various ways, such as direct experiences of students, not just with numbers and percentages. The UG should critically assess the role and validity of the National Student Enquiry (NSE) as well.

Appointing new central board members

Lijst Calimero does not believe in the election of board members of the UG. Lijst Calimero believes that a majority of students is not adequately engaged to make an informed decision regarding this topic. Also, there is a risk attached to having open elections, as everyone, even those who are severely underqualified for the job, may be elected. Additionally, with a low turnout the new board may have inadequate support to govern the UG if the group voters is not representative of the whole academic population.

Faculty councils should be involved in application process of faculty boards

Lijst Calimero believes that for a proper collaboration between faculty boards and faculty councils it’s imperative that faculty councils & students are part of the benoemingsadviescommissie (BAC). They are tasked with the application process of new deans of faculties. We believe at least 1 member of the faculty council should be in the BAC, as well as at least 1 student.

An inclusive university

Over the years, the benefits of providing an inclusive education have been shown. It fosters a culture of respect and provides the opportunity to learn about and accept individual differences. Thus, it is important that students with limited performance are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability. The current University of Groningen policy plan for students with a performance disability dates back to 2004. However, we found that the implementation of this plan has been inadequate. Lijst Calimero aims for a better enjoyment of education for everyone and urges the UG to set up a new policy plan. Currently, there is a general feeling of separation within international student groups from Dutch students, and vice-versa. Lijst Calimero believes students should be encouraged to integrate with students from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. We recognize that this can only be done if both sides are willing to integrate. In order to tackle this issue, every actor of the UG should actively cooperate. Together with the University and student associations, Lijst Calimero calls upon further integration by promoting equality and social integration through sports and cultural activities.

Facilities for disabled students

The UG has to fulfill its obligations by providing information on studying with disabilities in English, considering the international culture of the UG. Thus, it is necessary to establish a comprehensive and accessible guide for students with disabilities. For example, the UG website should also more clearly include the information regarding studying with limited performance and should be accessible to prospective students as well. Lastly, all existing and new UG buildings should have facilities and be accessible for students with disabilities without undue delay.

Sign language

Lijst Calimero believes that it would be valuable to arrange an extra course on sign language. This can be integrated with the Language center and developed into Linguistic department. We believe this can be valuable not only for students to acquire new skills, but also to achieve further integration with the deaf community.

Building for international student associations

Lijst Calimero believes that for optimal support of international students, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) should be entitled to their own building in which they could organize activities among with other international student associations. Current activities are done all over the city, with some committee meetings even occurring in the UB. Lijst Calimero considers this suboptimal, and therefore encourages the UG to recognize the invaluable role owning a building means to these associations. It should be funded by any means.

Support for Campus Fryslân

Students who study at the University of Groningen, but are housed in a different city, are entitled to use the Student Facilities that the University of Groningen makes available. Because this is not always accessible due to the distance, we want the university to take care of this by:

  • Offering the possibility for student psychologists to go to locations outside of Groningen for parts of a day.
  • Creating coherence between the students in Groningen and the locations outside the city by organizing exchanges and events in collaboration with various organizations.
  • We think that students of Campus Fryslân who want to make use of UG services, should get optimal support to so.