A Conversation with Hanuš Patera, the Student Council President

28 February 2024

The student council president holds immense responsibility and comes with high expectations. It evokes images of a resilient student leader, a champion for the unheard, and a key player in the complex realm of university governance. At the Aurora Student Council (ASC), Hanuš Patera exceeds the mere symbolism of the position; he personifies the virtues of unwavering commitment. In this interview, we delve into the goals and aspirations of Hanuš for 2024, the council’s theme of diversity and inclusion, and insights on the student conference. 

About Hanuš Patera

Hanuš started his journey as a psychology student at Palacky University Olomouc; he entered Aurora with a mind eager to soak up university life’s opportunities. He recounts: “My path to becoming the student council president was long and enriching. This is my third year in the Aurora Student Council. I first started as a member, the first one from Palacky University. Then, when it was time to elect the new vice president, I thought, “I see so much potential here; maybe I will run for this position.” The next thing you know, I was the vice president. And then, after another academic year came to pass, I decided (after many discussions with the former president Alma Ágústsdóttir) that I would run for the position of the President of the Aurora Student Council. I was honoured to be elected to this position and have enjoyed it ever since.”

For Hanuš, the joy lies in seeing young people connect and interact. He feels privileged to play a part in facilitating these connections. The current team at the Aurora Student Council is a constant source of motivation and inspiration. Regarding shaping higher education, Hanuš appreciates the access his role offers him. He shares: “I am grateful for the access my role provides – I am part of the Board and General Council in Aurora. I am regularly invited to the meetings of Institutional Coordinators, where we discuss strategic decisions regarding student involvement. Overall, I believe that thanks to this platform, I can impact students’ decisions.”

Hanuš currently devotes his efforts to developing a strategy document to guide future ASC members. In doing so, he adds: “In the past, the ASC always started back from ground zero when a new academic year hit. With this document, we aim to guide priorities – outlining completed tasks, feasible goals, ongoing projects to complete, and past initiatives. This will serve as a roadmap for future ASC members, helping them make informed decisions about the council’s direction.”

Diversity and Inclusion and Insights into the Student Conference in Tarragona

In 2024, the student council’s theme is encouraging Diversity and inclusion in Aurora member university campuses. He notes that it is crucial to prioritize diversity and inclusion as essential steps for societal progress. He states: “To move forward as a society, we need to be welcoming to every single member. This applies especially in higher education: to erase barriers, we must make learning accessible to everyone. Hanuš emphasizes how the student council is undertaking a meticulous review to identify three areas within each partner university where the university could improve regarding diversity and inclusion. He says: “We are also trying to develop meaningful policy implementations that could be applied across Aurora. We also organised a workshop focused on inclusion and cross-cultural communication at the Student Conference in Tarragona.”

One of the recent initiatives of the student council was the Student Conference on Diversity and Inclusion held at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. The conference was attended by student council members and participants of this year’s Aurora Student Ambassadors Programme. Unpacking conference details, Hanus shares: “We began with an informative session on diversity and inclusion, covering key terms and recommended practices for fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Subsequently, we engaged in activities centred on cross-cultural communication to align with the inclusivity theme. These activities included a quiz on diverse customs, a “Running a Business Across Cultures” workshop, a delightful exchange of humorous idioms from participants’ native languages, and various engaging exercises. It was truly an enjoyable and memorable experience!”

Organising the Student Conference was a notable achievement for the ASC. At the conference, ambassadors could connect with their ASC representatives, which helped broaden each other’s horizons. The attendees had a great time together, which, he notes, is a crucial part of the conference’s experience. Other student council initiatives include having finished a draft of the strategy document. Additionally, he shares: “We plan to gather feedback from relevant parties within Aurora. We have started to prepare our plenary session for the spring biannual in Naples, but I won’t reveal our theme yet ;)”

With a keen focus on diversity and inclusion, the council’s initiatives aim to raise awareness and institute meaningful changes that echo throughout the campus. The successful integration of these values into everyday campus life exemplifies a future where all students can thrive, supported by respect and understanding.