Aurora Students’ Round Table Highlights Student Participation in Aurora  

25 June 2024

During the Aurora Spring Biannual hosted by the University Federico II of Naples, the Aurora Student Council (ASC) organised the Aurora Students’ Round Table plenary session, an opportunity for the ASC members to review the major projects of their year within the council and discuss the status of student participation in Aurora.  

The plenary session was chaired by Hanuš Patera, former President of the ASC, accompanied by two members of the Council Nana-Kirstine Bruhn Rasmussen and Sören Daehn, as well as Alma Ágústsdóttir and Niels Hexspoor, who leads the activities on Aurora Student Support and Engagement, and the Aurora Student Community (Work Package 7). Part of the Aurora Students’ Round Table session focused on the students’ work in 2023-2024.

Panelists reminded the audience that the ASC members are only present for one year, which is not enough time to realise all their projects. Thus, the ASC members presented a strategic document containing several goals to be achieved for future members of the council. These goals include:

  • Creation of a social media communication plan.
  • Presence of members of the council at all Aurora events.
  • Increase in the number of in-person meetings.
Sören Daehn, Copenhagen Business School
Alma Ágústsdóttir, University of Iceland
Niels Hexspoor, Palacký University Olomouc
Nana Bruhn Rasmussen, University of Iceland

Diversity and Inclusion Moving Forward

Hanuš further addressed the topic of diversity and inclusion. Indeed, the ASC chooses a topic on which it proposes that Aurora universities could improve by the year end. The council highlighted four areas for improvement:  

  • Collaborating closer with institutional student parliaments, to strengthen the presence of Aurora students in the university’s decision-making process.  
  • Establishing the position of equality officer, or thematic equality days, that would result in a concrete equality plan to follow, beyond just recommendations.  
  • Responding to the problems of people with disabilities by providing easier information, or the creation of a support checklist. 
  • Offering diversity education for new staff so that they know the support available to respond to these problems. 

The Aurora Student Ambassador Programme

Subsequently, the panel discussed the participation of students in Aurora, based on the existing Student Ambassador programme that allows them to participate in Aurora’s various task teams. The first three questions focused on how to include students in task teams. They also addressed the biggest obstacles to developing the Student Ambassador programme properly. Most participants emphasised that student participation should be implemented better and more broadly.  

Sören Daehn explained that, the ambassador programme allows for a win-win situation where students can develop international skills and task team leaders benefit from a different viewpoint within their team. He stressed that students do not participate in the programme to join inactive task teams. Therefore, the biggest obstacles in setting up the programme are finding the right way to include students in task teams. The panelists also touched on the fact that students feel overworked, as they must attend classes, work, have a social life, and get involved in associations at their universities, leaving little time for participation in Aurora. 

The last two questions posed the problem of recognition and rewards for the student’s work. The topic of financial compensation to student ambassadors was challenging due to strict budgetary constraints within Aurora universities. Despite this fact, the panel agreed that fair recognition should be in place for all students’ activities, in order to promote student participation in Aurora more seriously.  

The panel concluded that currently the Student Ambassador programme is not sufficiently developed to allow student participation in all task teams. However, in the long term, it would be ideal to have meaningful student representation across all task teams to ensure Aurora’s activities also meet the expectations of its students.