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Election profile: Social Liberal Students´candidate

Philip Groes is a candidate for the Board of the University and represents the group 'Social Liberal Students' in the upcoming university elections. First of a series of candidate profiles

True to his party’s name, Philip Groes would like to bring about liberal changes within the way the university functions. Ranging from the running of KUnet to better study programmes, he thinks there is room for improvement in all of it.

1) In a few sentences, could you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

»My name is Philip Groes, and I represent Social-liberal Students (Radikale Studerende in Danish) in the upcoming university elections. I study economics and am currently in the middle of my fifth year at the university. I am running for the board of the university because I want more student democracy, and a more open debate«.

On the political agenda

2) What are your main agendas?

»The political platform of Social-liberal Students is based upon three main agendas. First of all, we want more student democracy. Under the current electoral system, the Student Council candidate is all but assured of being elected. We see the university election as the highest authority of the student democracy, and want to make sure that students are able to genuinely influence student politics through their vote«.

»Secondly, we want a more digital university. The current university intranet, consisting of KUnet and Absalon, has an outdated structure. We want to prioritize a new and more accessible website: one where you don’t have to spend 5-10 minutes searching for the correct link in order to register for an exam. Many students own smartphones or tablets, so it is really perplexing that a university app with the same functions as the intranet has not been built yet. Furthermore, wireless internet at the university simply has to function better«.

»Finally, we want the University to adopt a more international focus. We live in a globalised world, and it is vital that our university has a global perspective. International students are able to provide a different perspective on a subject, and thus increase the quality of education for everyone. We want to make it easier for Danish students to study abroad, and easier for international students to study at our university. To do this, we want to reduce the level of bureaucracy and increase the number of exchange-deals with foreign universities«.

Progressive international expansion

3) The University of Copenhagen is increasingly seen as an international university, with half of Master’s programmes in English, and a large international student and staff community. Do you believe in internationalisation? And if so, do have any specific policy ideas in the area?

»We believe that further internationalisation is extremely important in our efforts to create a better university for everyone. More classes taught in English means more potential to attract researchers from abroad who are experts in their field, and in turn leads to a sharp increase in the quality of the education we receive. Additionally, we want to create programmes that are designed specifically for both Danish and international students, in order to broaden the perspective of the education. Not only will this provide better integration between Danish and international students, it will also allow the students to benefit from the many different perspectives«.

4) International students have been particularly hard hit by Copenhagen’s housing bottleneck. Any comments?

»The demand for affordable student housing has never been higher – and unfortunately the supply cannot keep up with the increasing number of students. Danish students are having a hard time finding housing, but it is even more difficult for international students, as they are forced to conduct their search from another country and because they haven’t got a network in Denmark yet. We think that the general lack of housing is an issue that the municipality of Copenhagen should address in the near future – but that does not prevent us from trying to find an internal solution at the university. We want to establish a university hotline, where university staff can help international students find an apartment or a room for rent«.

Unwelcoming Danes problem

5) International students everywhere, not just in Copenhagen, say in surveys they have a hard time making friends with people from their host country when on exchange (Danes). Any ideas?

»Unfortunately, it seems to be a lingering problem that Danes aren’t very welcoming of international students. Not only does this cause problems for current international students, but it also reduces the number of potential future international students at the university. We believe that social events play a huge role in improving the integration between Danish and international students. Although such events are likely best organized by the different studies themselves, we will provide the means for the individual studies to carry their plans out«.

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