By Julia Vié and Julija Mockutė
— The votes are in, and the new AUC Student Council has been elected: the AUC student body has decided that it will be represented by Danielle Wagenaar from The Dean’s List, Tanushree Kaushal from Party Pleb, Anouk ter Linde from The Approachables, and Stijn Wilbers and Aaron Altaras from AUC Synergy. Now that the intense elections, which attracted much more applicants and with different opinions than last year, have come to an end, the elected students can rest from campaigning and the Student Council transition can begin.
Last year, six people ran for AUC Student Council, and when one dropped out, there was no competition left, leaving Stijn Gabriel, Aqsa Hussain, Bram Jaarsma and Lisa Cukuranovic to form the AUC Student Council. This year there were 24 candidates and four parties: AUC Synergy, Party Pleb, The Approachables and The Dean’s List, each with a different plan for the Student Council.
Kaushal, ter Linde, and Wilbers attributed this increase in interest primarily to the recent protests against financialization and towards student empowerment at the UvA. Wagenaar from The Dean’s List explained it differently: “I guess the reason for the increase in the number of candidates is the improved visibility of the student council.”
Wilbers added that he hopes it is a general trend. “I think there should always be a great interest,” he said.
However, the voter turnout dropped slightly compared to last year, with 34% of all students voting this year as compared to 36% in 2014.
Commenting on the lack of interest within the study body, first year student Thomas Litan said: “I think it would have been beneficial if the candidates were able to promote themselves during the election, especially given the fact that we had the AUCSA elections at the same time and ascension weekend in between the promotion week and the elections.”
As the new Student Council has members from different parties with diverse opinions, the question of smooth collaboration was raised by some of the candidates. “I am really curious what will happen with Party Pleb, as we differ from that party on the idea of communication with the management,” Wagenaar said.
Others did not seem concerned about this and believe that it is good to discuss different views. “Of course there will be arguments sometimes, but that is what democracy is about. I talked to the members of the other teams, and despite our differences, I am confidant that it will work out fine.” Kaushal added.
Wilbers added, commenting on the issue of collaboration, that all members of the newly formed Student Council in the end want to reach the same goal: making AUC a better place. “We’re not knights in shining armor, we are not going to sweep the problems, but we can provide a platform,” Kaushal said.
As the current AUC Student Council’s term is coming to an end, Internal Affairs Officer Lisa Cukuranovic reflected on the achievements of the previous board: “I think the student life officer is our greatest achievement, because it has been tried throughout the past years and it never got realized. With the help of the senior welfare adviser we managed to get it approved,” Cukuranovic said.
Cukuranovic added some advice for the new AUC Student Council: “I’ve said this many times before: it’s not a grateful role, you will get a lot of criticism and frustration, but you can turn this around into something positive. Be persistent with what you want and exhaust all of the possibilities, because when you do get what you want it is very rewarding.”