In Candidate Highlight, we give students an overview of each Student Council candidate in a series of short interviews.
Ange Asare is a first-year Social Science major currently running for a position on the upcoming 2020-2021 AUC Student Council. Asare says she wants to give back to the AUC community by involving herself and helping make AUC truly excellent and diverse. Her main point of focus is emphasising diversity and representation at AUC.
Q: Hello Ange. For a start, why don’t you just walk me through the reasons that made you apply to Student Council?
A: Well, I’m a first year at AUC and I’ve been here for a few months. One of the reasons I went to AUC was that they had a broad mission of excellence and diversity, and I thought that was very important to do as a university. Even though AUC tries their best to their ability to promote these values, I found that AUC was lacking in certain parts in terms of diversity and excellence. I thought: “I’m a first year and I might not have the best of knowledge of all things related to AUC, I can still try to implement some ideas to bring about change at AUC.” I want to change things for the better and apply for student council.
Q: Let’s move to one of the issues you wanted to talk about, excellence. Your main idea is “excellence beyond the classroom”. What does that mean?
A: We are already part of a big excellent group. We don’t have resits, we are an honours programme. Generally speaking, I feel that if you’re an AUC student you strive for excellence. I think we should promote excellence beyond academia, because it is one thing to strive for the good grades and the good academic record, but you also have to develop as a person. AUC is also about creating active members of society and AUC does not do as many things about that as they could. Excellence comes in many forms and all its aspects need to be touched upon. We already do good on creating a vibrant community at AUC but there’s more out there, outside the AUC bubble. We should promote that as well. We shouldn’t restrict people from doing what they want to do beyond academia.
Q: What do you think AUC should do to promote this excellence beyond the classroom?
A: For instance, I think the absence policy is restricting students from engaging in certain extra-curricular activities. That’s one thing that prevents people to take a certain path of go a certain direction in their lives. We should also promote extra-curricular activities that would develop students as people. AUC does not do that enough, I think. For example, they could advertise certain programs, or incite people to volunteer during the breaks.
Q: On the topic of diversity, what exactly do you think AUC should do?
A: AUC is one of the greatest, nicest schools in the Netherlands I would say. You have a certain type of group that comes here, mostly from similar socio-economic background. That’s mostly due to the price of AUC, because it’s not as cheap as the other universities. We have funds for people who cannot attend because they do not have the financial means, and I think this should be promoted more. The tuition fees can have a deterrent effect on prospective students who feel it is too expensive to go to AUC and we should promote the fact that there are options to attend AUC. We should show that it’s not only the people who are more privileged who can afford to come to AUC but that if you’re really passionate and interested in the programme there are options for you to join.
I’m not only thinking about socio-economic diversity but also about other forms of diversity like ethnicity, political orientation or gender. We have a lot of internationals, which we are proud of, but I think all forms of diversity need to be encouraged. A lot of students at AUC are females for instance, which is fine, but we could see more males. Diversity should be our strength.
Q: In your policy plan, you say that lecturers should be diverse and should praise diversity. How would that work?
A: I would say that they should praise in classrooms. Diversity should be advertised in classrooms. The only class this year that I took and that seemed to talk about issues of diversity was GIE (Global Identity Experience). That could be in other classes as well.
Q: How comfortable are you with working with other people, facing off against strong opposition and how feasible do you think your measures are?
A: First of all, I’d like to say that I praise the ideas of a lot of the other candidates. I think that as a group, as an actual student council at the end, we will be strong enough to actually to try and impose our ideas. A lot of the ideas we have now are important and even if I am not elected, I hope the new members will think of the ideas of other candidates that might not end up in the council. Together, we can build a strong unit to go against the board of examiners for example. If we as students feel there needs to be a change, they will actually listen to us.
For additional information about the candidates, consult: https://www.aucstudentcouncilelections.nl/