"I would like to create more connection among students at our faculty."
Meet our faculty's student assessor: Lukas Alkema
Lukas Alkema is a fourth-year student of the bachelor's programme at the Utrecht School of Governance and has been the student assessor of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance since September. We spoke with him about how he came to be the student assessor and what he aspires to achieve in this role.
What do you do as a student assessor?
My role is to advise the faculty board on everything that affects students. Therefore, I attend many meetings to make students’ voices heard, such as those of the faculty board.
During those meetings, I try to see what the outcomes of certain decisions are for students. Based on that, I try to give the best possible representation of my fellow students.
What is it like suddenly being at these meetings as a student?
In the beginning it was a little nerve-wrecking because you do find yourself in this grown-up space as the only student there. You do not really know yet what your position entails in those meetings, but it soon became clear to me that my views were being taken very seriously.
Sometimes, however, very technical matters about academic research are discussed that I, as a student, do not have that much of an opinion on and that is also fine. But it is still interesting to learn about the administrative side of the faculty.
And what do you do besides attend those meetings?
As a student assessor, you also get involved in other projects where the organisation would like to include a student point of view. For example, I recently got involved in a project surrounding sustainability at our faculty.
In addition, it is also quite common for you to assume your own project as an assessor. For instance, I am setting up my own research project on how students approach filling in the optional course profile.
I think there are enough students walking around with questions, but they do not know where to turn to.
How did you come up with this project?
I noticed that I found it quite difficult to fill my optional course profile. Because although there are one hundred tools out there to help you, all the options and electives felt incredibly overwhelming. I also noticed that my fellow students were struggling with the same problem.
What happens a lot now is that students just follow the beaten path and do what other students have done before them. That is, of course, completely fine, but there is a vast range of opportunities which are hardly utilised because students just do not know these opportunities exit. That is a shame.
That is kind of how I came up with the idea of conducting this kind of survey among all LEG students to see, what do you need to be able to make a good choice and what is currently missing?
Speaking of choices, how did you become a student assessor?
Last year, I did a board year at USG’s student association Perikles. Through this experience, I got better acquainted with the faculty as a larger entity, as well as with the position of the student assessor in particular.
Additionally, I happened to know my predecessor Jasmijn Pelders personally. Partly because of her stories about the position, I eventually applied for the position.
What would you like to focus on in your role as assessor in the coming year?
I would like to create more connection within our faculty. Our faculty is quite a special one, as there are no students at “LEG” so to speak. They all walk around in their own department: law students can be found at Janskerkhof, economics students study at the International Campus and Governance students likewise mainly know their own building. This makes it harder to form meaningful connections.
Of course, that is not going to suddenly turn around within a week or a year, but I hope to be able to contribute to students feeling a bit more connected to the faculty. I think that study associations can play a significant role in that, for example by organising events together. But the student associations also do not always know what all the faculty is doing. I hope I can help connect these people a bit and make sure we can improve our cooperation.
How do you make sure you are aware of what is going on with students at the faculty?
I stay in regular contact with the assessors of the three departments at our faculty. Furthermore, I try to speak with all the student associations frequently. That way, I try to be as up to date as possible about what is going on among students.
Of course, students can also send me an e-mail directly. I think there are enough students walking around with questions, but they do not know where to turn to. You can always send me a message if you want to let me know or ask something.
Do you have a question or want to tell Lukas something? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org