This week we have celebrated the formalisation of cooperation between all the students’ unions at the University. This means better conditions for our students to remain actively involved in the affairs of the University – which is good. A university must listen to its students to keep up with the times and adapt the programmes and courses it offers to meet new needs. Those who represent the students have an important role to play and should be involved in as many contexts as possible.
This year we celebrate 100 years of democracy in Sweden. A lot has changed since Uppsala Student Union was established in 1849. At that time, there were few students and they came from the upper echelons of society. The first woman student, Betty Pettersson from Gotland, for example, was only admitted in 1872. These days we have tremendous breadth in our student body, and this is a great advantage. Our University is open and international. Naturally, that makes demands on us as a University and on the unions that represent the entire student body. We need the help of the unions to pick up issues from across the entire student body, not least our international students, who bring experience from other countries that is important and useful for us. The unions also face challenges channelling issues that engage many students, such as the climate issue, into arenas for student influence, as well as issues associated with students’ wellbeing.
Meeting students and the students’ unions gives those of us in the University management new perspectives on how best to approach the future. This inspires us and helps us to develop. We hope that the cooperation now established between the unions will give all students a stronger voice.