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S&I Candidates 2020 - 2021
#5 Candidate: Paula Trakoštanec
It is time to bring creativity into sustainability.
Paula comes from Croatia. She is a master's student in Organic Agriculture with a specialization in Agroecology. She joined the Programme Committee of MOA during her study because she likes to contribute her experiences to improve the education quality in her program. Besides, she is an active member of Semper Florens (study association in Plant Science) and IAAS (International Association of Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences) study association. Through IAAS, she became a Soft Skill trainer, which can be put to good use in the Student Council. Listening was always one of her strong suits and she plans to spend a lot of time listening to students and make Wageningen University better in the coming academic year. She also believes education should have an important role in maintaining WU's leading position in sustainability. “Sustainability is not a single discipline challenge. It calls for multidisciplinary solutions, where one needs to understand environmental problems in connection to their social and economic pillars. Therefore, I want to bring sustainability to every master program because sustainability is a multidisciplinary topic and we need everyone learning about it if we are to start making sustainable progress.” She is keen on the sustainability aspects and removing single-use plastic waste on WUR. “It pains me to see so many students on WUR still using non-sustainable materials, such as single-use plastic cups. I want to bring a more sustainable choice for students in the form of biodegradable cups served in machines and cafeteria. On the other hand, she is also a motivated and dedicated individual in our WU student community with a simple idea: Improve education by bringing sustainability into every course. You know what they say, ‘If you want to change the world, start from yourself.’
I care about student well-being and equality because I know how it feels when it goes wrong.
Ardha comes from Indonesia. She is a first-year master student in the Tourism, Society and Environment program and also a current board member of PPI Wageningen. Before she came to Wageningen, she studied Cultural Anthropology for her bachelor in Indonesia. She finds that learning about culture and sustainability is what keeps life exciting.
She loves being a part of WUR. The study atmosphere along with all the lovely people in it makes her feel comfortable and motivated to grasp all the knowledge from the courses. It also boosts her excitement to broaden her experiences and contribute more to society. “As an international student, I would like to have as many opportunities to face challenges beyond the academic area,” support her reasons to run for Student Council candidacy, so more students can have lived their life in WUR to the fullest.
Having many positive experiences doesn’t stop her to dream about a better future for the university and its students. She believes some things could also be improved, both from the academic and non-academic side. One of the ways of doing it is by empowering students to improve their well-being as she realizes student life could be stressful at times. Another form of improvement she proposed that will be complemented by students having less stressful time on campus is for the university to have a better sustainable education quality.
To address her concerns, she will make use of her time in the Student Council by focusing on turning her ideas into actions. She wants to articulate students’ need for well-being by advocating for them in organizing workshops, cultural and community sharing activities as part of campus’ regular agenda. She believes it will help to address her concern on equality which sometimes could be unconsciously ruled out. By doing so, she expects all students from various backgrounds could feel welcomed and will as well improve the integration within our campus.
When she is not in a ‘working mode’, Ardha likes to take a walk or cycle to the river and enjoy nature at nearby parks with friends. Sometimes she also explores other cities and hunts hidden gems in second-hand stores. At home, she likes to socialize with her roommates in the common room to have dinner or drinks together and watch movies. Oftentimes, she simply plays some music and struggles with chords.
It’s time to make student support services more accessible, especially as this crisis evolves.
Tamkin comes from Bangladesh. She is doing a Master's in Environmental Sciences in the Environmental Systems Analysis track. She loves reading fiction, watching crime series, trying out new recipes, and sightseeing. Current times have however incentivized her into becoming a Jack of all trades (almost), where she enjoys crocheting, painting, playing Animal Crossing, and growing a variety of succulents to make her own terrarium.
‘Spending the last year at WUR made me contemplate the role I play for its community. I knew that I like connecting with people and have an affinity for finding solutions. So I started looking for ways to become active outside the classroom and found myself getting involved in the Student Council elections. Personally, I experience this pandemic to have caused enough delays and disruption to our social and academic lives, where we are likely to face unknown challenges transitioning into the next possible step. On another note, I know that many of us would agree to have a digital room booking system on this day and age of technology. I believe that WUR will need to make its student support services more accommodating and accessible, especially as this crisis evolves. As your representative, I will actively address services and initiatives that strengthen academic development, promote social inclusion, and foster student well-being.’
Wageningen University should take the responsibility to encourage students to start up a sustainable life and build up a sustainable mindset.
Chenyue comes from China. She is a 1st-year master student of Geo-information-Science-and-Remote-Sensing. She participated in different study associations and worked on student projects besides her study. She enjoys teamwork a lot and especially loves brainstorming. She is more than willing to share her opinions and to listen to other people’s ideas. Through communication and experiencing, she gained creativity and became more opened-minded to different cultures. ‘I am always curious about new things and willing to try them!’ Last summer she joined a volunteer program ‘Orcalab’ in Canada, which aims to protect wild whales such as humpback and orcas and their habitats. This experience also brought her a strong interest in sustainability.
In the Student Council, she wants to contribute to sustainability not only environmentally but also mentally. ‘I hope more and more WU students get a chance to experience and participate in sustainable development in our campus, not just listening and watching it as an outsider’. She knows lots of WU students have great passion and brilliant ideas on developing sustainability, but few of them get a chance to bring their idea into reality, it might be because of lacking certain crucial knowledge or cannot find a proper way to imply it. She believes Wageningen university can play an important role for them. Through cooperation between the student council and the university, we can provide a platform for improving sustainability. Such as helping and coaching the ambitious students who want to make their sustainable dream come true; offering start-up workshops or even courses for these students who want to develop their career toward sustainability so they can get a clear view on how the current situation is, and where their future should go; organizing volunteer activities that everybody who lives in Wageningen can participate in as long as he or she wants. (for example: restore habitat in an over-explored area, protection of wetland). She believes these steps are essential because it not only encourages students to take actions for a more sustainable lifestyle but also helps WU students to build up a sustainable mindset.
She thinks the university also has a responsibility to encourage students to have a more sustainable lifestyle and to build up a sustainable mindset. I believe small steps can make big changes in our daily life. We are responsible for having a healthier study life and an eco-friendlier living environment.
There is no better integration than through common education!
Lan comes from Croatia. He is doing his second master's in Management, economics and consumer studies here in Wageningen. He came to appreciate the importance of active life in non-government organizations over five years ago. Especially in student associations and organizations. For five years he has actively engaged in NGO work and as soon as he came to WUR, he enrolled in IAAS Wageningen and Mercurius Professional in board positions.
He believes that the most important one in a students’ life is the Student Council. ‘I want to help our students get their voices heard and work with all parties involved to improve our student life and education for the benefit of us all.’ In the coming academic year, Lan wants to focus on improving education and integrity through combined activities. He strongly believes that the importance of non-formal education is still not on a level of importance as it should be amongst the student population. My aim would be to create an event that will become a cornerstone in integrating people through education The event would focus on gathering different groups of people together to work or educate themselves on a common goal (e.g. presentation skills, recycle workshop/competitions…). It would happen on a regular basis allowing it to grow in popularity and that students begin to schedule it in their plans. In addition, I would like to raise awareness about topics, which the elected student council would agree upon, through a series of “change my mind” tables around campus and other interactive and fun activities in order for students to get to know the council but also educate themselves through this fun discussion.