Edmond Bitay (Student Democrats): fresh wind in the University Council
It’s been a while since a new student party made its way to the university council. Last one to try and succeed was student party Front, but that was 10 years ago. This year Student Democrats tries to let a fresh wind breeze to the highest participation council. We talked to front-runner Edmond Bitay about the ambitions of the party.
What’s the story behind the forming of your party?
“We started because we had a fundamentally different view of how universities should look. The first time we got to together was after last year’s elections. We felt like people were getting pressured into voting. Sometimes it even felt like harassment. This is a problem. At the moment, you do not vote because you believe in a cause. People aren’t informed.”
So you decided to change that?
“Yes. We came to the realization that nobody was representing our goals. Things like helping students with entrepreneurship, to care for the environment, economic equality and so on.”
What do you want to change about that?
“We noticed that we don’t have a real student community yet at Tilburg University. That’s something our leaders were not pushing for until our arrival. We think that’s important and could really improve. We should be focusing on that.”
“People aren’t informed”
How are you going to do that?
“As a party, we want to focus on other things than just the university council. We see the university council as a great instrument to make a change but we will build the community aspect independently as well.”
What should that community look like and how are you going to get there?
“We want to focus on democracy by understanding what students want. Secondly, Student Democrats focuses on active citizenship. We want to create an environment where intellectuals and entrepreneurs flourish.”
And more concrete?
“We’ve formed committees. The Horizon Committee is in charge of bringing about the entrepreneurial and intellectual community. Initiatives such as communicating with student associations and creating a common room where we can thrive will be carried out by them. The Cobbenhagen Circle committee is a think-tank in charge of figuring out what improvements to make and how to implement them.”
What will you be focusing on in the council?
“Initiating the proposal for the common room for our community and measuring up the changes to improve food on campus. If you want to work well, you got to eat well.”
“If you want to work well, you got to eat well”
“Another thing we want to realize is an ‘Academic Bildung Program’. With this program, we want to provide students with the possibility of a broader education. It shouldn’t be mandatory, but students should have the ability to take part in it.”
You don’t have candidates with experience in councils, and are a new party. How will you solve your lack of experience?
“We will acquire the experience. Our educational background also enables us to better understand the council. “
“We realize we have to consider other stakeholders. So we’re willing to make a compromise. Our biggest problem at the moment, from the student’s perspective, is that the wrong subjects are discussed in the University Council’. A debate on new issues is a great start.”
Read the election program of Student Democrats here.