Rebecca Esselgren, chair of Linnaeus Union, is highly committed to the European University for Well-being (EUniWell), in particular within their student network, Student Board. Therefore, she has been elected one of two vice-chairs:
“I’ve always had a great interest in international topics. This assignment suited me very well and I get to learn a lot”, says Esselgren, who studied on the international social sciences programme.
Linnaeus University is one of seven European universities that have entered a strategic, university-wide collaboration through EUniWell. The other universities are Birmingham, Cologne, Florence, Leiden, Nantes, and Semmelweis in Budapest.
“In February 2020, I took part as a student representative when all the participating universities met in Birmingham. 14 Students were in place and we were assigned to establish the structure for EUniWell’s Student Board”, Esselgren explains.
EUniWell’s Student Board was supposed to meet four times a year. But the pandemic put a stop to this. Instead, they have held online meetings once a month.
“It feels good that we got to meet in person before the pandemic. That was the only time, but it has meant a lot during the past year. I hope we will be able to meet in real life again soon.
At the Birmingham meeting, three people were assigned specific roles; one chief student officer and two executive board members.
“I was appointed to be one of the two executive board members. This means that, among other things, I lead our board meetings and also send out documents to the members before these meetings”, Esselgren continues.
What benefits can our students gain from EUniWell?
“They can establish closer collaborations, which makes it easier for students to gain international experience. It will become easier and more open. It is also an opportunity to gain new perspectives and good experiences”, says Esselgren.
It is a great challenge to reach our students. What is more, EUniWell wants to carry out many local activities, but in order to achieve this we need to see commitment among students here at the university.
“My hope is that students will become engaged in EUniWell. Those who are interested can engage themselves now, right away. We are now starting up different work groups and we need students to fill these”, Esselgren adds.
“It has been interesting to meet students from other universities during the pandemic. We have all had different experiences of the pandemic, and the meetings have given all of us a broader perspective on what things have been like. However, one thing can be stated in general: students are not feeling well due to the situation we have had”, says Esselgren.
“If we can do this much online, just imagine how much we can achieve when we are able to meet again!”, Esselgren concludes.
From the EUniWell meeting in Birmingham we see Cho Park, University of Birmingham; Rebecca Esselgren, Linnaeus University; and Judith Barth, University of Cologne.