Which student party gets your vote?

Election time is here again. On Tuesday December 5th and Wednesday December 6th you can cast your vote in the University Council elections. There are three student parties to choose between: Groep-één, DAS and ONS. The split is currently five seats, three seats and one seat. But will it stay that way? Cursor spoke to all three factions about their vision and priorities.



Groep-één has been the largest student faction on the University Council for years. They currently have five of the nine student seats on the Council. “To every single student I can say, we are here for you,” says the party's number one candidate Hieke van Heesch, bachelor's student of Psychology & Technology. “However you choose to spend your time as a student, we believe you should feel included on campus.” How the faction aims to achieve this is described in Groep-één's five pillars: quality of education; personal and professional development; sustainability; facilities and student housing; and wellbeing, community and inclusivity.

For Cursor, Van Heesch lists the most important points. For example, their plans include monitoring the transition to the new Bachelor College. “We want to ensure that students who haven't passed courses now within the Bachelor College won't fall behind.”

And, as an extension of this, they want to see the readability of the Program and Examination Regulation (PER) improved for students. “So that students know what they are entitled to.”

Extracurricular matters are another key issue. Groep-één is keen to see a standard level of reimbursement introduced for full-timers, whether they are busy with a student team or an association (study, student or cultural). “All these activities help our community thrive and ensure that everyone finds their tribe,” says Van Heesch. While bachelor's students have many teams and associations to choose from, she feels these same options are lacking for master's students. She hopes to give them a broader palette. And vice versa she would like to see bachelor's students given more scope to explore their career options. “Our university is known for its links with industry, but as things currently stand the benefit to our bachelor's students is only minimal. We want to change that.”


Another issue she raises is the university's increasing internationalization. As a faction, she says, they are working to actively involve international students in all the opportunities available at the university to facilitate integration. “And we are the only party with an international student in our faction,” she adds.

Beyond these main issues, the Groep-één agenda is broad. For example, they are looking into whether students can be provided with document stands and computer mice to prevent RSI symptoms; they are actively engaged in making student parties safer, including those held during Introduction Week; and they have joined forces with the other factions to make sustainability a permanent topic on the University Council.

Does she think her party can win more seats? Van Heesch couldn't say. “We've been the biggest party for years, so we expect to remain so, but, of course, you never know.”

DAS Eindhoven

"We stand for the ambitious students among us,” says Deen Slenter, bachelor's student of Applied Physics and number three on the DAS candidate list, “for those students who are keen to engage in self-development in ways beyond those offered by their degree program.” He is referring to extracurricular activities such as student associations, where DAS's own roots lie, but also to student teams and cultural and sports associations.

Slenter is speaking from experience; he himself is involved in all kinds of associations and, of course, he's a member of the DAS faction on the University Council. “I love my degree program, but honestly I've learned twice as much from all the committee work I've done alongside it. It's that collaboration you want, those soft skills. It's incredibly valuable, no two ways about it.” That's why DAS is working not only to encourage these activities, but also to facilitate them. After all, it can be challenging at times, running a board year or student team alongside your program. “We stand for flexible studying,” says Slenter. By flexible studying he means the opportunity - where possible - to plan your own time. If your board meeting overlaps with an important lecture, you'd like to be able to watch the lecture later on. “This should be a standard option with every lecture,” Slenter adds. As a general idea, flexible studying is always there in the back of the DAS mind. Take the increase in Challenge Based Learning, for example. It often goes hand in hand with more mandatory contact hours, a development that runs contrary to flexible hours.


Alongside flexible studying, housing is high on the DAS agenda. After all, if you want to get involved in things outside your studies, you need housing that's close by. Eventually, of course, this benefits everyone. “We are the only student faction with a housing committee that works all year round with the municipality,” Slenter explains. “Of course, the university can't solve something like the housing crisis on its own, so this collaboration with the municipality is important.” DAS members are currently working hard on their Eindje Bouwen initiative, in which they plan to transform vacant premises into student houses. In addition, they are working on a quality mark to provide instant insight into how good a student house is. Handy for students, and their parents.

From everything that Slenter says it is clear that while DAS has a large following among student associations, the party has a lot of offer a broader public. “Because we grew out of student associations, they've been our original focus. But the things we do for the student associations and what benefits them, all that also benefits a great many individuals.”


ONS is the youngest of the three student factions. Now two years old, it has had a single seat on the University Council in both years. “The majority of Groep-één voters are study association members and the majority of DAS voters are student association members,” says Yuri Copal, master's student of Mechanical Engineering, ONS's third-ranked candidate, and currently the faction's chairperson. “ONS was set up with the idea of expanding this landscape a little.”

ONS operates around three main cornerstones: student wellbeing, transparency and the long term. They've expressly chosen to work with only a few cornerstones. It means they can devote more attention to each one. In the area of student wellbeing ONS is currently working mainly on integration and character. “TU/e is growing at a tremendous pace,” says Copal. “That's only a good thing, but it can't help but change the university, of course.” This is why the faction is seeking to achieve a better student-lecturer ratio. They believe the number of lecturers and support staff should keep pace with the number of students, so that students continue to receive enough attention. They also feel it is important to recognize that the university has different sorts of students with differing wishes. “International students currently account for 55% of first-year intake,” Copal tells Cursor. “Internationals usually have very different wishes from Dutch students, and that's something that needs actively looking at. And, obviously, the wishes of Dutch students mustn't be forgotten.”


ONS wants to see students getting more involved in the decisions taken by the University Council. “At present we have elections once a year and the rest of the year students aren't really being kept aware of what's going on,” says Copal. “The University Council, and student and employee participation in general, need to be less remote from the campus community.” On the one hand, the readability (for students) of University Council decisions should be improved, and on the other, it should be made easier for students to share their opinions and wishes with the University Council.

The above is a view shared by all three student factions, and they each have their own ideas about how to change things for the better. What makes ONS stand out is its vision of the function of the University Council. “We are here not only for the current student body, but also for future students,” says Copal. He is referring to the long term - an ONS cornerstone. “ONS is working to achieve a University Council that is less driven by current ad hoc problems, and more focused on a general vision and long-term strategy. Preferably beyond 2030. In this way, ONS is working to ensure that TU/e's quality is maintained, and increases, as it moves into the future.”

Today, tomorrow and Wednesday members of each student faction are stationed all over the campus to answer everyone's questions and, of course, to tell you why you should vote for them. Be sure to go along, ask critical questions and don't forget to vote.

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