What has VMU SR done in the last six months?
In March a new President and Office of VMU SR was elected at the reporting-election conference of Vytautas Magnus University Student Representation (VMU SR). For almost half a year now, the team led by Ieva Vengrovskaja and the volunteers of the organization have been fulfilling the goals set at the beginning of the term and representing the interests of VMU students. So, what are the main things that VMU SR managed to do in the last six months?
Intensive work is being done on making and editing academic documents. The drafting of a Code of Academic Ethics has begun, with the aim of defining academic norms to avoid disagreements. The Regulations for the Activities of Course Leaders have been written, edited according to Vytautas Magnus University Student Parliament members‘ remarks and approved – this document will allow more effective communication between university bodies and students of study programs and improve both social and academic well-being of students. The Regulations on the Activities of Student Representatives of the Study Program Committees have also been approved – with the help of this document the aim is to ensure better communication between Student Representatives and Course leaders, to regulate the procedure of electing representatives, define their rights and responsibilities and guarantee the supply of necessary academic knowledge.
The VMU Assessment Monitoring Description, which would regulate one of the possibilities to ensure academic integrity, has been completed and will be presented to the university bodies. An academic integrity questionnaire was also conducted in cooperation with other higher education institutions, based on the answers, students will be educated about the importance of academic integrity and encouraged to respect it and not plagiarize other work. “All these documents and ongoing changes will help students contribute more effectively and easily to the quality of studies and maintain mutual communication with the university and faculty administration,” says Monika Ražauskaitė, Coordinator of the Academic Affairs Committee.
During the spring semester examination session, 9 appeals were submitted, disagreeing with the examination grade and / or reporting procedures. President Ieva, the delegated representative of the Student Representation, also participated in the meetings of the Board of Appeal. During them, 7 appeals were approved and the grades of the students who wrote them were changed or could be corrected.
One of the most important works that was done in this area is the involvement of the Social Affairs Committee, its coordinator Emilija Drabužinskaitė and the President in the working group for changing scholarships. On June 23rd, at the meeting of the VMU Senate, with the mediation of the Student Representatives, a decision was made to change and supplement the current provisions of the VMU Scholarship Division Procedure. The changes related to the increased scholarships and the reduced competitive score for freshmen to receive the scholarship will take effect from September this year. More details about the changes that have taken place are provided in this article.
The activities of the committees of social and academic affairs are continued on a regular basis – meetings and communication with the dormitory chairman and course elders, sharing information relevant to the dormitory residents, elders’ newsletter with academic and social news of the university.
Information relevant to students is being shared on social networks: Dynamic Dialogues about current situation of the world and vaccines were organized with Visvaldas Legkauskas, Associate Professor of the Department of General Psychology at Vytautas Magnus University and Lina Jankauskaitė, Pediatrician, Pulmonologist, Associate Professor, Researcher. Another episode of Dynamic Dialogues were with nutritionist Aušra Jauniškytė-Ingelevičienė and the topic was about creating a healthy relationship with food, sharing information about donation of blood and encouraging donors; as well as other university news.
A periodic image questionnaire of VMU SR which was answered by 259 students was analyzed. The data in this questionnaire will help the organization to improve and act purposefully to represent the interests of university students.
The Spring Festival of Vytautas Magnus University, which did not take place due to a pandemic last year and has already become a tradition, returned with a bang this year. “Self-realization through self-isolation” – with this slogan the festival invited people to a marathon of events lasting almost a week, which included open conversations on taboo topics, active sports and intellectual activities both live and at a distance, creative workshops and social actions. The whole festival was completed by a drive-in concert at Darius and Girėnas aerodrome. “I think the Spring Festival went really great. During the quarantine, we were able to make a mixed festival, both live and at a distance, and attract a lot of participants, ”says Joana Gasiulytė, Coordinator of the Organizational Affairs Committee of VMU SR.
The Committee of Organizational Affairs also cooperated with Kaunas 2022 and contributed to the events organized by them. In March, the organization’s volunteers contributed to the Happiness Day program, and at the youth festival Per_kūnija in July people could listen to discussions on self-realization and body positivity.
Although the work had to start under quarantine conditions, the President of VMU SR is glad that together with the team she has done a lot of work that reflects the direction of the organization. Currently, the volunteers of the organization return to work after resting and are ready to prepare for the activities of the autumn semester and the arrival of freshmen. “I want to believe that the next six months will be more lively – we have longed for live meetings with various university governing bodies, student representatives, working groups and all students. Although the pandemic does not end, we have a great opportunity to live in it, so I invite you to ensure your own and others’ safety by receiving a green pass and see you live in the fall semester“,-Ieva wishes.