Becoming a student body representative in the Senate: an opportunity to make a difference
Institutional Communication Service
19 April 2021
The Senate represents all members of USI through 10 faculty representatives, 5 assistants representative, 5 students, and 5 staff representatives. What does it mean to sit in the Academic Senate representing USI students? We hear about this experience from Diana Santos. She has been representing her Faculty's student body in the Senate since last November.
The Senate aims to strengthen the cohesion of the University: do you feel you have succeeded in making the students' voices heard?
"Committing to give a voice to an entire group is always a great responsibility: it means learning to be a mediator. Even at the end of my term as a student representative, I am still a firm believer that it is worth taking the plunge. I feel that I have been able to do my best to make the student community's opinion heard. The opportunity to represent students is in itself a door that the University opens for us, but to feel firsthand that we are being heard shows a true commitment on USI's part. In turn, I listened to the students who approached the other representatives and me and realised how through this communication chain we ultimately get everyone's opinion heard."
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
"What I am most proud of is the path that we representatives have taken in the past few months, opening a dialogue with the entire University. We listened to the students who approached us. We showed up at the last session of the Senate to talk about the difficulties faced in this pandemic situation. Thanks to the invaluable support of USI, we were able to launch a group that is working on a summer project for the student community. We are only at the beginning, but I am convinced that we can make a difference within our University. Being a part of such a project and knowing that we are working for the good of the community also helps me face the situation we are experiencing with more serenity."
How has this experience in the Senate enriched your education and personal path?
"As a member of such an important body as the Senate, I took on an active role behind the scenes of our University. It allowed me to grow on a personal level as well. Sitting in the Senate means learning to listen and understand the mechanisms that allow the institution to exist and adapt to change and teaches that strength lies in teamwork. As students, we also sit in the Senate as a group, and we work as such, magnifying our voices. Representing the students, I am also a member of the Quality Culture Committee, which is one extra opportunity to be an active part of the process. I also had the chance to witness firsthand the great dedication that USI puts into the entire community. Through these experiences, I have been able to meet and get to know members of the university community, creating new and exciting professional relationships."
Applications can be submitted until Saturday, 8 May (11:59 pm) through www.senato.usi.ch. The netID is required to access. Elections will also take place on the dedicated website from 11 to 25 May. The role of the Academic Senate will grow considerably in importance in USI's development plans, becoming an increasingly influential and central body thanks to the various mandates that the University Council will give. The students' representatives elected to the Senate are also, by right, members of the governing body of the Student Corporation.