Student Perspectives: Victor (UPF)

How should students be involved as co-creators in Higher Education?

I think in a lot of situations, organisations make decisions based on what they know about a problem. I think people who are suffering these problems have to sit at the same table as decision-makers, so the decision-makers can hear their vibes and opinions about what is happening. And it’s not just about asking them ‘What do you think about this problem?’, the students or people suffering these problems have to give some ideas and proposals about solving the problem.

I’m a student representative at my university. Sometimes, it is frustrating when we expose problematic issues that we want to change, and the university says they will do something but then never follow up. If they explained why it’s difficult, or gave some justification, perhaps we could understand the problem, or we could offer another point of view about it. 

What new or improved practices would you like to see?

We think that inclusion should be promoted at a base level, in the structure of the university, and not just through one-off activities. For example, anti-racist perspectives could be included in all degree programmes, not just in subjects like political sciences. It’s difficult to implement across the whole university, because people often won’t go voluntarily to this kind of thing. That’s why professors are very important in this process: you have to start at the top of the educational structure, then go from the top down to the students and all the people in the organisation.

UPF should also do more to help students who have to work and study at the same time, and to help them get better kinds of work. It’s very hard to do this at the moment: you can’t afford the expenses of studying, so you need a job; but because of the timing of classes, you can’t do the job. A lot of people can’t study because of this. There is a department that guides students through the process of requesting government assistance, but more could be done in this area.

There is also a service called UPF Treball, which works with companies to recruit the best students. But the service doesn’t tell you how to get into the labour market, how to write your CV or do an interview, or where to look for a job in the areas you want to look at. So the university could offer more opportunities for this kind of support.