Students involved in EU decision-making - Ulysseus European University sends 18 students to European Parliament in March

European Student Assembly, first of a kind, will take place at European Parliament in Strasbourg on 3-4 March 2022. This historic event is the first time students are involved in decision-making at EU level. From Haaga-Helia Tomi Lempinen, Hilla Tuominen and Belilia Ayingono will participate.

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European Student Assembly is part of the Conference for the Future of Europe and it will bring together 275 students from 38 European University Alliances, from nearly 150 different universities. A total of 18 students from Ulysseus Alliance were selected to participate. From Haaga-Helia, students Tomi Lempinen, Hilla Tuominen and Belilia Ayingono were selected from hundreds of applicants to represent Ulysseus European University and Haaga-Helia.

The event is organized by the European Universities Community (EUC), which aims to give students a voice in the European Union and influence the future of higher education. In March, students will meet to discuss ten key topics. The agenda includes EU's shared values, sustainable development, the future of higher education, cybersecurity, climate change and EU's role in a globalized world.

A greater role for students in shaping the future of higher education

In today's world, it is important that students take a more active role in defining their own future. This is why universities and politicians alike need to increase student involvement at all levels. For the first time at EU level, Ulysseus European University is offering this opportunity to students from Haaga-Helia.

Tomi, Hilla and Belilia are excited to go on the trip and have high expectations for international cooperation. Haaga-Helia students will participate in three different panels. Tomi will be part of a panel on cybersecurity, with approximately 30 European students. Work has already started in various online sessions and Tomi says it has been rewarding:

"The preparatory work in collaboration with European students has been really instructive and developmental, both in terms of the collaboration skills and the cybersecurity topic we are working on. We have also met experts in the field and broken into smaller groups. My sub-group focuses on raising awareness among young people, which is one of the main themes of our group's activities. We have looked at a huge amount of material published by the EU and the organizations working with it. At least the groundwork has been done well, which should make it easier to make decisions. The experience so far has been truly unique, and when we finally meet in Strasbourg the positive feelings will surely only grow stronger. "

Hilla will participate in a panel on climate change, future climate refugees and the EU's preparedness to face this crisis. She will also act as a facilitator for her panel and will be responsible for guiding the panel discussion in Strasbourg.

"It is inspiring to see how even a small group of students has so much knowledge and motivation to make a difference on issues that affect us all. At the end of the assembly, we will come up with a formal proposal to the Commission for concrete actions to improve current practices in different thematic areas. I hope that our proposals will be taken seriously by the decision-makers, and that they will see our concerns for the future. We will certainly inspire and give them new perspectives for planning future climate action."

Belilia has been appointed to a panel focusing on the digitalization of learning and future prospects. Belilia is also the facilitator of her panel and, like Hilla, her role is to steer the direction of the debate and ensure that everyone's voice is heard.

"The aim of our panel is to provide European Commission with a high-quality proposal on the future of higher education. We will discuss the differences between digital and attendance courses, their quality and formulate a development proposal for the future of higher education. We have been doing careful background work with my panel members and experts in the field for some time now and I am confident that we will come up with a strong proposal for the Commission."

Students' proposals to the European Commission

The EUC has published a written manifesto compiled by students at the Forum of Universities for the Future of Europe in January, which also takes into account a topic paper prepared by Ulysseus students in Seville in December. The students' proposals for development made in Strasbourg will be presented to the European Commission for its consideration. This historic student conference is the first of its kind, but it will by no means be the last. Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, as part of the Ulysseus European University, will continue to be involved in the student's cause at EU level.

Ulysseus European University

Ulysseus European University is one of the 41 European University Alliances in Europe. Led by the University of Seville, Spain together with five other universities: University of Genoa, Italy; Université Côte d’Azur, France; Technical University of Košice, Slovakia; MCI | The Entrepreneurial School®, Austria; and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Ulysseus will allow students, researchers and graduates to move freely between universities, carry out internships in companies and start high-impact research projects..

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