Lukáš Hulínský, doctoral student of the Faculty of Finance and Accounting, student senator of AS VŠE:
‘Since I am not going to run again as a student, I would like to summarise my experience so far.’
What does it actually mean to be a senator and what brought you to it?
‘Being a senator gives you the opportunity to give something back to the school and participate in its management. The desire to gain unconventional experience and the desire to actively influence things around me led me to this. But being a senator also means finding out how a colossus like VŠE works, i.e. sometimes finding out that not everything can be changed easily and it is sometimes a long process.’
In addition to the election of the rector or dean, what does the senator participate in?
‘The Academic Senate of the University approves all significant changes at VŠE, whether it concerns regulations that may directly affect students or the VŠE budget itself, which is higher than 1.7 billion CZK. This gives each senator great responsibility as well as extensive experience in representing thousands of students and directly influencing their studies. In addition, the senate also elects or approves other important officials of the University, such as members of the Scientific Board, International Evaluation Board or the national representative body of the universities.’
Is it even worth spending time at senate meetings? Are you able to really influence something? If so, can you mention some examples?
‘It’s not about meetings, it’s just mostly a voting act. Most of the activities are done outside the senate, when everything is prepared and discussed with relevant persons at the University. A number of things that we want to change as student senators do not necessarily have to go through the senate but can be changed directly by the management of the faculty or the University. As we are elected by students, we have a certain mandate. Personally, I perceive it more like an obligation to be interested in student problems or ideas and to facilitate communication towards the leadership that can solve them. Many things have been successful in the past. For example, the digitalisation of elections to the senate, the adjustment of subject evaluation polls, and better communication and support for associations have been set up. In general, student representatives are an advisory voice on a number of other topics that not only influence their faculties. Student senators are thus a crucial element in the framework of academic self-governance and politics, which also takes place outside senate meetings.’
How should I start if I want to run for the senate?
‘Clarify what you want to change, then just watch when the elections are announced and log in. It is definitely a good idea to follow what is happening at school, what is happening in the senate (and not only that) and on the university website, or connect with an active student or associations.’