Welcome to unit 1 – formal vs. informal student voice. In this unit we …
- talk about the role of the student as an ambassador.
- discuss alternative ways of presenting the university to the outside world.
- You know how to promote the interests of students and the university.
- You know how to use different communication channels to give an insider’s view.
Formal student voice
In the module University Governance you have already got an idea about the possibilities students have to get involved and raise their (formal) voice. Being a member of a student association not only gives students the opportunity to communicate their concerns within the university but also to represent the university and student initiatives to the outside.
European Student Union (ESU)
Apart from getting involved in national student associations (e.g. Austrian National Union of Studtents – ÖH), you have the chance to participate at the European level, in the European Student Union (ESU). The ESU represents students’ interests and promotes educational, social, cultural, and economic concerns.
Erasmus Student Network (ESN)
International students can get involved in the Erasmus Student Network. ESN supports student exchange and helps to improve the integration of international students. The student network not only motivates students to study abroad but also takes care of the reintegration of homecoming students.
Acting as an ambassador
Besides representing the university through membership in a student association, students can also be commissioned as formal ambassadors by the university to communicate at eye level with prospective students. In this role, students act as a link between the university and the outside world.
It depends on the formal structure of the ambassador programme or initiative whether student contribution is a volunteering or honorary activity. Sometimes the activities are also part of a study or practical project.
Ambassador programme of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (FH OÖ)
The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria has successfully implemented such an ambassador programme. International students of the FH OÖ represent the university in their home country. They share their experiences and answer questions concerning studying at FH OÖ and living in Austria.
Ambassador stories Graz University of Technology (TU Graz)
The ambassador stories from TU Graz give a very good idea of the roles and tasks that ambassadors can take on.
Informal student voice
In addition to the formal means of representation mentioned above, students independently use various channels to share their interests and concerns. In addition to the classic media (e.g. student newspaper), it is above all the social media that offer a large communication platform.
Social Media Student Brand Ambassadors
Students rely on the opinions of other students. This form of eye-to-eye communication is supported through social media technologies. Students use social media platforms to promote their university, their study programme, their student association, or any kind of initiatives they are involved in. Students present insider stories to prospective students and try to arouse their interest. For example, introducing the campus or sharing daily routines give outsiders the opportunity to feel connected even before they join university.
Contributing to the publication of a student magazine is another way to collaborate with fellow students beyond your studies and to promote topics of students’ interest.
My voice …
We gave you insight into the possibilities to raise your voice and to act as an ambassador. Now we are quite curious about your ideas…
Imagine taking on the role of a student brand ambassador. WHAT, WHEN and HOW would you communicate? How do you reach interested people from outside the campus?
Use the online whiteboard tool “Trello” to share your ideas with others. Just click on the Trello board below to join the discussion.
We look forward to your contributions!
To use the Trello board, a free registration with Trello is required.