The Groningen Students’ Union (GSb) is an association dedicated to the interests of students in Groningen. For example, by engaging in dialogues with the municipality of Groningen, University of Groningen and Hanze University we stand for student housing, good education and a strong legal position for students. An example is the establishment of the committee for mediation costs Groningen. The GSb has been active for more than a year to address the problems of high mediation costs and bad brokers and to get attention for this topic. Finally, in September 2014 a new organization was founded together with the municipality of Groningen and two other student associations.
In addition the GSb offers free legal advice to students who, for example, have problems with their landlord, have a disagreement with a supervisor or have a problem about their binding study advice. The Legal Committee and Rental Team offer this advice and mediate where possible. The Rental Team also performs free rent checks to determine whether or not the student is paying too much rent..
The tasks of the GSb are very broad, whether it is organizing a demonstration against the feudal system, set up a select pointer for the municipal elections in Groningen or providing relevant information, the GSb helps students.
The Groningen Students’ Union’s mission is to represent the interests as well as to improve the position of students of in Groningen.
The vision of the GSb is that students should experience little or no obstacles in the area of finance and mobility. Furthermore, students should enjoy the highest possible quality of education.
The GSb consists of an executive board, committees and its members. The executive committee carries out a policy which is partially determined by the members through general meetings. Thanks to active committees where members are committed to the association and thanks to other members GSb is able to represent student interests. Whatever the GSb does, it falls within the four pillars of the association: service, information, advocacy and campaigning.
Representing the interests of students
In the past the GSb was not only active at the municipality and local political parties, but also in the University Council of the University and the HMR at Hanze University. In recent years, it was found that few students felt involved in such councils, and that the GSb could make better use of it’s involvement in another way. This is why the GSb is now more active in the housing policy with the municipality and less active in the education policy at the University and Hanze University. The GSb is still committed to rural education, for instance by protesting against the 1040 hours standard in 2011 and the feudal system in 2014.
The GSb attempts to keep students well informed about the latest developments in the world of education and the housing policy of Groningen. The GSb spreads the newsmagazine Nait Soez’n at different locations of the Hanze and the RUG, which examines critical issues which are relevant to students. In addition GSb publishes a Dutch and English Housing Guide explaining your rights as a tenant every year . This guide contains everything a student needs to know about finding a room and living in Groningen. The GSb also publishes regular press releases to draw attention to an issue or change, for example the approach of mediation costs and the potential master selection at the RUG.
The GSb also ensures that information from the RUG and Hanze is maintained and up to date. If it is unclear or incorrect information is given, we speak to the institutions accordingly.
We ask for attention on a certain issue by ludic actions. The goal of campaigning is: achieving affairs in interest of students, demanding attention for the interests of students among students themselves, the institutions, the media, the politicians, et cetera. Examples of studentactions are the demonstration and manifestations at The Hague on January 21th, 2011, and also the occupation of the main office of the board of the university by a group of students in November 2009. There are also lufic and creative actions to create attention for certain issues. Actions differ in size, depending on the situation. The concept behind campaigning is that it has an emancipating effect for the people invested in the issue, giving them the feeling that they can change their own situation by uniting with others to accomplish this. The GSb doesn’t only campaign for students, but also with students. This doesn’t mean that we campaign just for campaigning, on the contrary. The campaigns that the GSb is organizing or participating in this year will be based on thorough research and analysis of the situation, and go hand in hand with dialogue and lobbying.