ANALYSIS STUDENT REPRESENTATION
This is how you have a voice
Students help govern things at the KU Leuven. Important players in this area are LOKO and the Student Council. In these ways, student representatives defend your interests on all levels.
Today, decades of student engagement have resulted in full co-governance at our university. On every relevant policy level you will find a few students. From your own faculty to the doorstep of the Rector's Office, organisations such as the Students Council, the faculty's consultative bodies, campus council and program representatives from student associations play a key role in enabling this student involvement.
Student associations (faculteitskringen in Dutch) - officially referred to as faculty associations - are often first in line when it comes to student representation. Nearly all study programs have one. However in some programs student representation operates separately from the student association.
A student association often has an educational team with representatives who represent you on your program's POC (Permanent Education Committee). A student association often has at its disposal student representatives who represent your program in so-called POC's or Permanent Education Committees. A POC meets several times a year and deals with everything related to the content and quality of the study program.
Aside from guaranteeing representation, student associations aim to provide entertainment
In regards to issues related to your study program, program representatives are the first person to contact. Do you think a particular subject is taught poorly? Visit one of their open education meetings.
Aside from representation through training representatives, student associations aim to provide entertainment and fun. The so-called 'praesidium' is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a associations. From parties to selling textbooks at reduced prices and from cultural activities and sports initiatives to trips abroad, student associations form an indispensable part of student life.
Faculty consultative bodies
Students associations' program representatives also represent students' interests on a faculty level. This happens through the Faculty Consultative Bodies (FO's), which are made up of all student representatives in the faculty.
The Academic Council is in principle the highest body, but the true power power lies with the Joint Office
The 'FO's' and their faculty representatives defend your interests in all kinds of matters important to the faculty. The chair of the Faculty Consultative Body sits on the Faculty Board, Directly voicing the interests of the faculty’s students
In addition, all sixteen 'FO's' take part in the General Assembly (AV) of the Student Council, the highest representative body for students at the KU Leuven.
The KU Leuven Student Council (Stura) is the highest representative body for students at KU Leuven. In fact, Stura represents all students (almost fifty thousand!), including those who study on one of the campuses outside of Leuven.
Stura voices its positions through the General Assembly (AV), in which all sixteen “FO's” meet biweekly. It has a seat on virtually all of the university's major advisory boards and decision-making bodies, of which the most important ones are the Academic Council and the Joint Office.'
The Academic Council (AR) is essentially the most important body at the KU Leuven. It gathers input from all kinds of advisory councils and deals with all major issues at the university. Various sections are represented there: the deans, representatives of all staff categories, the policy team, academic administrators and four student representatives from Stura.
The true power, however, lies with the Joint Bureau (GeBu). The latter makes decisions that are then approved - rather formally - by the Academic Council. Those who are represented in this body are much more influential in determining the affairs of the university. Along with the Rector, Vice-Rectors, General Administrator and Rectorial Advisors, the Student Council President sits on this council on behalf of the students.
Campus councils are responsible for the campus-based representation of students. These include issues such as food, housing and student services. The largest campus council is that of Leuven, the Leuven Overarching Circuits Organization (LOKO).
Contrary to the Student Council, a campus council is limited to the students on a particular campus. Other examples of campus councils include the praesidium of the Kulak, Absoc and Celesa on the Antwerp campuses or Kring Brugge on the Bruges campus.
The campus councils meet monthly during Stura's campus consultations, where they mainly discuss university-wide policies on student facilities. These include policies on mental and physical health, mobility and so forth.
LOKO also supports all student and free associations in Leuven. It takes its positions through the General Assembly (AV), which includes representatives from every student association in Leuven. The larger the number of students in an associations program, the more votes an association has in the AV.
Finally, LOKO is known for the many events it organizes. For example, consider the Beiaardcantus or the 24 Hour Run. The latter is a 24-hour relay race in which students compete against each other in the name of their association to run the most laps. This year the event will take place on October 24 and 25.