Democracy is also fun aka. Elections for E.MA student representatives
The 3rd week of the E.MA programme was the first experience of the year regarding the promotion of democracy through the elections for student representatives. To begin with, it must be noted that the principles of democracy were threatened by the non-elected ‘Voting Committee’ who, by their own initiative, drafted strict rules for the elections. However, the paradox of this process appeared in the extreme effectiveness, promptness and creativity of the committee which aimed to promote the democracy within the E.MA students. The first draft of the rules was open to amendments which were democratically voted upon. The amendments encouraged excitement, participation and, most of all, fierce debates. For instance, the discussion on gender equality in elections took place for approximately two hours and illustrated the remarkable diversity of thought amongst the students. In addition to the effective drafting of the rules, the organisation of the Election Day was impressive as it was well motivating as well as well monitored. Hereby, I would like to thank the Election Committee, for their hard work, on behalf of all the students in the E.MA programme.
The seemingly serious elections were made fun by the ‘Games of Thrones’ that was part of the organised election party. This event gave an opportunity for students to meet the candidates in a less formal atmosphere over a glass of sweet Italian wine. The students could post anonymous questions to the potential representatives in order to get to know them better. The questions varied from wall to wall and included examples such as ‘the colour of their underwear’ and ‘cats or dogs’. These satirical questions fulfilled the purpose of reminding the importance of entertainment as part of democracy within E.MA. Furthermore, the party revealed an interesting aspect: despite of the competiveness of the candidates, they all supported each other. This emphasized that we are all one family paying respect to each other and that all of the candidates were strong enough to “crush Obama”. In fact, the choice was so difficult to make that two rounds of voting had to be organised. Hence, many thanks to all the candidates for their courage, and congratulations to our new student representatives Christine Donovan and Stefan Van Uden (good luck dealing with everyone else’s problems)!