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Blogs posted by Edgaras Gudavicius

Sometimes you need to stand up to be heard

Posted on Mon 12 Dec 2011 at 16:58 by Edgaras Gudavicius

Greetings dear FinSt followers,

Friday was a fun packed day with visiting two HEI's, discussing about legitimacy of student governed places and trying out food at a very interesting restaurant.

It all started by meeting up with Kilian, who took us to the Vienna University of Technology. There, we met the local union people, who finally explained to us how ÖH elections and structures work (hurray!). Also, these were the coziest and welcoming people, so kudos for that! After sorting out all of the structure questions that we still had, we had some food and Kilian came back to take us away to University BoKu.

Actually, Kilian is really a great guy and all of us are forever grateful for all the help and support that he had provided throughout this whole week, even though we were very devilish and were usually teasing him.

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Over at BoKu we visited the local union and the ESN office there. These guys were also very welcoming and we really enjoyed our time there. But it didn't take long till Moritz came and showed us around the student governed house at BoKu. They had their own meeting room, bar/club, lots of various rooms for your crafting needs, etc... The history of this place went way back, when it was given to the students, then taken away cause of sabotage from the inside, then taken back by a protest of the students, who basically went to the rector and said "You give us the key, or we get inside anyway".

We were asked to discuss the legitimacy of such student housing and actually how legal is it to take it like that. Well, from my point of view, taking the place via a protest is more legal than not recognizing the most important stakeholder of uni government - the student. We all know how many times it has been reaffirmed, that students should be treated as equal partners in HEI governing... Well, sometimes you have to show that by other means.

From another point of view, we should not forget the fact, that the building was basically just standing there and the uni was paying rent for it. So, let's remember the second knob of efficient financing, which discusses efficient finance usage and distribution within the HE sector. This is clearly not the case, which got fixed by a student protest. I, myself, have really enjoyed that place, which had all the opportunities to study, do meetings and chill out for students. But, what does this mean if we look deeper? We can easily notice that the university isn't providing any of the following opportunities properly, hence the demand for them. So, again we stumble across inefficient finance usage.

After all the thoughts and discussions on freedom, we continued to a place called Deewan, which had a really distinctive business model. Basically, you eat all you want and then pay an amount, which you believe is fair and worth the food that you have eaten. Most of us paid around 5€ and the food was really great!

All in all, despite my hurting feet from hard shoes and all the walking, I have really enjoyed Vienna and all the great ÖH people that we got to know. My biggest thanks still go to my roommate for this week - Moritz. For all the help and support throughout this week for myself and the whole crew!

Cheers,

Edgar and the Austrian FinSt crew