by Dyanna Rivera
The 2020-2021 school year had a unique start for everyone. For IE students, it was often littered by exacerbated bureaucratic complications as students attempted to move to Spain from their home countries where COVID-19 had left varying degrees of damage. At IE, students and faculty alike have become increasingly familiar with a hybrid model as the long-term reality of virtual learning became more apparent. Nevertheless, IE’s student government has been resilient through these challenges, successfully holding a modified version of the traditional Fresher’s Week and introducing new initiatives such as Sustainability Week, where students were encouraged to reflect on their own environmental impact via seminars and workshops.
As the IE student body transitions into a new year and a new semester, we asked students from IE’s Segovia campus about what they thought the role of student government was in all of this.
As Alessandro Rota, a 2nd year BBA-LLB student studying on the Segovia campus, puts it, the student government is to be “in constant contact with the school administration to improve student life from a student’s perspective.”
However, despite the knowledge of what the student government’s role generally is, there was some disparity between students in terms of how they know about their presence.
Kabir, a first-year student who spent the majority of the school year thus far virtually, says, “I know there are groups that run together [with] various different levels and positions but I have little to no knowledge about their specific activities or titles.”
“I am not so familiar with the student government,” says Farah, a first year Computer Science and AI student who also started the year online, but has been face to face in Segovia since October. “[But] I do follow them on Instagram..I can notice how they make life easier for the students, by opening our eyes to everything going on around campus and the activities..”.
Given the current circumstances, it is evident that digital communication is more important now than ever in keeping students informed. Although this year has made it challenging for students to be directly involved with the student government, many have still enjoyed attending extracurricular events in the new virtual format.
“I connected with various people throughout and worked on a certain project,” says Farah, recounting her experience with one of the workshops she attended. “All the events were actually via Zoom..[and] had speakers who talked about different ideas.”
Donovan Schar Davis, a first-year International Relations student who arrived in September recalls the virtual events at the beginning of the year. “I’ve attended a Zoom conference hosted by Rotaract Segovia..I found this to be more enjoyable [than the virtual tours] because it was similar to the concept of a Zoom lecture whereas the virtual tour of Segovia was trying to recreate a physical tour of a city which just isn’t something as easy to recreate on a digital platform.”
Despite certain activities feeling different than usual, the online approach has overall succeeded in connecting the student body. Rusa Topuria, another first-year who has spent the year thus far online, says that the option to attend virtual events made her feel “closer to the real college experience”.
Many, like Rusa, have also enjoyed the increased flexibility offered by the hybrid and virtual formats.
Alessandro points out that “the option to meet online is always nice because it provides accessibility to anyone anywhere.” Which for students like Rusa, Kabir, and Farah, who have all started the year online, makes a world of difference.
Although it has been difficult to connect directly with students due to the virtual format, Farah voices the sentiment of the general majority, “I actually have not [interacted directly with student government]; but I would certainly love to!”
Moving forward, students can continue to see the work of IE’s student government as they plan out events throughout the year in an aim to foster community amidst the student body. Something that is arguably more important now than ever before.
Editorial Note: This article was previously published under the wrong author and category.