International Students’ Day is celebrated worldwide on the 17th of November to commemorate the anniversary of the 1939 Czechoslovakian student resistance movement against the German occupation. It is a special occasion of student solidarity that encourages everyone to celebrate the student movement and reminds of the students being one of the most important and most active social groups of the society. To celebrate this special day, on the 14th of November the students at Kaunas University of Technology took over the positions of the administrative staff of the university for one day.
KTU Students’ Association has been organising the initiative of trying out the position of an administrative staff member for several years to commemorate this important occasion. During the International Students’ Day the students at KTU are given the opportunity to become a part of the administrative staff for a day, to get acquainted with the everyday workflow of KTU employees, and strengthen the relationship with the academic community. This year students successfully took over 46 positions, including those of the Rector and Vice-Rectors of KTU, Deans of the Faculties, Heads of various university departments, and the position of the president of KTU Students’ Association.
Participating students spent the day working according to the schedules prepared for them by the administrative staff members whose positions they had taken. At the end of their working day all the participants met in a Student Rectorate to share their insights and impressions about the International Students’ Day, as well as issues and questions, with the rest of the participating students. The aim of the Student Rectorate is to discuss any questions that had arisen, and form a certain resolution out of them. This resolution is then given to the proper Rectorate.
Students reacted very positively to this initiative. Kornelija Grėbliūnaitė, who had become the Head of the Student Information and Service Centre, states that “it is a valuable experience, because this way we can better understand the administrative minds of the university, and also share our own ideas and make an impact with our decisions”. Samanta Bulovaitė, who took over the position of KTU Vice-Rector for Studies Jonas Čeponis, shares her experience: “I’ve had a wonderful, productive day of running around! Thank you for the opportunity and the warm welcome. I’ve participated in this event before, yet every year brings something new, valuable and memorable. You end up realising that making certain decisions is not as easy as students might think.”
The proper meeting of the Rectorate, during which the participating students presented the resolution, took place on the 18th of November. After the meeting, the participants – the administrative staff and their student counterparts – engaged in informal discussions over a cup of coffee.
More student impressions and thoughts about the KTU International Students’ Day can be found here.