Student Board Member: A student representative from SPOTeurope on the ENOTHE board

Hello everyone!

I am Vanessa the Student Board Member (SBM) of SPOTeurope, a role which enables me to be part of two amazing boards – SPOTeurope and ENOTHE (European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education).

The idea of the Student Board Member was created during the ENOTHE annual meeting 2017 in Zagreb (Croatia), after students shared their wish to have more student engagement. From here on SPOTeurope has worked on this concept and established the role in collaboration with ENOTHE in 2018 in Estoril (Portugal). Marlies Nijenhuis, former president of SPOTeurope, has developed and shaped this role as first student board member. This collaboration is very meaningful because we believe that students want to be involved in the crafting of their education. Since it is only the second year that a student has been representing the OT student community directly within ENOTHE, I assume a lot of you would like to know more about the role I am currently executing.

First of all, let’s talk about ENOTHE!

ENOTHE  is a non-profit network association whose main purpose is to support and improve the quality and standards of OT related educational programs in Europe and to make sure we, students, are prepared for the future. (https://enothe.eu/ )


Members of ENOTHE (December 2019, Amsterdam)

Enothe is staffed by Soemitro Poerbodipoero (President), Maria Kapanadze (Vice-President), Ursula Gubler Thomann (Treasurer), Panagiotis Siaperas (General Board Member and representative to ROTOS), Lisette Farias Vera (General Board Member), Sigitas Mingaila (General Board Member) Vanessa Röck (Student Board Member), Marta Figueiredo (ENOTHE coordinator) and last but not least, Mandy Boaz (ENOTHE Finance Administrator).

If you are interested in what they have to offer and their dreams about the future of ENOTHE, you are welcome to take a look on their website for more information : https://enothe.eu/home/enothe-board/

My ENOTHE journey

Now back to my experience as a SBM and with ENOTHE in general. With support from my former university (Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol), I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 ENOTHE annual meeting in Zagreb. There I got my first “taste” of this supportive environment and the students’ energy when their voice is taken into account. One year later, in Estoril, I was honored to be able to witness the growing collaboration between students and lecturers, having, officially, a student on the board.

Starting the European Master of Science in Occupational Therapy last autumn and being a student again, I took the opportunity and became the second SBM. I assure you that I will do my best to ensure that your voice is heard on the ENOTHE board. To give you an insight in my responsibilities and duties, I have listed some tasks I am currently working on:  

I am involved in the day to day tasks of ENOTHE board. This enables me to share students’ input for example the outcomes from the student sessions in the last annual meeting.

Besides having monthly online meetings with the board of SPOTeurope, I also have online video conferences with the ENOTHE board. If necessary, there are also online meetings with just one or two people for a specific subject.

Face to face meetings: usually the full ENOTHE board and office meet up in person twice a year to intensively work on several topics. Because of environmental reasons this year there will only be one face to face meeting and another intense working phase online. The last one was in December 2019 in Amsterdam. One of the topics was the clarification of roles and the responsibilities of each board member. Mine are:

  • Connection of OT students with the ENOTHE board and making sure that your different opinions, ideas and perspectives are heard, e.g. the ENOTHE Academy Think Tank.
  • Getting in touch with the hosting students and discussing their involvement in the conferences like this year in Prague.
  • Being the gateway between SPOTeurope and ENOTHE, and therefore, working on guidelines regarding the budget and funding for SPOT.

Update on the next COTEC – ENOTHE Congress in Prague (2020)!

I am very pleased and excited to inform you that the preperation for this year’s congress involves a first ever pre-student conference! Since it is still under development, I will be visiting Prague for a couple of days at the end of February along with the organization committee and meet up with the SPOT Prague team to discuss and organize the program. I am looking forward to visit Prague and work with the students there. Also, I will be doing some sightseeing to write down the best spots you need to see when you are attending the conference 😉

I am looking forward to see you there in September! Since this year’s conference allows us to host a pre-student meeting, we would like to include your ideas and feedback. If you have any suggestions or maybe wishes, please let us know.

Summary

Even though the Student Board Member is still a new role, I can and will help you to spread your powerful voice among other students and teachers by being a member of the ENOTHE board as well!

All in all, I hope that after reading this blog post you have a little insight in what I am currently doing and that the SBM is an opportunity for the students’ voice to contribute to the creation of the current and future occupational therapy education. In order to be able to really do that, I need you. Therefore, this post should also be a call-to-action for you to help us with your input. You can do that either by:

  • Sending me an email with your ideas and feedback at studentboardmember@spoteurope.eu.
  • Becoming a SPOTeurope student representative, where you can be involved in SPOTeurope’s network more closely by being part of our private Facebook group. If you are interested, feel free to contact Emma, our Outreach Coordinator at outreach@spoteurope.eu  

We are looking forward to hearing from you!