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!

SPOT – News & Activities

 

Just giving everyone an update about SPOT’s recent activities and exciting ideas for the future!

As SPOTeurope develops there will be a few role changes and a lot more opportunities for YOU to become involved in sharing your experiences! 

See below for an update from each of the SPOT board members:

(more info on each member can be found on The Board page)

 

Marlies – President

Over the past months a lot of changes happened within SPOT. First of all (and sadly) we’ve waved Maurane and Valia goodbye because they are now qualified OT’s (yay them!). Luckily we welcomed two new wonderful board members, Alex & Natalie, who will bring new energy and refreshing ideas into our team 🙂

As a (new) team we’re making new plans and progress on taking SPOT to the next level. You can expect the ‘How-to guide’ for the Mini SPOTs very soon, just like the (long promised 😉) map of all the OT schools in Europe. Thank you to the students who are already developing the mini SPOT’s and sharing SPOT within Uni; we’re growing really fast! Keep up this great work.

Besides my tasks for SPOT, I’ve been part of the ENOTHE’s board since the ENOTHE annual meeting in October 2018, as the first Student Board Member. I’m involved in the day to day tasks and decisions within this board. In a few months I’ll write a blog about my experiences and tasks as a board member, so you all will have a better idea on what I’m doing! If you have ideas or changes you’d like to see within the OT education / ENOTHE : please let me know! I’m your voice and would love to share it.

Lastly, I want to thank Lottie with all my heart. She’s stepping down from her role as Vice President very soon. Lottie was the first one to join me in SPOT and without her, SPOT wouldn’t exist like it’s now. We’re going to miss you!


Charlotte – Vice President

After nearly 2 years in the role of Vice President, I am stepping down and handing my role over to Cassandra, (our Mini SPOT Coordinator).

I hope she enjoys her time as much as I have! My SPOT journey has taught me so much about occupational therapy across Europe. I’ve had some amazing experiences, in some amazing locations, and feel very proud to have contributed to SPOT’s growth.

Thank you to all the students, practitioners and educators who have also been part of that.

Let’s be sure to stay in touch!


Cassandra – Mini SPOT Coordinator/ soon to be Vice President

SPOT has grown a lot in the last year and this makes me very happy ! I started as the Mini SPOT Coordinator one year ago. Since then, I have worked on developing knowledge around the mini SPOT’s, created a ‘How-to guide’ and supported other students who wanted to set up a mini SPOT.

In the upcoming year I will be part of SPOT in a different way. Our current Vice President Charlotte will step down soon and I will pursue her role. I am really looking forward to this and hope to meet lots of new OT students!

Please contact me at vicepresident@spoteurope.eu if you have any questions!

Anything relating to mini SPOT’s please email Alex at outreach@spoteurope.eu


Alex – Outreach Coordinator

I first learned about SPOT at the 2017 ENOTHE AM in Zagreb. I was really intrigued by their ideas for internationalisation and student exchange so I became a student representative for my university in Innsbruck, Austria. In the past year I’ve tried to promote SPOT and get my colleagues interested in international activities and student exchange. A few months ago I then joined the SPOT board as Outreach Coordinator. Since then I’ve been establishing and maintaining contact with students and lecturers across Europe, helping them with their own activities including setting up mini SPOT’s.

My aim is to spread awareness of SPOT and help anyone who is interested to get on board!

With Cassandra pursuing her position as Vice President, her old role and mine will be merged and I’ll take over her responsibilities.

If you have any questions on how to get involved or need inspiration setting things up at your school/university, feel free to contact me anytime at outreach@spoteurope.eu


Jena – Social Media Lead

Our social media has continued to grow and we are so happy about that!! We are looking forward to having 1000 Facebook likes!

Highlights of our social media include #mememonday and self-care Sunday!

Check us out on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram 

We are also hoping to start a “day in the life of an OT student” on our Instagram stories, so if you’re interested in showing SPOT what you get up to every day message us on Instagram @SPOTeurope!!


Natalie – Blogger

I’m currently searching for future guest bloggers that would be interested in sharing their activities and experiences of Occupational Therapy!

Guest blogs can include information about: placements, student activities, conferences & events, interesting news articles and more!

Please get in touch if you have something you want us to share or you are interested in writing a guest blog!

Email me at  blogger@spoteurope.eu or contact me through Twitter @Nat_Pickering