Update from SPOTeurope after the ENOTHE Annual Meeting

Dear students of the SPOTeurope community, 

On behalf on the SPOTeurope board I am pleased to give you some updates after the ENOTHE annual meeting. 

Last week, the 25th ENOTHE Annual Meeting was held in Athens, Greece. SPOTeurope was honored to be present to represent the european OT students. Next to networking at social events we were hosting a pre-conference workshop, a meet-up, a SPOT forum and gave a brief update about SPOT at the end in a pitch. Besides this we were also present at the student workshop about ‘Stigma’, hosted by the Greek student of AMC Metropolitian College. 

SPOT, being aware that sadly not all students are able to attend the ENOTHE Annual Meeting, organised a  pre-conference workshop at the AMC Metropolitan College. Making it possible for the host students to get an international experience together with us (SPOT) and other international OT students.
During this workshop, we brainstormed together about the importance of internationalization and helped out the students who wanted to set up a mini SPOT. After the workshop, we went into the city and had some drinks together with all the attending students. 

A moment during the Pre-conference workshop.
Copyright: ENOTHE

We are so pleased with how it turned out that we would like to implement this pre-conference as a standard before every ENOTHE Annual Meeting. For all the students attending the ENOTHE Annual Meeting, this is nice opportunity to meet each other. However, the information concerning this workshop have been sent quite late which caused that not all students have coordinated their flight with the workshop. For the furture, SPOT will be vigilent to communicate this event ahead of time.

This year ENOTHE’s theme was “sustainability“. In workshops, presentations, posters or keynotes, lecturers as well as students could collect ideas for possibilities to implement this topic within OT education. Keynote speakers inspired the audience by emphasising for example the importance of critical thinking, collaboration, asking questions, using technology as resource for international exchange and doing!

Overview of the keynotes: 

* Keynote 1: Theodosis Pelegrinis – Dr. Philosophy 
* Keynote 2: Nadine Blankvoort – Occupational therapy practice, research and education with displaced persons: Critically exploring co-produced practices.
*Keynote 3: Filip Dejonckheere – My inspiration for Education, Enhancing professional identity through interdisciplinary education
* Keynote 4: Liliya Todorova – Challenges to ensuring sustainability of OT education in the Balkan area – matching present situation with future trends
* Keynote 5: Elisabeth Fattinger – Driving internationalisation, innovation and sustainability in OT Higher Education: COPILOT partnerships
* Hanneke van Bruggen Lecture: Hans Jonsson – Four Cornerstones in our knowledge-building on occupation


On the first day, in the morning, we did a meet-up session on how to set up a mini SPOT. Together with students and teachers, we thought about how we can create and sustain the mini SPOTs in universities. We asked some of our mini SPOTs to share their experience of setting up a mini SPOT. We want to thank the students from SPOT Prague to explain what steps they had to go through to get their mini SPOT started. Within 6 months they’ve managed to create one! We are very proud of them! We also want to thank Renske Bakker-Schut from HAN university, in the Netherlands. She is also currently developing a mini SPOT and shared her experiences as well.
During the meet-up some teachers also attended. They were enthusiastic about our Mini SPOTs and wanted to know how THEY can be involved too. We, as students, need the support of teachers, so we were very happy to see them engaging. 

SPOT Forum

Our new logo
Copyright: SPOTeurope

This was the first moment we proudly announced our new logo! We decided to change our logo into a more catchy logo. We like to credit Renkse Bakker-Schut for this. She has been working hard on it in order to have it finished at the ENOTHE Annual Meeting and we are so happy about it. Thank you Renkse !

At the end of the first day we invited all the attending students to our Student Forum, in order to let their student voice be heard. We discussed three topics: Mini SPOT, the ENOTHE Student Board member (SBM) role and our online presence. In the table below, you can see the questions we asked them: 

Same as SPOT did the last years, we will try to give our best in order to implement the collected ideas in the next year. We will keep you up to date on the new developments. 

The outcomes concerning the mini SPOT were mainly about the role of the teachers and universities. Students felt like they need more support from their university if they want to set up a mini SPOT. In order to make that happen the guidelines concerning the role of the teacher, should be more clear same as the guidelines for the mini SPOT. Students also wish for more visibility on these guidelines. Furthermore, appreciation in form of assistance but also in form of credits or financial support would be helpful. Finally, students want to be more connected with the different mini SPOTs. We as SPOT will work on this so we can support you in a better way.

Online presence
The feedback we received was that every student and university should follow SPOTeurope on social media to enable excess to information such as how to guides and opportunities around jobs and volunteering posts. This could also be used as a great discussion platform.
However, students prefer some social media platforms over others or don’t have social media at all meaning that some may miss key information. We would have to consider sharing all posts across all social media enabling everyone to be included. 
Going forward, we want to use SPOT social media to increase our visability. We are so passionately about student networking, inspiring and connecting across europe. We would also like to use social media as a platform to gather student perspectives. 
Overall, social media will aim to connect, inform and inspire students to share their perspectives and experiences with each other.

Student board member 
Students believe that the ENOTHE student board member is a positive step and would like it to be maintained in the future. They do wish for more updates on the ENOTHE projects through the Student Board Member so that they can be part of the decisions making within ENOTHE as well. They would appreciate receiving the information via social media or newsletter and to collect information also from local student representatives. Therefore, teamwork with the social media lead as well as the outreach coordinator is essential.
Also, students want to see a better collaboration between students and teachers. More workshops and projects done by teachers and students together and a student keynote speaker would be the ultimate goal. 

Photo from the SPOT forum
Copyright: ENOTHE

The outcomes on the Student Forum were presented at the SPOT pitch on the final day. 

Second photo from the SPOT forum
Copyright: ENOTHE

Student workshop about “Stigma”:

At the end of the second day, three greek students from the hosting school gave a workshop on “Stigma”. Together with all the students and four teachers, we had a very interesting exchange about the influence of stigma in our daily life and it’s presence in our OT education.

General Assembly:

Our new ENOTHE Student Board Member Vanessa presenting herself during the General Assembly
Copyright: ENOTHE

At the same time as the workshop, our former and new ENOTHE student board member were attending the General Assembly to present the experience within the ENOTHE board in the last year and the appreciation of the enhancing collaboration between lecturers and students. Furthermore, this was an opportunity for the new SBM to introduce herself to the lecturers. 

Gala diner:

On the second day, we also had an amazing gala dinner on the rooftop of the hotel where we could enjoy a beautiful view of the Acropolis. This was a great moment to network and dance. We had a great time! 

Closing ceremony

At the end of this ENOTHE Annual Meeting, the president of ENOTHE, Marie-Antoinette stepped down from her role. So during the closing ceremony, there were multiple speeches to say goodbye to her.  On the behalf of european OT students, we would also like to thank her to have been comitted to collaborating with students by opening up her board to the first Student board member. Her position will be taken over by Soemitro Poerbodipoero

Soemitro presenting his goodbye speech for Marie-Antoinette
Copyright: ENOTHE

Within the SPOT board, we also had to say goodbye to two of our members: Alex Lukavsky and Marlies Nijenhuis. SPOT has thanked them by presenting a speech. We want to thank them for their investments and time they have spent in SPOT. Especially Marlies, last 4 years she worked so hard to bring SPOT to the place it is now and we are proud so proud of her. Alex and Marlies will retire from their student time for now but we wish them the best. You will be missed ! <3

The new and old SPOTeurope board
Copyright: ENOTHE

New board
Their departure has lead to opening up the board to new board members and to some of us taking over some new roles within the board. We are happy to present to you the new board:
Cassandra Christianen – President 
Natalie Pickering – Vice President 
Vanessa Röck – Student Board Member ENOTHE 
Emma Schlinquer – Outreach Coordinator 
Emma Rodriguez – Social media lead 

Marlies & Alex introducing the new board before the final pitch
Copyright: ENOTHE

Blogger position still available!

As you may have noticed, we don’t have a blogger yet, so we are still on the lookout! 
If you are interested in becoming our new blogger, please send your motivation letter and name of your university to in**@sp********.eu before the 31st of October. 
Also, if you would like to meet our new board members, please visit this page on our website where they have written a little bio for you: https://www.spoteurope.eu/the-board/ 

We, as SPOTeurope, are looking forward to another year of internationalization and are looking forward to hearing your ideas to keep this network on growing! 

Thank you! 

Warm regards, 
Cassandra Christianen 
President of SPOTeurope

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