Nora Rymoen Houidi (22) has taken a break from her political science studies to focus more on student politics in the Student Democracy in South-Eastern Norway. After one year as political deputy chairperson of the Working Committee, she has now taken over the job as student chairperson from Harald Bolstad Evensen.
“As the political deputy chairperson, I acquired a taste for political student work and wanted to take it one step further, and being student chairperson is the next step”, says Houidi.
Joining her in the Working Committee for the 2023/2024 academic year is political deputy chairperson Erlend Kåsereff (23) and organisational deputy chairperson Sara Halima Habib Wang (23), and they are now in the process of training.
Can learn from the international students
Houidi has previously been a student representative for her bachelor’s degree year group in political science. As student chairperson, she is now the highest student representative for all students at USN.
“I want to be a voice for the student body in relation to the Rectorate and the Student Welfare Organisation, and put USN and SDSN on the map nationally. I will also continue the good work Harald started in terms of increasing visibility”, she says about the new role.
She also mentions some areas she is especially committed to.
“Among the issues close to my heart are the international students, both those who are taking a degree in Norway and those who are here on exchange. The same is a safe and good organisation that everyone wants to be a part of because they know that it is a good and safe environment. I also want to increase the visibility of the Student Democracy, not only nationally but also within the university. We have low voter numbers and low participation. I want students to know that we exist and what we stand for”, says Houidi.
The previous SHoT survey showed that an increasing proportion of students struggle with loneliness and mental health problems. In this area, Houidi believes there are many lessons to be learned from the international students.
“The international students are an important part of the student body. They come here with their own culture and traditions and bring insight. They are also really good at inviting people along with them. I think we can learn a lot from them to combat loneliness. The SHoT figures show that many students are lonely, and the international students teach us important lessons in that area”, says Houidi.
Getting involved in international collaboration
USN participates in the European university alliance called European UniverCity (EDUC). The previous student chairperson, Harald Bolstad Evensen, was the first student to represent USN abroad. Houidi now takes over this role in EDUC.
She recently had her first meeting with EDUC in Paris, together with the Rector and several representatives from USN. Parallel to the EDUC meeting, the alliance’s student council organised a think tank – the EDUC Student Board. Here, Houidi collaborated with student representatives from the seven other universities in EDUC.
“I will bring the USN students’ perspective into EDUC when elections takes place. We will then elect one representative to join the Student Board on our behalf”, she says, hoping that more students will eventually represent USN in EDUC.
READ MORE: Nora represents USN's students in EDUC