Electionweek

Editorial

To make sure that everything at the university runs smoothly, there needs to more than only
academic staff. Following tradition, students form an organization to provide each other in their
needs. At the HIW, the Nieuwe Filosofische Kring (New Philosophical Association) takes up
this responsibility.

Continue on in this booklet and get to know the upcoming election team ‘Eudaimonia’, a team
full of enthusiastic and engaged philosophy students. The name ‘Eudaimonia’ was chosen (after
a long discussion) because it refers to two important elements in every the student’s life: firstly
our roots – with very intellectual Greek terms as names for philosophical election team –,
secondly it reflects our primordial purpose: to make sure that all philosophy students reach the
highest possible level of happiness. To show the world that we are capable of doing so, we are
organizing multiple activities this week. And we hope that you will all vote for us!
However, with the students at the HIW it is not all ‘happiness’, because not everything is going
as it should. Someone who walks through the gate of the institute would not expect it, but these
are turbulent times. The social cohesion at our faculty of philosophy is – to use a dramatic word
– fissured, and that results in a lack of togetherness, which is unpleasant and not what we want.
It is time for a period of fraternization, and exactly that is one of the main goals of our election
team ‘Eudaimonia’!
Don’t forget to vote for us! https://nfk.stemt/org/
The editors, 7th of May 2018

Vision

What is NFK?

NFK is the student association for philosophy students at the KU Leuven. All students of the
Dutch and English program who follow more than 15 ECTS at the HIW are automatically a
member of the association. In addition, NFK is always there for all former philosophy students.
Of course NFK is also available for all future students and other interested parties.
What is the Praesidium and what will change?

In essence (a daring term), the praesidium is an organizer of activities and an organ for
representation. The goal of the praesidium, however, is not only to entertain the group of
students at the HIW, but to create just that group (Derrida could write a book about it). Everyone
should feel welcome at the institute and should ideally also feel part of a community, the
community that is the HIW. That is why we decided to abolish the ‘international’ function.
After all, what does that term imply? That there is a separate function for our international
students, which organizes activities only for these students; that they have their own, segregated
activities. This is a hyperbole of course, but the point is that, especially after the past year, we
have to stop compartmentalizing students. The best way to create a unified community is to
include students in the organization of events and to make them feel that the praesidium and
NFK are not ‘closed communities’.

Thus a new (but also old) function has been set up: ‘social’. This function will serve as a broader
version of the ‘welcoming team’ function (which is therefore included in social). Where the
welcoming team mainly focused on incoming students (and therefore also had a huge reduction
in work as the year progressed and students started fitting in), social will have a much broader
approach. Organizing more accessible activities on the HIW, ensuring more interaction between
students and organizing the ‘mental health week’ will also be part of the range of tasks; all this
in addition to the classic first year weekend and other welcoming tasks, of course.

Another big change in the structure is in the high praesidium. Until this year the high praesidium
consisted of only a praeses, the treasurer(s) and the vice(s). From now on, a different system
will be used: the high praesidium consists of the praeses, the treasurer(s) and a group of
function coordinators, who have a greater responsibility than in recent years. This rather big
high praesidium will ensure a much improved spread of the workload and responsibility and
will ultimately drastically reduce the fragility of the entire praesidium. This group of
coordinators will also form the day-to-day management; weekly praesidium meetings will no
longer require everyone to show up, only the function coordinators are required (every month
there is a ‘general PV’, in which the whole praesidium is expected).

A last major change is the greater emphasis that will be placed on workgroups. To date,
workgroups in the praesidium were only accessible to praesidium members. That will change.
Workgroups will be set up more often (not only for the largest activities) and will be open to
all students. This ensures that also less permanent engagement is facilitated at NFK and
hopefully it will also change the image of NFK as a ‘closed group’. The workgroups are not just
set up by praesidium members: ‘normal’ students can propose activities as well, through a better
promoted system of ‘NFK-facilitates’, where students can make a proposal for an event at the
Praesidium (for example in a hearing, or by mail).

Finally, it remains to be said that unfortunately once again only one international student is part
of the election team, despite many attempts to involve other international students. That is why
it is very important for the coming year to not only entertain and represent the group of students,
but also to form them into this group. If we as NFK can create a different kind of image of
ourselves and student representation at the KU Leuven in general, through greater openness
in the broadest sense of the word (the working group structure and NFK Facilitates are the best
examples in that respect), hopefully we will count on more engagement in the future, also from
the international students. At the start of the next academic year, we will also try to recruit new
students for a position at NFK, to make the discrepancy somewhat less poignant.

Educational vision

The education representation at the HIW is a fundamental part of NFK. Although there is no
formal link between NFK and education representation, there is a strong interwovenness and
tradition of union. If, after all, educational representatives are part of the praesidium, a
broader flow of knowledge and interest in educational topics can be achieved. The
education representatives in the praesidium can also organize education-oriented activities
and conferences, with the facilities that NFK can offer. The praeses of NFK is usually also
FO-chairman and thus the chairman of the education representation of the students at the
faculty. This means that there is an unambiguous point of contact for the faculty, a clear
communication partner for other student associations and a central figure of representation for
the students.

Regarding the less structural matters: education at the institute will have to do with much less
experience next year. Nonetheless, a healthy portion of enthusiasm and youthful
inquisitiveness will fill this gap. Moreover, all new representatives will obviously be able to
count on good preparations behind the scenes. They can also naturally count on the more
substantial experience of the praeses and the collective knowledge of the educational veterans
in the POC (permanent educational committee). There are many time-tested practices that will
certainly stay in use next year. For example, an open meeting will continue to be held before
each POC, which, logically, remains open to every student (the ‘education bureau’). There
will also be a meeting for each general meeting (AV) of the student council, which will also
be open to all students of the institute. This openness will be further increased by a few minor
changes. For example, attempts will be made to provide for small translations of the Stura
documents, so that international students can also discuss matters that ultimately concern
them as well. Also, by inviting other student representatives (most notably those in the POC)
to the pre-AV for Stura, and by inviting ‘normal’ students more actively and personally,
broader input can be given to these meetings. This is certainly not a sneer to our predecessors
(who have together brought us where we are today), but rather an enthusiasm to build on the
same tendencies and a, perhaps naive, hope to bring about improvement.