Posted on Thu 21 Nov 2019 at 15:21 by Louise Henrard
AURORA Conference (Sunday 27th,Monday and Tuesday).
AURORA is a European network of universities sharing best practices, leading in pioneering work in higer education and working collaboratively with one another. I decided to travel by trains which took around 16hours each way. It was nerve-racking, I almost missed three of my connection (I had 6 trains in total) and wi-fi was not available throughout the journey BUT I'm really glad I pushed the University to pay for my trains tickets. When I first mentioned my intention to take a train rather than flying, the University was very positive. When it came to paying, that's where the troubles started. I had to barter with them, letting them know I would find my own accomodation so they could use all my allocated budget for the conference towards train tickets.
On Sunday, the AURORA Student Council met before the official start of the conference. We talked about our expectations for the bi-annual and as some students had been there a long time, I had the change to learn more about the hsitory of the Student Council.
Oftentimes, in University Networks, students do not have a direct say. That's why the Student Council was created, to give voices to students who don't often get to meet Senior Staff members.
Overall the conference was quite productive, I was part of the Sustainability Working Group which was lead by two staff members from UoA. I decided then to take part in the sub-group focussing on business air travel. I believe we need to address our staffs business air travel. We can't afford to sit back and continue the same old.. In the sub-group, we will be looking at how to practically reduce business air travel: - by improving our facilities and capcity to hold virtual conference - by leading a behavioural change in the sector, asking the hard questions such as: Do we really need to travel all across the world for an hour presentation? or even a few hours? -how to make more sustainbale ways of travelling accessible to all? ( trains usually take longer and are more expensive, there is no going aorund it).
Some of our recommendations for the AURORA Conference related to catering of events, assessing the need for two conferences each year where we could do with only one, re-consdering the impact of each conference organised and making sure our beliefs lead to actions. How can a conference claim to be environmentally-conscious when getting a plant-based option at the buffer was such a difficult process?
Other groups focussed on Diversity, Internationalisation and mobility.
AURORA Student Council also discussed how to engage within the AURORA Network and also to talked about ways for students from each universities to have a direct say in what the network does. Each student representatives thought of a project they wanted to organise at their universities. Me and Cecilia were thinking about an exhibition to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.