The YUFE Student Forum (SF) has taken the initiative in organizing the first meeting with student representatives from other European University Alliances. This is a result of the YUFE SF task force ‘Communications’, led by Nassim Talbi, from the University of Antwerp. The other YUFE SF Task force leaders Lea Bilić and Yuliya Chesnokova from Maastricht University and the University of Antwerp were present and helped facilitate the meeting, along with the YUFE SF President Margarita Kazdagli from the University of Cyprus and Vice-President Manisha Bieber, from Maastricht University.

YUFE was joined by the following European University Alliances as well as the ESU (European Students’ Union):

  • EU-CONEXUS (European University for Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability);
  • ERUA (European Reform University Alliance);
  • RUN-EU (Regional University Network);
  • EUt+ (European University of Technology);
  • UNITE! University (University Network for Innovation Technology and Engineering);
  • CIVIS (European Civic University);
  • EDUC (European Digital UniverCity);

This makes a total of eight alliances, which together with YUFE represent 78 universities across Europe.

The Student Perspective

Recognising that students play a crucial role as co-creators of their respective Alliances, the YUFE SF aimed to delve into the complexities of institutional structures while considering the international dimension of their work. With various stakeholders holding diverse views and opinions, the students approached these discussions from their unique student perspective. However, they often encountered obstacles within their own Alliances and institutions, prompting them to reach out to other Alliances to gauge whether similar challenges were being faced.

The YUFE SF extended invitations to other European Alliances, inviting their student representatives to participate in an online meeting. The initiative received an overwhelming response, as students from different Alliances expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to engage in cross-alliance dialogue. After meticulous planning and coordination, the meeting took place on July 3, 2023.


During the meeting, the participants focused on four core topics: democratic election of student representatives, governance, remuneration of student work, and strategies for effectively reaching students at their respective institutions. Through extensive and in-depth discussions, it became evident that the students faced remarkably similar issues across the various Alliances.


The shared conversations allowed the participants to gain valuable insights into the obstacles they encountered in their roles as student representatives. By learning from each other’s experiences and perspectives, they were able to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges they faced. Furthermore, the meeting fostered a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among the participating alliances, leading to a decision to maintain regular communication and plan future meetings.

The YUFE SF expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to exchange thoughts and experiences with students from a broader range of countries than their own Alliance. The enriching experience not only facilitated a better understanding of common challenges but also provided a platform for collective problem-solving and idea-sharing.

Future plans

Moving forward, the YUFE SF and the participating Alliances are committed to building on the success of this meeting. They plan to continue working together, sharing best practices, and addressing common obstacles faced by students across European Alliances. By pooling their resources and knowledge, they hope to enhance student representation and engagement within their respective institutions, thereby strengthening the voice of students within the European higher education landscape.

The YUFE SF’s efforts to connect with other Alliances and foster collaboration reflect a commitment to inclusive and student-centered approaches. As the future leaders and change-makers of Europe, students are determined to overcome the challenges they face and shape the direction of higher education for generations to come.