CBS Student-elections American style

Skrevet af Chris Day - Foto: Jørn Albertus - 12. november 2010 - 11:170 kommentarer
Connor Sullivan from from Rochester, New York is undertaking his first semester on the MSc International Business and Politics program and running for his study board and CBS' Academic Council both.

CBS’ student organisation, CBS Students generally has to work really hard just to get their co-students to vote at the annual student elections. Getting students to get involved with sitting on the study boards is also hard. And getting CBS’ international full-degree students to run… but; Cometh the Hour, cometh the Connor, it seems.

CBS Students' annual struggle to generate involvement
It’s CBS Election-time again at CBS. From 9 am on Monday the 22nd and 2 pm on the Friday 26th of November, CBS’ students get to vote and elect their program study board representatives, CBS’ Academic Council and CBS’ Board of Directors. This year, CBS Students are making a concerted effort to beat the previous highest turnout for an election – this being last year’s total of 18.8 percent.

The campaign to encourage more students to vote this year is called ‘VOTEOR’. You are free to finish off the phrase as you wish depending how you feel about student politics. For some, this might be a case of writing; ‘Vote or go down the pub!’ It is hoped, however, that most will opt for; ‘Vote or you miss out on your chance to contribute to the democratic process!’.

Getting the international students onBoards (and Council)
From a global perspective, elections also give CBS’ international full degree students the chance to increase their presence across the study boards and on the Academic Council. In the February 2010 edition of the CBS OBSERVER, it was noted how measly the number of international representatives there actually were across the study boards.

Undoubtedly, this low number partly had to do with the fact that exchange students are ineligible to stand for election due to their limited period of stay at CBS. However, even taking this into account, the number of international full degree students elected was extremely small.

At the time CBS Students President Emil Fuglsang stated: “There could be and should be more. On the studies that are ‘international something’ we need at least one”. He went on to say: “Run for the study board! More people should do it. It’s a really valuable experience to say I was active in student politics in another country and international setting.”

One American very much onBoard (and Council) this year...
One international student who has heard the call and is fighting for election on two fronts is Connor Sullivan. Originally from Rochester, New York, Connor is presently undertaking his first semester on the MSc International Business and Politics program. Having arrived at CBS, attracted by the unique chance to combine the study of business with politics, Connor was a recipient of a CBS scholarship for being an international student with outstanding academic potential.

- IBP is a unique master’s programme that you don’t find anywhere else in the world. This was a dream opportunity for me, Connor Sullivan explains.

Despite having just arrived at CBS, Connor has already taken on a number of extracurricular roles at the business school. He has established a position as an International Student Ambassador, is a member of ‘360° – Students for Sustainability’ and a co-coach of the CBS basketball team.

- I’m trying to get engulfed into the CBS community as much as I can. It’s my personality; I have a lot of energy, says Connor.

...and with an actual election platform to run on
This excess energy may now take Connor Sullivan one step further into the core of CBS. At the upcoming elections, he will be candidate for a place on both the IBP study board and CBS’ Academic Council. The latter has a number of functions including advising the President on the allocation of funds, strategy, academic employee composition, PhD awards and generally all key topics relating to CBS. For Connor there is a dual payoff in helping other students as well as gaining valuable experience:

- I’m going into this with my eyes wide open. I am truly interested and excited. I have a genuine interest in trying to make CBS better, which could also help me as well by giving me some new political experience, Connor Sullivan promotes his two candidacies.

The main thrust of Connor’s election pledge is that he would use his power to try and push for the implementation of recording lectures and seminars in the form of podcasts and then make them available for students via the CBS intranet. This he believes will help enormously for students who would like to review lessons again or didn’t manage to make it to class.

- We could podcast seminars and then throw them up on the study board websites. I would kill to go back and listen to lectures during the exam period or it could help someone if they were sick, he points out, and replies when asked whether this idea might not mean that no-one shows up to class:

- Whether you are planning on coming to class or not, it probably doesn’t matter if a podcast is on the intranet. 

Aming to make CBS' international student presence felt
Connor Sullivan also pledges to try to be a very active student representative and maintain a strong presence around campus:

- I do want to be as available as possible to every student. When a situation arises they might say who can I turn to? If I can’t do anything, I can at least try and point them in the right direction, he promises.

On the international front, there can be no doubt that increasing the cultural variety of student representatives can only be better for the whole of CBS in the long run.

- I’m really just trying to see if I can contribute towards improving CBS. We need a more noticable international voice. If you are represented solely by Danish students, you come to the table with the same mindset to breakdown every problem, Connor Sullivan points out.

‘VOTEOR’ you’ll be letting down Connor and all your other representatives
Week 47 – from 9 am on Monday the 22nd and 2 pm on the Friday 26th of November – is the CBS student election week and may be what promises to be the most keenly fought contest for years.

To register your vote, go to:

Check out CBS Students link for an election countdown:


Turnaround for CBS' international student representation?
In CBS Observer, February 2010 we reported that the number of international students on CBS’ study boards was “less than a handful”. This representation was considered to be substantially undersized compared to the proportion of international full degree students, which at the time was 11 percent of CBS’ bachelors and 19 percent of the graduate students.

Reasons for the low representation were partly attributed to the uneven distribution of full time international students across the programs and the ineligibility of exchange students to run for election. Only IBP was sufficiently represented, with one foreign student on the five man study board (Thomas Nielsen who is French) for a program that was one fifth international.

However, a quick look at the candidate list for the week 47 elections points towards 2010 possibly being the year of decisive turnaround regarding international representation. A very rough and unscientific check of the candidate list shows that 32 out of 139 candidates – about 23 percent – may be non-Danes.

Clearly international full degree students are getting less apathetic towards CBS’ student representation. The key point to focus on now is how many international candidates will actually be converted into student representatives.