Become a VVS Volunteer
The Flemish Union of Students (VVS) works by and for volunteer students. As a voluntary organisation, we count on the support of Flemish student representatives, but we also like to welcome new, independent students!
There are three main representative positions for volunteers within VVS: representative (mandataris), reporter (rapporteur) and board member (bestuurslid). Still some threshold anxiety? No worries. You can always start at VVS by attending a general meeting or participating in a working group.
Already convinced you want to take up a mandate? You’ll find a form at the bottom of this page!
A representative represents VVS in external meetings on education and student affairs in the Flemish Education Council, the Flemish Council of Universities of Applied Sciences, the Flemish Inter-University Council, the Forum Entrepreneurial Higher Education, and so on. In these meetings, you give VVS’s perspective in the interest of every student studying at a college or university of the Flemish community.
Find here the list of available mandates for the current academic year and what they entail.
At VVS, students have the responsibility of leading specific dossiers and working groups. We call these students ‘reporters’. They are elected by the bureau and write a VVS position paper or follow up on a dossier.
We are currently working on a job profile for reporters. Once it is finished, you will be able to consult it here and at the bottom of this page. You can also come to a bureau yourself and propose a new rapporteur position to the members, for which you can then stand for election yourself.
In the FAQ below you can read all about what is expected from you as rapporteur, as well as about the steps you can take to successfully prepare a position
The European Students Union (ESU) represents students at the European level. It is an association made up of national student councils from different countries in Europe. Like the Flemish Association of Students (VVS), its affiliated members have the power to determine ESU’s direction and vision. Specifically, VVS gets a say in an ESU’s policies.
To do this, VVS relies on external mandataries: the ESU mandatary and the Director International of VVS.
What do you do before the working group meeting?
- In the Bureau, you stand as a rapporteur for the dossiers for which a rapporteur is requested in the Bureau or in the GA.
- If you are elected, you can choose to set up a working group. Such a working group can be set up for two different reasons: preparing a draft opinion or preparing a specific topic
- If you set up a working group, you send an invitation to the working group in consultation with the staff and within four days of your appointment. This invitation is sent to every active student within VVS and polls for a date for the working group to take place.
- You convene the working group on your own initiative or when at least one-fifth of the affiliated members of the association instruct you to do so.
- You send out the final invitation with agenda.
- You, together with the staff, provide sufficient background information, as well as any proposal.
What do you do during the working group meeting?
- You chair the working group
- You take the lead to develop a draft position
Wat doe je na de werkgroepvergadering?
- You further develop the draft position with the staff
- If a working group took place, you report on the work at the desk
- If members of the Bureau have substantive comments on the work within the working group, the rapporteur takes these into account in his or her work
- the rapporteur shall present a draft opinion to the Bureau within a reasonable time. If the bureau chair receives signals from the bureau that the reasonable time limit is being exceeded, he or she may urge you to expedite your work
- When the draft position is put on the agenda and before the general meeting, you explain the draft position. You take any comments with you to process in the working group according to the consensus principle.
Plan of action
So what is the specific purpose of being an elected rapporteur?
You read up using the information on Google Drive>Working Groups on your own topic. There are some overview documents and recent documents here so you can quickly get a good idea. To have an idea of further history, you can look at Google Drive>Standpoints, notes, info sheets and files.
You check yourself and in cooperation with the staff member and bureau chair concerned, based on the agreed action points under priorities, whether a working group is needed. A working group can be set up for two reasons: preparing a specific substantive topic or writing a draft position paper.
What if a working group is set up?
You and the staff member concerned agree on some dates when you want and can convene a working group. The staff sends out a doodle and, based on this, a consultation moment for the working group is agreed upon.
Together with the staff, you prepare what will be discussed at the working group (e.g. a draft position paper) and what preparatory documents are needed so that everyone around the table is informed. You may also invite external experts for information. You help write text proposals. The meeting is valid when three members of VVS are represented.
You chair the meeting and elaborate the comments afterwards together with the staff and director concerned. You always strive for consensus.
You attend the desk and report on your progress.
You work towards a new position or file and follow it up until it is approved in the bureau or av (depending on whether the av puts it on the agenda or not).
What if a working group is set up?
You will work with the relevant staff member and relevant director to determine what needs to be done in the case (e.g. this could be updating a parent position).
You attend the office and report to the office how you are working and what your progress is.
You follow up the position or file until it is approved in the bureau or general meeting (depending on whether it is on the agenda at the general meeting).
The VVS board consists of elected students. They dedicate an entire year to representing the organisation and governing its content. As a board, you jointly set the direction of VVS and learn what it is like to:
- run in a professional organisation;
- write nota’s, positions and advice for Flemish (education) policy;
- dealing with and reconciling different opinions;
- deal with top politicians, the education field and the press;
- to speak with responsibility;
- negotiate and influence policy diplomatically but effectively; and communicate smoothly and clearly.
You will network as a VVS board member during meetings and consultations with politicians, rectors, general managers, (education) experts and policymakers at the highest level, but you will also learn what it is like to weigh in on the public debate and speak on numerous panels as an expert.
But not to fear: you will be supported in all areas by the VVS staff. Furthermore, at the beginning of your mandate, you will receive handover sessions and training to prepare you substantively and communicatively for your position.
Open board member positions
An unforgettable experience awaits you – in a young and dynamic team, in a busy, international environment (European district) – to influence student policy. You are the representative of 270,000 students in the Flemish community (Flanders and Brussels) and thus carry the voice of the student in the media, at your institution and with politicians.
Interested in this position? Take a look at this page all director profiles at a glance.
For all information on becoming an elected director at the Flemish Association of Students (VVS), please visit this page.