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Una Europa students shape the future of Europe at the European Student Assembly

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From 31 May to 2 June, 10 Una Europa students travelled to the European Parliament in Strasbourg for the European Student Assembly (ESA). Their mission? To convince key European stakeholders and decision-makers – including over 200 students – to support their political recommendations for shaping the future of Europe.

ESA is a grassroots project gathering students from European Universities alliances to debate current issues, draft policy recommendations and advocate them on a European stage. This year’s edition brought together 230 students from 40 European University alliances, who together drafted and voted on 75 political recommendations addressing challenges and opportunities faced by Europe – from building sustainable cities to ensuring democracy represents the values and needs of the people.

But approving political recommendations is not the ESA’s only goal. It’s also a unique opportunity for engaged, motivated students across Europe to connect, sharing their cultural similarities and differences and building a network to amplify each other’s voices at European level. Hear more about the impact of participating in the ESA from our students.

  • © Stinne Vognæs

  • © Roksolana Kharachko

  • © Fanny Dubray

  • © Roksolana Kharachko

  • © Marina Casanova Rossi

“To the ones who say ‘it won’t matter in the end’ – a little difference is better than no difference at all”

Skyler Del Pero is a student of Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, as well as a member of the Una Europa Student Board and Diversity Council. Passionate about advocating for inclusive, welcoming spaces for all, Skyler participated in Panel 5 – Taking better care of each other. What should be the European approach to mental health?

For Skyler, the lasting memory of participating in ESA 2023 was connecting with European students and seeing first-hand the impact they can have on democracy and Europe at large. Feeling a shared European identity amongst the students held particular resonance for him:

“My grandpa has a European flag hanging from his house and, whenever someone asks him where he’s from, he says ‘I’m European’. He’s neither Italian, nor from Trentino, he’s European. I wish one day I could call myself European as proudly as he does. A lot of work still needs to be done, but events like this prove that a lot of young people have the energy to try and make a difference. And to the ones who say, ‘it won’t matter in the end’, a little difference is better than no difference at all.”

  • © Skyler Del Pero

  • © Skyler Del Pero

  • © Skyler Del Pero

  • © Skyler Del Pero

  • © Skyler Del Pero

“It’s incredible to witness the power of student collaboration and the impact we can have when our voices unite”

Meri Tseruashvili is a student at Helsingin yliopisto/ Helsingfors universitet and participated in Panel 7 – Is the EU in a position to develop an efficient foreign policy and an autonomous defence policy that would ensure the safety of its citizens? The opportunity to connect with students across Europe and work together towards a common goal has been eye-opening for her:

"Participating in ESA 2023 as a representative of the Una Europa alliance has been a transformative experience. It's incredible to witness the power of student collaboration and the impact we can achieve when our voices unite. From panel discussions to formulating proposals, I've grown as an individual and contributed to shaping the future of Europe.

“ESA has shown me the importance of student representation in European Universities and the energy of the European Universities community is truly inspiring. Being part of Una Europa has opened doors to endless opportunities and the excitement of working together towards a common goal is unmatched. This journey has reaffirmed my belief in the power of unity and cooperation. Together, we can create a brighter future for European universities and beyond."

© Meri Tseruashvili

“European Universities alliances have power to wield in shaping Europe’s future"

A master’s student at Helsingin yliopisto/ Helsingfors universitet, Jace Jordan is an active member of the Una Europa Local Student Task Force in Helsinki and relished the opportunity to connect with the wider European Universities alliances community at ESA 2023. From working with the focused, driven students of Panel 2 – Lessons from the past? How could the French-German history of reconciliation serve as a model to overcome conflicts and build unity? to seeing the power of democracy in action, inside the European Parliament, Jace has a lot of highlights to share from his journey with ESA:

“Within the inspiring venue of the Robert Schuman Hemi-cycle, and other locations that are integral to European democracy, I was able to actively participate in shaping policy ideas on a variety of issues and topics and actively use my voice to advocate for the future of Europe. We [the student participants] were able to see the power of democracy in putting forth innovative solutions and policies that can impact both our present and our future.

“ESA 2023 was a remarkable experience that allowed me to really discover the power that university alliances, like Una Europa, can wield in shaping Europe’s future, and the integral role they play in facilitating critical cultural exchange between students around the world. I am grateful for the tremendous opportunity and honor I had to represent Una Europa in this Assembly and look forward to the real and practical impact that our proposed policies can have in the coming months and years."

© Jace Jordan

What happens next?

The political recommendations approved at ESA 2023 are developed and supported by a diverse community of 230 students from all corners of Europe. Sharing these with relevant stakeholders, policymakers and educational institutions secures our students’ role as co-creators in shaping the future of Europe. Let’s amplify our students’ voices and work together to create a shared future that we can all be proud of!

Explore ESA 2023’s policy recommendations

Head to Instagram to further explore our students' experience at ESA 2023

Student representation at Una Europa: Meet the Una Europa Student Board