As the Essex student rep for YUFE, Salli, who is from Finland, is involved with encouraging student opportunities for students at Essex and across Europe.
The YUFE alliance, which includes ten, leading, research-intensive young universities, aims to develop a new European University, allowing students like Salli to study a variety of modules at other European universities, learn new languages and connect with other foreign students.
Salli said her work so far with YUFE has focused on connecting with other students from different backgrounds. “We’re running diversity and inclusivity workshops for all new students starting YUFE modules this upcoming term,” she explained. “I’ve seen how important it is to make connections with people. Every time you sit in a zoom call, you’re speaking with someone from somewhere new. It makes you appreciate and recognise where you are.”
Salli believes that the importance of YUFE’s work has increased since the Brexit vote, as British universities have seen the number of international students drop since the UK left the European Union.
She believes that universities can always learn from each other and bring different ideas, voices and improve working culture.
“Since Brexit, it’s even more important to keep those connections. Through YUFE, we can make those connections even better, instead of isolating.
“Here at Essex we have so much going on - which is super exciting. The challenge is how to make YUFE stand out, because it’s something different. The beauty about this challenge is every time you work with people from different background and cultures, you feel like you learn more.”
As we’ll as the diversity and inclusivity workshops Salli has been involved with, YUFE also has recently launched YUFE Diversity and Inclusivity (D&I) Grants which provide funding for interdisciplinary student-staff teams to translate ideas into activities, tools or research related to diversity and inclusion that could produce a sustainable impact on the YUFE community.
Deadline for applications is 7 February. Find out more on the YUFE website.