Members of the ÖH work on various levels. You will find a detailed explanation of the most important subsections below:
ÖH Bundesvertretung (BV)
The probably most important level of representation is the so called “ÖH Bundesvertretung”, which resides in Vienna. It consists of a parliamentary assembly (88 members representing students from all over Austria) and an executive body which is elected by the parliamentary assembly. This executive body is composed of a chair and eleven offices. Since July 2009 this executive body has been formed by a coalition of the “Grüne&Alternativen StudentInnen”, the “Fraktion Engagierter Studierender”, the “Fachschaftslisten Österreichs” and the “Verband Sozialistischer StudentInnen”.
The “Bundesvertretung”`s main task is to represent students in negotiations with the government. Furthermore, they host congresses and conferences, network (especially concerning local student representatives), offer consulting service on a wide variety of topics and provide helpful information material. Also, the “Bundesvertretung” is a member of the European Students` Union (ESU), which represents students on a European level.
In addition, you will find a so called “Universitätsvertretung” in all of the 21 Austrian universities. The one in Salzburg consists of a parliamentary assembly (13 members at the moment) whose members are being elected every two years (you actually vote for a party). The members of the UV then elect the chairpersons and the leading executives of the various offices (e.g. International Office, Office for educational policies) who together form the executive body of the UV. Currently about 35 students work for the UV Salzburg on a voluntary basis.
Clearly service alone cannot be the solution to all problems we face at university. We need a politically dedicated and assertive organisation! Obviously, opinions vary when it comes to the question of which political agenda should be pursued by the ÖH. Therefore, you will not be able to vote for individual students to represent you in the UV, but for different parties with different agendas. Here you can find the results of the last elections, which took place in May 2013:
- GRAS (Grüne&Alternative StudentInnen): 6 seats
- AG (Aktionsgemeinschaft): 4 seats
- VSSTÖ (Verband Sozialistischer StudentInnen Österreichs): 3 seats
Note: The so called “Plattform unabhängiger Studierender Salzburg” (PLUSS), which gained a seat in 2011, did not run for elections in 2013.
“Fakultätsvertretung (FV)” – student representatives on faculty level
Since the revision of the so-called “HochschülerInnenschaftsgesetz” (the law defining the Austrian students union) in 2004 the student representatives on the level of faculties are no longer obligatory. Nevertheless, the ÖH Salzburg has decided on keeping them for each faculty (the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, the Faculty of Natural Sciences, the Law Faculty and the Theological Faculty), due to democratic reasons. The FVs are elected by the student representatives on department level (STVs).
The aim of the FV is to encourage the communication between the individual STV and the departments. They moreover (financially) support the STV when they work on projects, such as a STV library, or organise events, such as “STV Brunch” or courses in first aid. Some FV finance grants and scholarships for students in social and financial needs as well.
“Studienvertretung” (STV) – student representatives on department level
The STV is the place to go, if you do have any enquires or questions about your program. No matter whether you face problems with university staff or professors in the department or in a certain course, just go and see the STV for help. Each department and program has got an individual STV. The two main aims of the STV are first of all to provide advice for the students in the department and secondly the STV does have a say in the department as well. For example student representatives are part of the so-called “Curricularkommission” (a commission working on the curricula). There are three student representatives, three professors and three members of the non-professional teaching staff (“Mittelbau”) in the “Curricularkommission”. What do they do there? One major issue are of course the curricula for each program, but also the annual course plans within the department.
Moreover, the STV offers extra information hours at the beginning of each semester especially for freshmen, but of course there are regular office hours throughout the semester in which you can get advice as well.
The members of the STV are elected during the ÖH election (every two years). If you wish to become a member of your STV, you can run for the elections (you do not need to be a member of any political party for the STV). As the members of the STV work on a voluntary basis, the opening hours are limited; nevertheless, you can reach them easily during the opening hours or via e-mail (some do even have Facebook) and they all do their best to be there for you and represent the students within their department. For more information see “Studienvertretung”.