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Over 3,000 euros for equal opportunities in academia thanks to NSE respondents

Within the scope of the National Student Survey (NSE) a cheque for €3.087,75 was presented to the Leiden University Fund (LUF) on Monday. The money is for the Leiden Empowerment Fund.

Better education, equal opportunities

At the start of 2022, 12,351 students completed the NSE. The NSE is a large national survey in which students give their opinions on their degree programme, for instance the content, supervision and employment preparation. The response in Leiden was higher than the national average, which is good news because it’s a way for students to help improve the education they receive.

The result of this year’s NSE will also help create an academic environment with equal opportunities for all. Each completed survey meant a donation to the Leiden Empowerment Fund. The cheque was presented yesterday in the main hall at Oude UB by Julie Külsen, Assessor at Leiden Law School, to Eliane Cohen, Fundraising Manager at the LUF

The LUF’s Leiden Empowerment Fund (LEF) aims to help students and academics at Leiden realise their ambitions regardless their gender, cultural background, sexual orientation or physical disabilities. The fund provides grants to first-generation academics – academics whose parents did not go to university.  These students and academics have less access to academic networks and often have fewer financial resources for their studies or research. 

Leiden Empowerment Fund

Eliane Cohen: ‘Equal opportunities for all is what the LEF is all about. We are really pleased that the students who took the NSE have taken this goal to heart. We want there to be a place for everyone at university; everyone is welcome. This money will allow us to help people who need grants, extra help or a network. That’s extremely important to us.’ 

The LEF provides grants for research projects, writing an article or preparing for another, larger grant application. In 2021, for example, Semiha Aydin, a PhD candidate at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, received a LEF grant. She began a study of the effectiveness of schema therapy for treating social anxiety disorders in young adults, particularly first-generation students. 

Involving law students

Julie Külsen explains how it was convenient that the University week that drew attention to the NSE coincided with Valentine’s Day. ‘After a bit of brainstorming we came up with a fun campaign: handing out Valentine’s gifts. If students could show they’d completed the survey, we’d give them a chocolate heart and coffee or tea. A gift for yourself or your Valentine.’ 

Students were enthusiastic. ‘No gift on Valentine’s Day? Take the NSE!’ And the result? Satisfied academics, another of the findings in the NSE. In 2022, satisfaction with the atmosphere on the degree programmes has increased compared to the previous year.

Julie Külsen and Eliane Cohen with the cheque for the LEF
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