A year ago, in the middle of Almedalen Week, I took over as chairman of the Swedish National Union of Students (SFS). Today, a year later, I hand over to my successor Caroline Sundberg.
It is an eventful and fantastic year that I put behind me. It's hard to put into words everything I've experienced. I have been to meetings with students from other countries in Yerevan, Brussels and Riga. I have debated study grants live on national radio and in an angry voice asked a journalist if she would like to work extra after the full-time job is over. I have met party leaders, politicians and experts to talk about student health insurance. I have traveled around and met member corps in Kalmar, Uppsala and Karlstad. The list can be made as long as the days of the year. Everything has not been easy, but everything, really everything, has beenmeaningful.
Saying goodbye and moving on feels sad and funny at the same time. I want to thank you for giving me the confidence to lead the Swedish student movement. I want to thank you for once giving me the opportunity to get involved in SöderS student union and for the path that then led me to where I am today.
I would especially like to thank my safe and wise vice chairman Johan, who I will miss a lot to work with. I would also like to thank the fantastic board we have had to lead during the year, which has been both encouraging and challenging and has known how to put policy development at the center. It has yielded results and I am extremely pleased that the discussions at this year's council were characterized by a strong zeal to improve SFS's policy even more and make it even more pointed. I am a little extra happy for the housing policy positions that were adopted and I look forward to seeing SFS take a bigger place in the housing debate!
During the annual meeting of the European Student Union, ESU, I was elected to the Executive Committee. This means that I will continue to work for students' rights and for better education, but now at European level. In the committee, I have been given special responsibility for the social dimension and therefore have the opportunity to continue working with students' conditions for studying. It also means that I will have close contact with SFS and the Swedish student movement also in the future.
It now feels very fun to hand over the chairman's club to Caroline Sundberg, who I know will make a fantastic effort together with Johan, who will continue as vice chairman. I have full confidence in Caroline and it feels safe that she will continue to work on the issues that have been closest to my heart. Maybe she will be the chairman who gets to experience the day when students get the right to part-time sick leave? At least it is clear that when that day comes, then I will, wherever I am, be able to feel that I and many previous presidents at SFS have contributed to greater security for all the students who suffer from illness during their studies.
With these words, I want to thank you for me, say goodbye and wish Caroline and Johan good luck during the year 2015/2016!
Rebecka Stenkvist, SFS chair 2014/15