The “Politicians to the university!” project had Estonian institutions of higher education invite politicians to become student shadows for a day.
On the first week of November, 31 October – 4 November, spearheaded by the University of Tartu Student Union, the student unions of six Estonian institutions of higher education organized a student shadow day for Estonian politicians. With the project, we wanted to introduce the students’ daily life and challenges to the parliament members.
The aim of this initiative was to offer an effective and constructive intersection point for successful politicians and active, studious students. We created an opportunity for politicians to see what kinds of decisions and choices students must make and what challenges they face in their daily lives. With this project, the students took one of their ordinary fall days and made it into a special and unforgettable experience, where they showed a known politician their doings, rights and obligations and joys and worries. One of the reasons for creating this project was to inform MPs, as the people who have the right to vote on the decisions at the state level, in the most direct way of one of the main problems of students as a societal group – economic vulnerability.
The participants of the project are the students and student unions of Tallinn University, Tallinn University of Technology, University of Tartu, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and Estonian Academy of Arts.
While participating in the student shadow day, the student and their shadow MP had the opportunity to show their activities and extraordinary day on social media by using the hashtag #PoliitikudÜlikooli. Still, either party didn’t need to record moments of the day, but it was a nice way to give the project visibility in the media and raise awareness of the project among the broader audience. Multiple politicians did that by uploading their posts regarding the student shadow day to their social media. The student unions collected photo and video material of the politicians’ and students’ meetings and interviewed both sides.
Some of the politicians’ posts:
In addition, the television students of the Baltic Film, Media and Arts School (BFM) compiled a newsreel to give an overview of the project: