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Jarne Verelst, president of the Student Council, during the academic opening 2016-2017 in BOZAR.

Yesterday Paul De Knop handed over the reigns to Caroline Pauwels at an academic opening in a fully packed BOZAR. Not only the rectors, but also two students induced enthusiasm in the room. Jarne Verelst (Student Council) and Arlind Cara (International Student Platform) gave the best of theirselves during their speech.


“We should be able to safely return to our campuses at night”

With trembling knees and blushing cheeks Jarne Verelst, brand new chairman of the student council, took to the floor. Totally unnecessarily it turned out. The audience appreciated the content of his speech and his dry humour tremendously. Especially the students in attendance. One of Jarne’s points was that minister Pascal Smet should provide public transport at night in Brussels. The result of that quote? A thunderous applause.

All in all it was a rather mellow oration with a few quirky and to-the-point outliers. For example, Jarne argued in favor of new (and more) infrastructures. He also urged students to go to the centre of Brussels more often, and claim it. “Students, jump on your bikes or public transport and move into the city. Show the world that Brussels is ours.”


The full speech of Jarne Verelst can be read here.

Arlind Cara from the International Student Platform gave inspiring speech during the academic opening.

"VUB has a lot more to offer than studying alone"
Arlind Cara, International Student Platform

Arlind Cara of the International Student Platform (ISP) clearly relished in the spotlight of BOZAR’s stage. This year was the first time an interternational student was on stage during the academic opening. In a steadfast voice he offered his VUB story: about an enjoyable drinks reception, open and respectful people and diversity. The”VUB feeling” has already gotten a hold of Arlind completely. He convincingly discussed the importance of freedom of speech, assertivity and critical thinking. In his disarming Dutch with Albanian accent he even proclaimed: “Ik ben nu al redelijk eigenzinnig”.

Arlind further went into what the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has to offer international students, aside from the academic. He talked about training by our Career Center, concerts, parties and more. Finally this satisfied student called on all his international colleagues to join ISP to further weigh on the decision makers at VUB.


The full speech of Arlind Cara can be read here.