Euram Candidate Interview: Erlend Skaug

Interview by Pierre-Ulysse Gorzkowski

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Please introduce yourself.

Hello, my name is Erlend Skaug, even though my father’s name is Ingebritsen. It’s weird because my passport says Skaug but it’s not my name. One word that would describe my person fully would be “Honesty”, or rather “Integrity”. I’ve been circulating the political and journalistic spheres for a little while now, and I really don’t want to pass for more than I am, as is often the case in these circles. What you see is what you get with me!

What do you think the role of a student representative at Sciences Po Reims is/should be?

As I told you, I’ve been a student representative in high school already, but I think that the task here is much more important, as are the studies pursued by the people in uni. If you mess this up, there’s no going back. That’s the role of the Student Representative, to make sure that everything goes well. We need to understand the struggles and adapt to the students.

I think there’s an agreement between all the candidates on the basis of our platforms, but the harder times of the year shall separate the good student representative from the unfit ones.

Why are you running to be a student representative?

I’m not sure actually, when I came here I told myself that I was gonna focus on my studies but I think we can get strength from such tasks that are required of a student representative.

I believe that I have the abilities to tell the administration “Hey, we (the students) are not puppets, we take an active part in our own education” and if something is not to our taste then we shall voice our complaints. And though I’m still getting the hang of French, language can be both a barrier and a bridge between students and the administration, so I don’t think that this would pose any major problem. 

What makes you qualified for this position?

After a small career in politics in Norway, I’ve been able to gather experience useful to communication with higher institutions, such as the administration of Sciences Po. For example, I know that many 2A felt strongly about the departure of Mr. Ruchet last year and I think there’s a need to voice student concerns in such matters. I intend to embody strength in my mandate because it’s going to be a tougher year for the student representatives with all the changes coming up.

As a student representative what would be your mission/main goals? (i.e. explain your platform)

Something that may seem unrealistic at first and that I would like to see implemented is the functioning of the exams. The goal is to go away from handwriting in the midterm and final exams, because if the goal of Sciences Po is to make us use our own opinion to explain certain phenomena, we shouldn’t get impeded by our handwriting. It’s really important to work on that in such a modern school, but that’s not the only role of the student representative. The communication between the student representative, the students, and the administration is a primordial role that we will take on if elected.

What is the one thing that as a student representative, you’d like to change or reform?

You know, I’m not buying the “all is bad at Sciences Po” speech that’s been going on among some students. The Sciences Po environment is great even though it has its flaws that we will be able to work on and act upon. We will stay awesome, stay great, but voice our position in a time of overwhelming changes. I’m a pragmatic idealist, I believe that dialogue and action from both sides can make things better than they were. Changes are led by steadfast people and I intend to be one for my fellow students. My dad often says that I’m a narcissist brat because I like defying authority. It’s the best thing. 

Finally, if could be any living person for a day, who would you be and why?

I think I would choose to be one of the people who wrote the Bible, in order to make it more straight forward so that people couldn’t misinterpret it as it’s been done throughout the years. It would then be a sort of constitution of peace, a story to show people what being good can do to the world. I would add side notes to make sure that people understood what we made with this text. It’s all about clarifying the message, when you think about it, and mine is that students are not pawns to be played with, a simple, quiet audience of the reforms made by the administration.

Photo: Maria Bakuwel

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