Students are the heart of ZHdK

They advocate for students’ concerns at ZHdK and try to meet as many of their needs as possible: Soraya-Thashima Rutschmann and David Bircher, co-presidents of Verso. Photograph: Alan Maag

What would the ideal ZHdK look like for students? David Bircher and Soraya-Thashima Rutschmann, co-presidents of the student organisation Verso, discuss bureaucracy, feedback culture and the first ZHdK-wide elections.



Lea Ingber: You co-chair Verso. What exactly does that mean?
Soraya-Thashima Rutschmann: We advocate for students’ concerns at ZHdK and try to meet as many of their needs as possible. To do this, it’s important that we stay in contact with students. For example, we’re working on improving the university’s feedback culture, that is, how grades are accounted for. Verso ran a survey at the Department of Design, which will be replicated in other departments.

David Bircher: We also dialogue with the university and work together on various levels to represent and communicate students’ interests. As co-presidents, we manage and coordinate these processes.

What issues are you concerned with most right now?
David Bircher: This spring we’ll have a premiere: the first university-wide Verso elections. All students will be able to run for office, campaign with posters and elect their future representatives. So far, students interested in running for office have been confirmed by their department representatives. So we’re very much looking forward to the elections and hope to address and involve even more students directly.

Why do you find getting involved in Verso important?
Soraya-Thashima Rutschmann: I find highlighting the student perspective important. Our views are key to the university, because as students we’re ist heart and soul.

David Bircher: Being involved in Verso balances my studies very well. I learn a lot about organisation and how associations work. This knowledge nicely complements my artistic work.

What would you change at ZHdK?
David Bircher: ZHdK is extremely diverse. That’s very enriching. But it also means that there are probably more opinions than people. We are constantly trying to simplify and improve everyday student life.

Soraya-Thashima Rutschmann: Exactly! We want to help shape the university and its development so that students receive the best and most upto- date education possible. In the best case, we do our job so well that students face as few hurdles as possible during their studies.

Verso represents the rights and interests of students at ZHdK. Verso representatives sit on various committees and exchange ideas on student affairs with the University Board and various committees.
Lea Ingber ( a project manager at ZHdK University Communications.
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