What is Vaka?
Vaka, the Democratic Student Alliance was founded on February 4th, 1935 and is therefore the oldest working student alliance at the University of Iceland. Vaka has always fought with strength for student rights. Vaka’s name has a history of its own, the alliance was founded as an opposition to the socialist student alliance and the nationalist student alliance at the time. The name reminds us of our history and the value of democratic work methods.
Vaka’s work is twofold. On the one side Vaka members are elected into the Student Council in yearly elections and work within the council in favor of students. On the other side Vaka is an independent alliance governed by Vaka’s board. The inner work of the alliance concentrates on publishing material, holding events, parties, etc.
Vaka sees the Student Council as a force that fights for students’ rights, not a political tool. Vaka lets its work speak for itself, and works for students with its initiative and volunteer work. Our goal is of course a better university, improved teaching, better equipment and all in all an improved education. We share this goal with students and teachers at the University of Iceland. When Vaka has led the Student Council many of the largest student issues have come to reality, in 1968 Félagsstofnun Stúdenta was founded and thanks to Vaka members the first housing on campus were built, the student loan system was also founded in 1961, when Vaka led the student council.
Vaka is a strong social alliance and we try to keep our work such that it appeals to everyone. Introductory meetings are held regularly where Vaka members present their work and listen to pointers from students. We believe that it is important to hear first hand what can be improved at the university so that it can be acted on directly. The alliance is also an important publishing force, annually the fall and Christmas newsletters are published as well as the special elections newsletter. Vaka also regularly publishes its newsletter, “Vakandi”. Vaka also has regular meetings where we look over the Student Council and its committees and their work and try to come up with new means of improving student life using Vaka members’ indebt knowledge of the issues. Vaka also hosts numerous parties throughout the year at Hólmaslóð 4, Vaka’s headquarters. These include poker-nights, theme parties, and parties in general.
In the yearly student council elections Vaka presents a list of candidates to the Student Council. Vaka is one of the largest alliances that presents lists to the Student Council elections and every single person on Vaka’s list of representatives can be identified with their initiative and good knowledge of student life.
Vaka has always been one of the strongest student alliances at the University of Iceland. Even though Vaka sets a great emphasis on the Student Council and its work in favor of students, we have also always put a strong emphasis on the independency of the alliance itself, keeping it up and running and stronger than ever.
For many years Vaka had no real headquarters and held its meetings in rented housing in different parts of town. When the Student Council’s office was built Vaka thought its problems of housing was over but since we did not win the elections at the time, Vaka did not have access to the student council for meetings for the association itself.
In 1984 Vaka members had gotten enough of moving around all the time and bought a house at Hverfisgata 50. In 1989 the house burnt down at the night of a great victory for Vaka in the Student Council elections. Vaka members put all their efforts into cleaning and repairing the house.
In 2002 due to changed circumstances in down town Reykjavík, the home at Hverfisgata 50 was no longer convenient for our work. Vaka moved to Hólmaslóð 4 which is more convenient for inner work, all year round.
Vaka’s headquarters are lively all year round. Meetings are held and Vaka members can do their work there. Vaka’s popular parties are also from time to time held at the headquarters. During the yearly Student Council elections, Vaka rents special election headquarters from where the election campaign is governed.
Who can partake in Vaka?
All students at the University of Iceland are welcome to join Vaka! The alliance is open to everyone and we are always happy to see new faces. You do not need to sign up to the alliance and there are no fees, all you need to do is show up at one of our advertized meetings/events or send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org