Making changes easier – Tibdiliet maghmulin ehfef. This is the slogan adopted by the new executive of GUG whose main aim us to facilitate the lives of Gozitan students. This slogan reflects the changes in the Gozitan students’ lifestyle, which can be challenging at times.
GUG (Gozo University Group) originated in the 1980s and was then officially recognised in 1987 as a student organization by the Senate of the University of Malta. Since its foundation, GUG has expanded to become more useful and flexible. It became the sole voice for Gozitan youths, students on campus and on a national level, doing its best to work for their interest and safeguard their rights The Group tries to cater for the particular problems and needs which students may encounter.
It is affiliated to various committees and organizations including
the Regional Projects Committee part of Ministry for Gozo, the KPS (Commission
for Social Policy), the KNZ (Youth Council of Malta), Agenzija Zghazagh and the Gozo NGO Association. GUG is also striving
itself with other organizations on a
European and global level.
Until recently the GUG has been using an office in Ghajnsielem’s school Wistin Camilleri Cauchi, kindly offered by the Minister of Gozo. It has also succeeded in acquiring an office at the Gozo Campus of the University of Malta thanks to the new Pro-Rector. Due to it’s substantial work in the scholastic year 2011-2012 it has also acquired an office in the Students’ House in the University of Malta Main Campus.
The GUG can also be found on Facebook. There one finds information
and news on the Organization and also upcoming events. The updated website also
includes information on available apartments in Malta for rent, so as to facilitate the transition of
Gozitan students. Additionally, in the website one finds adverts of second hand
books or things for sale which can be useful to other students. For more
information call on 79256904 or sent an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This executive is trying hard to accomplish the projects set out in
its agenda, to develop new ambitious projects and carry
them out. Important values for this
executive are impartiality and
freedom of expression. Executive
members come from different courses resulting in a team that has a wider view and
diverse ideas. The Group, being a voice for Gozitan youths, promotes organizations
and youths to plan for Gozo’s
future. So as to meet the demands of all Gozitan youths and students, GUG
attends important meeting, fully participates in discussions and gives its
opinion in relevant public consultations.
In April 2012, GUG created a survey to gather direct and useful
information about Gozitan students and their experience as students who study
and live in Malta. The survey included questions on a variety of aspects which
in a way or another affect the quality of life of each particular student. Some
of the questions asked about
which course they were studying, questions relating to transport,
accommodation, financial grants and other activities. A number of results and
conclusions from this survey are important as they show where more work needs to be done. These and
other results serve to encourage the Group to continue working and solving
problems which arise from these situations.
Gozo Liaison Officer
GUG requested that there should be an officer who directly addresses
challenges which Gozitan students face in
the Council of University Students
(KSU). GUG, which represents around 900 University students (10% of all
the students), believes that there should be more direct communication between
the 2 organizations so problems are solved more efficiently. This was achieved
through a proposal for the creation
of the post of Gozitan Liaison Officer in the AGM of the KSU in March 2012.
Gozo Campus / Exams in Gozo
GUG has always stressed
and pushed for the need to invest more in the Gozo campus. A step forward was
when Prof. Joe Friggieri was put in charge of the Gozo campus, as Pro-Rector. GUG
also achieved the proposal for exams to be held in Gozo in May 2012, through months of hard work, pressure and discussions with the University
The GUG created a number of sub-committees so as to expand its reach.
Students’ Voice was established
as a semi-autonomous
sub-committee for students at Sir
Mikelangelo Refalo in Gozo. Other subcommittees were created for MCAST and
ITS students. GUG is not
planning in stopping there;
rather it has a number of ambitious plans for these sub-committees.
In the wake of public
transport reform, GUG did its best for there to be a route from Cirkewwa to University and vice versa,
which would operate in line with the Gozo Channel’s schedule. It is worth
mentioning that GUG pressured MITC, and it managed to acquire positive results.
Another point is being worked on, that is to re-introduce a route similar to
the previous route 450. Also contact
has been made directly with Arriva management during a meeting organised with
Parliament’s Social Policy Committee.
Arriva Report – GUG sent a number of questions to its members on how
they were affected by the service of the new Arriva‘s route X1. GUG repeatedly
contacted the officials responsible, to ensure the best service possible. Nonetheless,
the organization praises the change of the service’s quality including the
better buses and drivers’ behaviour, among other things. The questions asked
were divided in a way to include all the aspects of the service and also the
opinion of the students. From the results, which were published, the GUG can
recognize that essential changes still need to be done through direct talks as
to continue to improve the service.
GUG organizes and participates in a variety of activities of special nature
or annual ones. Every year, GUG organizes a number of seminars and meetings of
introduction. These are held to help new students to become more integrated in
their new life in University. The annual meeting of introduction is held in the
Ministry of Gozo where useful information is given and other University Students share their experiences.
One of the activities in which GUG participates is the International
Cuisine Night in which students from different countries exhibit traditional
food in their country. The organization also participates in the Environmental
Week – a week in which GUG promotes the Gozitan environment and nature and also
comments in favour of its sustainability.
Recently GUG worked together with JP2 Youths and Agenzija Zghazagh to
organize a conference at Citadel about “Voluntary work in the Region”, in
occasion of the European Year dedicated to Voluntary Work and the year
dedicated to Youths of the United Nations. In this conference, 200 youths participated and a diversity of
points was discussed. Some of these were; how it started, and what is the
future of Voluntary Work in Gozo where many youths are given the opportunity to
express their opinions on how to improve it. After all, voluntary work helps keep Gozitan society united.
It is worth mentioning that next year, the GUG will celebrate its
25th year from its establishment. To commemorate this event GUG is organizing
an event to re-unite its past members.
This year, GUG organised Gozo Week at the University Quad for the
first time. For a whole week, one could notice six stands which portrayed Gozitan life. The events during the
week were aimed at promoting Gozo and Gozitan culture. GUG organised a number
of talks and debates regarding the current topics which affect Gozitan students
and youths. GUG believes in youths
being the driving force for the improving future of Gozo and aims to make them more aware of their
role in society and urges authorities to take the same approach. On
showcase, were also some examples of Gozitan talent which kept the students entertained throughout the week.
GUG is the only student organization providing support to Gozitan students studying at the University of Malta. Knowing that student life in Malta posed a financial burden on students, the Group worked hard to obtain extra student supplementary grants for Gozitan students. Discussions were held with the authorities concerned in order to give the same amount to MCAST and ITS students studying in Malta as that given to University students. For the first time students studying in Malta, are being given the amount of €400 every three months including both the accommodation and transport subsidy.
Finally one can say that this group had always an ambitious outlook,
and its members always prioritized their love and dedication to Gozo, without
personal interests. GUG believes in Gozitan students and youths. Hence it will
do its best to eradicate the
negative view towards volounteering which exists in some Gozitan youths and
students. A lot still needs to be done, however GUG is united to work and hence
achieve positive results. Gozo deserves better, and also its students.