Véronique Hédou is a lecturer-cum-research scientist in applied mathematics at UTC and has been in charge of “student campus life” for over 7 years now; she solves mathematical problems as well as the questions of the students who rely on her in their associative projects. Her objective: to let them remain the masters of their project, to accompany them without doing it for them, to provide them advice without deciding things for them. A successful equation!
Pure graduate product from the University Rennes I, Véronique Hédou did all her studies there and obtained her PhD in Mathematics and Applications. She took up a position as a lecturer at UTC after gaining her PhD. Today, she is mainly involved in the UTC core curriculum, in the CC courses that are essential for any future engineer. A few years ago, a skills assessment showed her how much she is attached to this school. “UTC is an integral part of my life and sometimes overflows on my personal life, even more since I am in charge of the student life”, she admits. She is in charge of overseeing student campus life. At the beginning, her mission consisted mainly in accompanying the somewhat more than 120 UTC student associations, in collaboration with the ‘Bureau des élèves’ (BDE), as well as various inter-semester activities. This was enriched over the years with the follow-up and the accompaniment of preventive actions (alcohol issues, sexist and sexual violence…) in connection with the preventive medicine, management of all the student jobs at the UTC (more than 300 per year), management of the contribution to student and campus life, representation of UTC concerning the student life in general.
“Our students are fantastic!”
“As I often say during meetings with my counterparts from other engineering schools or universities: “Our students are fantastic! They engage themselves, whatever the personal cost, in the campus life of UTC and show a very great maturity in their associative projects while brilliantly succeeding in demanding studies. They have a degree of autonomy that many envy us. This is undoubtedly the reason for their success on the job market. Their opinion is really taken into account. For example, the student representatives on the Council for Studies and University Life (CEVU) have supported the “participatory budget” project resulting from the Student and Campus Life Contribution (CVEC), or a working group made up of students has launched the implementation of a policy to take account of sexist and sexual violence.” They are really everyday collaborators, whether the elected representatives or the members of the BDE.
A matter of confidence and means
The means at their disposal are mainly in budgets allocations from the Region Hauts-de-France, the Sorbonne University cluster, or the CVEC (see above). Thus, the students have access to a large number of student jobs within UTC every year and in particular, for the last year, to both methodological and pedagogical tutoring, by and for the students, with the help of the Regional authorities. Depending on the subject, the work is carried out with the preventive medicine service, the logistics service, or other services of the UTC. “We created a student campus life office a little over two years ago, just before the start of the pandemic, with administrative staff. The aim is that each student can find help to orientate themselves with whom to contact for a certain question, how to apply for a student job. We hope that this office will be operational at the start of the new school year,” Véronique Hédou has also created a section in the ENT entitled “Students: need some help?”, so that students can easily find help when faced with a problem, be it psychological, financial or something else “These are just a few examples, but it takes a lot of time. That’s why I regularly call on a project manager to help me, in addition to the person in the student life campus office. I hope to be able to hire her part-time soon, as the number of projects is growing.”
“Life goes on, after and outside the class-room!”
Véronique Hédou’s main goal is to improve student campus life for all UTC students, so that no one is left out. “To make sure that they can find solutions to their problems and develop themselves in parallel with their studies because, as the BDE reminds us, there is a life after and outside the class-room!” This provides them with a framework that is more conducive to their studies and personal development. Some actions respond directly to a request from them, others are designed to help them without them necessarily being convinced at the outset, such as limiting the degree of beer at parties. “She is sometimes called the ‘student’s mother’. Thanks to her, we have a rich student life at UTC,” assures Pierre Kidzié, 22 years old, student in Urban Engineering. “She has a good memory and an unfailing commitment. She answers our questions 24/24.” We would need a complete Interactions magazine to relate all that Véronique Hédou brings to UTC student life.
New projects are born every year, such as Imaginarium, a music festival that brought together 13 000 people over two days in 2019, run entirely by students. “Accompanying them from the beginning of the idea to the realisation of the project is always a real pleasure. They are so inventive that there is never a dull moment! This year, we hope to see the festival return on June 4 and 5. We also hope to see Compiègne in the spotlight again, Festupic enchanting us with its street walk and shows at the Espace Jean-Legendre, and to finally see the innovative solidarity grocery shop move to new premises. Let’s continue to give coherence to student life as a whole with human and financial support to carry out projects,” concludes Véronique Hédou. “And, above all, let our students no longer be muzzled and confined in a cage because of the health crisis and let them enjoy their youth.”