7 June 2021

Introducing the AUN Thematic Network Series #10 – AUN-SAN

Noppanun Sookping
AUN Programme Officer;

The AUN Student Affairs Network (AUN-SAN) serves as a platform and channel with the aim to facilitate better integrations between AUN Member Universities in student affairs and activities. It is also a stage for Vice Presidents, Directors, and Dean of Students Affairs of AUN Member Universities to formulate policies and agendas for managing student affairs and student-initiated projects.

The foundation of AUN-SAN stems from the 1st AUN Student Affairs Meeting (AUN SAM) 2015 held at Chulalongkorn University where the ASEAN University Network (AUN) Secretariat had deliberated and jointly agreed on the formation of new operational structure and functions for the association with the aim to develop a new and more efficient networking system, based on the Thematic Network structure that enables associated members to collaborate and monitor all activities planned via socially-enabled web environments. Consequently, AUN Secretariat supported the decision to formulate AUN-SAN as a thematic network to fulfil the role, leading to its official launch in 2016 as endorsed at the 32nd AUN Board of Trustees Meeting 2016 in Phuket, Thailand.

AUN-SAN Secretariat is hosted by Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

AUN-SAN thrives on its role as a platform to collaborate with the Student Affairs body of AUN Member Universities of students in the endeavors to strengthen the integration and operation of student affairs and operation. Its core objectives include:

  • to empower, develop student leadership, as well as enhance related student affairs and governance through Student Affairs body of AUN Member Universities;
  • to monitor, facilitate, and implement policies, projects and activities related to student affairs through a youth-centered approach.

Organization of youth-centered projects, activities and events is AUN-SAN’s main approach to embrace its mission to facilitate student-affairs activities.

ASEAN Student Leaders Forum (ASLF) is a prime example of the youth-centered approach fostered by the thematic network. This forum is deliberated as a platform to involve student leaders from student organisations; as well as related student affairs institutions - from respective AUN Member Universities to discuss the various issues for further cooperation that is deemed to be relevant to them. The expected endgame of this event is to develop leaders among the youth in the ASEAN region, a prudent step in an effort to ensure the bright future of their respective country as well as the whole region.

In parallel with ASLF, the annual AUN-SAN Meeting is established as an internal benchmarking platform. Its purpose revolves mainly around discussions among the student affairs institutions of AUN Member Universities on policy-making and implementation of internal managerial systems. The matters concerned range from the formulation of agendas for student affairs management, the evaluation of incomes and outcomes of implemented events and activities, to the empowerment and development of student leaders through AUN-SAN activities.

AUN ASEAN Experiential Learning (AELP) is another program which exemplifies the nature of AUN-SAN youth-centered approach to support student activities from AUN Member Universities. This  bilannual one week program provides opportunities for university students in ASEAN to experience immersive and out-of-class learning exposure with focus on sociocultural themes through academic and non-academic activities in neighbouring countries in ASEAN. The key activities include field trip, group discussion, and reflection activity. The expected outcomes are for the students to develop new ideas and perspectives based on the knowledge gained during the program and adapt them into the regional context as well as the domestic context of their respective countries.

Since its founding in 2016, AUN-SAN continues to excel in its mission to facilitate student affairs management and activities among AUN Member Universities. Its collaborative organizational body and the organization of several youth-centered activities such as ASLF, AUN-SAN Meeting, and AELP, emphasizes further the capacities of the thematic network to advocate and manage student affairs with related institutions of AUN Universities. With several established activities up its sleeves and many new ones currently in the brewing, AUN-SAN moves forward to ensure that youth development and student affairs activities in ASEAN are in good hands.

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In the next article, we will take a look at AUN-DPPnet, serving as a platform to build a cadre of disability policy leaders who will contribute to the vision of an ASEAN region that is inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based.