Student union AKKU represents the interests of students in Nijmegen on the RU and the HAN. Founded in 1981 as the 'Aktie Komitee Critical University', AKKU has consistently worked for the student in higher education in the years afterwards, with as three main policy areas education, housing and sustainability. In 2001, AKKU underwent a major reorganisation, introducing the AKKU news, among others. This was a nod to the university newspaper "KUnieuws" recently dissolved at the time. Today, AKKU is bigger than ever before and has grown in many areas and policy areas. AKKUduurzaam, the Legal Shop and the Training Bureau are also part of AKKU. Akku is also represented in the participation by AKKUraatd (on the RU) and LijstAKKU (on the HAN).
Below is a chronological overview
In the early 1990s, there were again long-term occupations of university buildings. In 1990, an occupation of one and a half weeks ended in public negotiations with the university board on student participation. That academic year of Nijmeegse students also participated in massive protests against the Education Minister Jo Ritzen. Among other things, with a column of 30 buses from the campus towards the Haagse Binnenhof. The AKKU board then included the later LSVb chairman René Danen.
In the course of the 1990s, the support of Nijmeegse students for AKKU decreased. Their view changed with the zeitgeist, while AKKU remained radically in favour of basic democracy, social equality and emancipation.
In 1994, student union AKKU, together with the Cooperation Consultation Of Faculty Associations (SOFv), study association Milieuprisma, the Progressive Student Group, the Nijmeegse Studenten and Jongeren Milieu Overleg, founded the University Environment Platform (UMP). It soon became apparent that AKKU was the only organisation to actively work for the UMP, making the UMP a full part of AKKU. Later, the UMP was transformed into the current AKKUduurzaam.
In 2001, AKKU underwent a major reorganization. The chamber office and the copy service were abolished, giving the board more time for advocacy. From that moment on, students' support for akku's course began to increase again, although the membership peaked considerably. AKKU actively came out with the newspaper AKKUnieuws, whose name was a nod to the recently dissolved university newspaper KUnieuws.
In 2002, AKKU gave up its 'umbrella seat' as a student advocacy in the university student council – because it felt that that seat was too little democratically legitimised – and has since participated in the open elections for the student council with the group AKKUraatd. The group grew from one seat in 2002, through three seats in 2003, 4 seats in 2005, 5 seats in 2007 and 6 seats in 2009.
Also in 2002 AKKU, together with the National Student Union, was the driving force behind the largest student demonstration in ten years. On 12 November, 12,000 students gathered on the museum square in Amsterdam against the plans of deputy State Secretary Annette Nijs for substantial cuts, and to prevent Dutch higher education from being used in an international trading game. The appointment of this Secretary of State did not last long.
In the summer of 2003, AKKU moved from the Thomas van Aquinostraat to the Gymnasion, The move did not go without a fight: AKKU once agreed to the move when it was promised that the Heyendaalseweg would make way for a square that would make it bustling the campus's centerpiece. A corner of the campus overlooking a concrete wall, with no power in the first week, and in the first month no internet, that promise didn't really come true. A short occupation action of the old office caused some haste with the electricity and the Internet. But the concrete wall and the corner remained.
Not only as far as the student council is concerned, AKKU has jumped into independence. In 2007, AKKU decided that it no longer wanted to rely annually on subsidy provider SNUF, because it interfered too much with the policy. In five years, the annual subsidy has been reduced to zero. SNUF now only supports AKKU with an office building, for all the other AKKU well from contribution, project grants, sponsorship and donations.
In 2006, the plan had already been developed for the creation of Rental Teams in Nijmegen. After a few years of good ideas on paper, it really came about in 2009, and AKKU founded with a substantial subsidy from the municipality of Nijmegen, the Stichting Huurteams Nijmegen]. In the beginning she housed in akku's office, but nowadays they are based at the University Business Center.
In 2009, AKKU founded the training agency. Since then, AKKU has given training to study associations, participation, individual students and of course to themselves. Before that, AKKU's active members did so sometimes, but now it was organized, institutionalized and streamlined. Slowly but surely it also started to deliver a small extra penny.
Was it just haunted about a demonstration of 12,000 students? In 2011, State Secretary Halbe Zijlstra wanted to introduce a €3000 fine for students who spent more than one year on their studies – and also apply to current students. The demonstration of 2002 was therefore in the shadow of the massive demonstration of 21 January, against this Halbe levy. 20,000 students gathered on the malieveld for the joeling of State Secretary Halbe Zijlstra – who was also birthday that day.
Since 2011, a lot has happened. For example, Stichting Vrienden van AKKU was founded, a foundation dedicated to akku's donor policy.
Want to know more about akku's heroic history? Come to the office once and while enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea, the whole epic will come at you.