Johanna Svensson

“I’m constantly powered by the drive to develop and improve” 

As president of the student union, Johanna Svensson’s working week is a lot longer than the standard 40 hours. But she doesn’t regard putting a lot of time into her work as a disadvantage, on the contrary she sees it as a great opportunity to join in and influence and make changes on behalf of the some 11 000 students reading at Chalmers.

When Johanna began her studies in 2008, she had little notion of working for the student union or of, as a student, becoming president. That interest arose later. During a normal working day Johanna represents the students in meetings with the president, with the management group, the board and the student union management. Issues can be about anything from student environment and development of courses to the number of study places and how the university should go about making students still more attractive to employers.

Johanna was born and bred in Bredaryd in the province of Småland. At school she had a friend whose father was a Chalmers student and an engineer. He had managed companies, worked with sales and done a lot of other things people might not imagine an engineer can do. Before Johanna was accepted at Chalmers, she had visited Göteborg several times and grown to like the city. It was important to experience student life, but also live a normal life outside the university, a requirement easy to meet in a city like Göteborg.

How many hours a week do you put into the student union?
We work normal office hours, but there are courses we need to attend and evening meetings because the students cannot have meetings during the day. This entails a lot of voluntary work, but I was expecting that. My ambition is to constantly develop and improve everything that touches on student life.

What is you most memorable moment from Chalmers?
Welcoming all 2400 new, expectant students at Götaplatsen when the term started in late August 2013.

You are chairperson of the student union and your first application was accepted, have you met any setbacks in your career?
2011 I had a summer job with a consultancy, but I wasn’t asked to stay on. They thought I was too young and should try other things before I decided on a career. Looking at it now, that was really no setback. It resulted in my being where I am now and to my job as chairperson of the student union.

NAME: Johanna Svensson, president of Chalmers student union 13/14 
EDUCATION AT CHALMERS: Studying Industrial Economics

Published: Wed 12 Feb 2014.