She works for the cause, not for the appreciation. She is not able to swich off, always looks for the missing links, and sets them together. Her determination, endurance, power and dynamism rubs off the students very quickly. With her outstanding personality, problem-solving and creative attitude, taking care of the students’ cases, and helpful character Judit Hegedűs has quickly become well-known among the students. She is the director of the EOK Building (Basic Medical Science Center), so it is not her responsibility to keep contact with the students. This is why it is so special, that this year at the Semmelweis University Opening Ceremony the Congress Delegates of Semmelweis University Students’ Union awarded her with the Pro Iuventute Universitatis award. This was the first time when such a person was awarded, who earned this without being a member of the educational staff of the University. László Kósa, prezident of the Students’ Union spoke of Ms. Hegedűs in high terms, who always stands for the new possibilities to come true, like developing the EOK, or students’ employment within the University, increasing sports activities, advertising healthy lifestyle, or bridging the gap between different faculties or institutes, or between students and educational staff. Besides all these merits the representatives of the Students’ Union especially awarded her outstanding cooperation with the students.
This honorable award seems unconventional, because before your appearance the students did not have any contact with leaders like you are, who is not a lecturer. How do you remember the beginnings?
Four years ago the Students’ Union has organized the „Medikus Kupa”, while in 2016 the the president and some other leaders from the Budapest Medical Students’ Association asked for my assistance regarding the organization of Health Competition. As the final of the 1st Semmelweis Health Competition was organized in the EOK, the preparations, the budget planning, and the organizational activities irrevocably set us together in everyday life too. Unfortunately I was not able to take part in the first final, but the success made me very happy. In return for the results of our cooperation, at the beginning of the next academic year the General Assembly of the Budapest Medical Students’ Association elected me as Honorary Member. I was touched, wondering and surprised when I become aware of this. Those people, who work with me – students, or colleagues – know, that I indicate this membership in my official business card, I am really proud of being a member of this association. By the way this prestigious honour was also given to Rector Béla Merkely and Dean László Hunyady at the same time. Since then we have had countless achievements, which made our University life much better.
How do you see the secret of your common success?
Working together with the students proves and strengthens everything, that can be solved only with the power of the community. I believe in the success of the community, and that our goals can easily be reached together, and also think that realizing failures in time drives us to the right direction, and I know that we would not be here without our students. Mutual trust is the principle of everything. It is not unusual that student of other faculties also ask for my assistance. My door is open for everybody, and I am particularly pleased, that the students found it. This way they gave me a chance to work together for our University.
Which of your cooperational success would you highlight?
We manage a statisfaction survey among the colleagues and the students twice a year in the EOK. Until 2015 there was no, or nearly no feedback from the students. I was thinking a lot about the reason of this. There is only a few meeting point between the operational staff and the students. The big break was when I involved the students, and asked them to take seriously the results of the survey, because accordig to their feedback we can improve the services of the building. So this way we implemented the 24 hours service of the library, and we realized, that not everyone uses the restaurant services, so for them we installed microwave ovens, and so on. I consider it very important, that the students’ opinion must be heard, but not only when we make the surveys. This is why I always involve them into the operational meetings of the facility, I give them the right to deliver their opinion.
Providing equality is also very important for me. I pay special attention to the safety of wheelcahir users, and not only within the building, but with monitoring the walkways leading to our building too.
As we are talking about medical students, you put an emphasis on supporting the conditions of healthy lifestile.
Last year we created the „Healthy EOK” program, that continues in the new academic year. We plan regular and occasionally organized programs, to help our university citizens to live a healthy life. The realization happens with the help and work of the students. I remember well, when the beginning of the last exam period they visited me and asked me to install a darts board. I said yes immediately, with the accurate safety conditions. In the summer we extended the available sport facilities in the lobby with table-tennis tables and table soccer, to blow off steam with sports.
Without the help of students we would not be able to implement the „Semmelweis Diákszövetkezet” (work-distributing agency for students – the editor), that came true after checking 1600 students’ opinion.
How can you meet the expectations with all these different requirements?
Our work is a so-called bridge-building. This is a service, that makes connection between the university citizens, like lecturers, researchers, clinical staff and naturally students. We believe, that there are no problems, only tasks to be solved, and these are challenges for us.
In the past days a lot of people congratulated you on receiving the award. How do you feel about it?
This is a great happiness to get an award, this is sure. I was really toutched, when I read the email from the president of the Students’ Union, when he informed me about their decision. I have to admit, I read it three times, because I was looking for the task waiting for solution. It is a great honor to get the Pro Iuventute Universitatis award at the most significant event of our University, at the Opening Ceremony. Getting this award means for me, that a new and exciting project is about to start, like a new semester. The students can rely on me and my altruistic and continuous job just like before.
English translation: Gyöngyi Pusztai, Anna Szilágyi
Original text: Katalin Tarnóczy-Tóth
Photo: Semmelweis University – Attila Kovács; Katalin Incze