1. What does IVSA stand for?
IVSA stands for the International Veterinary Students’ Association.
We are a not-for-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) run by volunteer veterinary students from around the world. Our aim is to improve the standard of veterinary education internationally through the exchange of ideas, knowledge and culture. All operations and activities run by IVSA are pointed at this goal and conducted by the constitution and bylaws which are built and regulated by the IVSA General Assembly.
Our mission is: “To benefit the animals and people of the world“.
2. What exactly does IVSA do on a local scale?
Every veterinary faculty around the world has the opportunity to start their own Member Organisation (MO). Thus, students from these faculties can apply to be a member of IVSA in a local setting by applying through their local MO. An MO consists of a variable amount of people. In general, there would be a President, Senior Exchange Officer (EO) and Junior EO, but there may be more or less people involved, as this is up to the MO itself. These local MO’s can organise:
● Local events such as lectures, workshops, fundraisers
● Group and individual exchanges
○ Group exchanges give students the chance to meet other veterinary students from another country, see their faculty and learn more about their culture.
○ Individual exchanges are based on a learning experience for a single student abroad (for example, an internship in a veterinary practice or in a lab).
Other than the MO, there can be local Ambassadors for certain veterinary topics such as One Health (Local Veterinary Public Health Officer, LVPHO), Animal Welfare (AW ambassador) and Education (SCOVE ambassador).
3. What does IVSA do on a global scale?
The IVSA has various projects in the global context. We represent veterinary students from all around the world. We are always trying to reach more students by attending international meetings and events to present IVSA and our projects to potential partners and members. We do not only work with students, but also with several international veterinary associations, to ensure that our students are up to date and are involved directly in all matters regarding the veterinary profession.
There are currently 5 Standing Committees:
● Standing Committee on One Health (SCOH)
● Standing Committee on Veterinary Education (SCoVE)
● Standing Committee on Wellness (SCOW)
● Standing Committee on Animal Welfare (SCAW)
● Ad-Hoc Committee on Collaboration with Global Health Organisations (AHCCGHO)
and 2 Working Groups within IVSA (which are all voluntarily run by students):
● Working Group on Alumni
● Working Group on Policies
You can read more about these Committees and Working Groups on our website; http://www.ivsa.org/standing-committees/.
Besides these committees and working groups, IVSA has 2 active Funds:
1. Development Fund (DF): The aim and purpose of the DF is to provide support and resources to developing veterinary schools in underprivileged countries.
2. Scholarship Fund (SF), which is divided in 3 separate funds:
a. Membership Fee Fund (MFF): The purpose of this fund is to financially support Member Organizations who struggle to pay their membership fee and to continue to be IVSA members.
b. MAH Europe Scholarship: Every year, two students from Europe are offered a scholarship to do an internship abroad by Merck Animal Health (MAH). We are working hard to set up more scholarships that will be available to students worldwide, and not just Europe.
c. Reduced Fee Fund: The organizing committees of the annual IVSA Symposia and Congresses offer one or two reduced fee spots for those events. Through IVSA, we offer additional reduced fee spots.
The money for these funds are raised during IVSA events such as auctions held during the Congresses and Symposia, as well as through donations from our partners and sponsors.
4. How many countries are involved in IVSA?
As of this date (4th April 2016), there are 60 countries and 2 ‘super-national organizations’ in IVSA. However, some countries have more than one Member Organization (MO), since every veterinary faculty can apply for their own MO. Thus, there are more than 62 MOs in IVSA. The super-national organizations are UK & Ireland and SAVMA & Grenada. SAVMA is an acronym for the Student American Veterinary Medical Association.
These 62 countries include the MOs that are inactive, which means that they have not paid their fees to IVSA Global for one or more term. ‘Candidate’ active members (no voting rights), who will need to attend a General Assembly in full to become a ‘full’ active member (with voting rights), are also included in this number.
You can see the up-to-date list of countries and their MO’s on our website, at: http://www.ivsa.org/members/where-we-are/
5. How can I become a member of IVSA?
IVSA is a membership-based organization. To participate in IVSA activities or projects, you must be either part of a Member Organization, an Individual Supportive Member, or an Honorary Life Member. All members have the right to participate in the activities of IVSA, receive information about and have access to the publications of IVSA, and speak at the General Assembly (GA). Only Member Organizations have the right to vote at IVSA General Assemblies.
To establish an MO, you will need to form a group of at least 3 students. You would then fill in the application form that is available on the website. Then, you would need to download the PowerPoint template and create your own presentation for your MO. This presentation has to be sent in before the deadline stipulated. The presentation is shown at the GA, and the GA will vote on this application. For the membership amount, you will need to send an email to the treasurer with the number of members you have and your GDP factor.
When all of the above is completed and the GA approves your application, you will receive your membership certificate.
For more information on this, visit: http://www.ivsa.org/members/become-a-member/
6. How can I help my local MO with regards to sponsorship?
Sponsorship varies depending on the event, the location of the event, sponsor proximity to the event, number of attendees, amount needed, etc. So unfortunately, there is no short answer to this question. There is one consistent thing that is important when it comes to finding a sponsor; the sponsors have to recognize the value of investment to them (return on investment) if they choose to sponsor an MO. Thus, think about what your MO could offer a sponsor: verbal acknowledgement; a list of attendee contact information; advertisement of the company on an itinerary, through a presentation, or via banners; potential student interns; etc.
Besides this, your MO can fundraise. You can organise (local) events to gather money for your own MO or for IVSA Global. Think about an auction, selling IVSA merchandise, bake sales etc.
7. What are the main IVSA events?
There are two main IVSA events held on a global scale annually, the IVSA Congress (which is held in summer) and the IVSA Symposium (which is held in the winter). Every student that is part of an active MO can apply for these events. The main purpose of these events is to have a General Assembly (GA). The GA consists of delegates who are representing their MO. The GA has important functions such as:
● Building and regulating the IVSA constitution and bylaws
● Electing our Executive Committee
● Electing the Secretariat and Trust
● Voting on the next location of Congress or Symposium
At each meeting there are also cultural events, the IVSA development fund auction, various lectures and workshops, and lively networking among future vets from all around the world.
Other than the Congress and Symposium, several regional events have been organized, such as the IVSA Asian Conference and the SAVMA Symposium that focus on gathering international veterinary students from specific regions of the world.
8. I can’t afford to go to Congress/Symposium, why should I be involved with IVSA?
If you can’t afford to attend a global event, you can apply for a reduced fee spot for these events. There will be a few (the amount of spots depends on the amount of commission/support we receive from sponsors) reduced fee spots available for each IVSA Congress or Symposium for students who cannot afford to attend these events without financial support.
If this won’t help you either, you can still be active in IVSA on a local scale! This can be either within your own MO, by organizing local IVSA events or exchanges, and by promoting all the resources and projects offered through IVSA. Or, if you want to be active on a global scale, you could, for example, be part of a Committee or Working Group. You do not have to be able to attend the IVSA Congress or Symposium in order to apply as a member for a Committee or Working Group.
Finally, IVSA has the opportunity for students to apply for the MAH Europe Scholarship.
9. How can becoming involved with IVSA help me with my future professional career?
Whether you have any international ambitions or not, being involved with IVSA can be a good way to help you with your professional career. Working together with other veterinary students will allow you to explore your interests and capabilities. Projects such as organizing events or exchanges can, for example, improve your planning, organizational, and social skills.
If you are interested in working internationally, IVSA can give you access to an enormous amount of people in the veterinary field and beyond. The General Assembly gives you a good example of the way other international organizations work, and how they are regulated.
10. Could I be part of ExCo or a Committee? Are there any specific skills that I need to have?
Any IVSA member can be part of the ExCo or a Committee. There are no specific rules as to what skills you need to have to be able to apply. However, you need to be able to work together in a team with other students. The main language of IVSA is English, so a certain level of proficiency in English speaking and writing is required. Other than that, there may be deadlines or tasks that should be conducted within a certain timeframe, so it would be useful if you are able to plan your tasks and stick to your plans. Last but not least, motivation! If you have any good ideas, are motivated and willing to work in an international setting with other veterinary students, you can most definitely apply! If you are motivated, you are already halfway there. There is a lot you will learn along the way, but nobody can teach you to be motivated.
11. How do you get to be a part of ExCo or a Committee?
The ExCo and Committee/Working Group Chairs are elected during Congress. The President is elected at Symposium. You can apply for these positions during these events, but you do not necessarily have to be present at the event itself. However, every nominee gets the chance to introduce himself/herself and explain why he/she wants to be in this position. Therefore, it would be useful if you could submit a video or motivation letter if you are unable to attend the event.
To be a Committee and Working Group member, you can apply during a separate application period, after the Congress. Selection is based on your motivation to join the Committee or Working Group.