Student - April 30, 2015

Elections student council: S & I

Koen Guiking,Linda van der Nat

Between 18 May and 22 May are the student council elections. The German Anna Walther, bachelor student Molecular life sciences, is party leader for Sustainability & Internationalization (S&I) at the upcoming student council elections. Resource asked her four questions.

What are to S&I the most important themes?

We think that Wageningen has an example position in the context of sustainability. The university is already working on it, but it could improve. We would also like to involve students with this theme, that is the reason why we work together with the green organizations of Wageningen, such as Green Office and Wageningen Environmental Platform.

Another important spearhead is strengthening the international society within Wageningen. We find it very unfortunate  that international and Dutch students are still two different groups, while a multicultural city like Wageningen offers the possibility for a dialogue.

What will be your most important achievement in 2015/2016?

First, I would like to improve the visibility of the student council and by doing so bringing more democracy to the campus. Although our university is already quite transparent, it still requires some effort to keep abreast of important decisions within the university. That is the reason why I would like to have more ‘open office days’, open debates and discussions and information evenings about the events in the student council.

Besides, I would like to improve the medical care for students in Wageningen. At this time there are only three general practitioners which have to take care of all 10.000 students of Wageningen. The Dutch standard is actually 3 GP’s per 1000 inhabitants. Moreover, the language barrier makes it difficult for international students to ask help from a doctor.

And - last but not least - I would be happy to work on an affordable, diverse and sustainable catering on the campus. Given the fact that Wageningen is the center of the Food Valley and even offers study programs on nutrition, I believe that healthy and affordable food for all students should also be available on campus.

What is your personal motivation to join the student council for a year?

The student council in Wageningen is to me one of the most important parts of our university, because this way students can be involved in choices and decisions within the university. I find this very important. Wageningen became a real ‘home’ to me and I want to ensure that future students have the same experience.

Are you satisfied with how the participation at Wageningen UR is regulated?

I definitely think Wageningen is one of the better democratic universities in terms of participation. But there are areas of improvement: the communication between government, student council and students is sometimes quite slow, whereby many students have little understanding of the events and decisions at the university. In this way participation is obviously very difficult, because without information students cannot form an opinion about what is happening on their campus and thus become easily frustrated. I think that both administration and student council can work on this.

Prior to the election Resource interviews the party leaders of the three participating parties. Also read the interviews with Nick van Nispen of Veste and Wiard Ligterink of CSF.

Re:actions 2

  • Mike

    It sounds great at first sight but it's a totally unrealistic story. It seems that Anna does not know anything about the Dutch medical care system, the Wageningen way of participation and the role a Student Council should play at our university. The S&I points mentioned in this interview are more suitable for a leftist student union but not for the Student Council.

  • Marjo Lina

    Sounds great! you got my vote.
    About the medical stuff, I actually managed to get signed to a normal docter here in Wageningen and very happy about that (by lying about being a student :p) I hear only bad stories about the studentdocters, like they never pick up the phone and give very weird advices. So I think you should definitely keep that point in.

    About the catering, the one in Leeuwenboarch is really good, cheap and sustainable! They should do the whole campus if you ask me.

    Anyhow, good luck!


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  • Douwe van der Leest

    Ik wilde even reageren op de reactie van x 30 april 2015 10:22:36. Misschien dat x mijn reactie nooit zal lezen, maar toekomstige lezers die op deze website stuiten ongetwijfeld wel.

    Ik ben het niet (volledig) eens met de opmerking over dat buitenlandse studenten gewoon teleurgesteld zijn dat we hier in Nederland niet bij elk hoestje of kuchje een dokter laten komen die vervolgens een antibioticakuur uitschrijft.

    Ik kan me voorstellen dat er studenten zijn die er zo tegenaan kijken. Maar de buitenlandse studenten die ik ken (toegegeven dat het maar een handje vol studenten is) steken alles behalve zo in elkaar. Een daarvan ging bijvoorbeeld pas naar de huisarts toen ze sterk ontwikkelde gordelroos had (ter beeldvorming, dit veroorzaakt rode pijnlijke vlekken op een lichaamshelft en tast je zenuwen aan waardoor je een prikkelend of zelfs pijnlijkgevoel net onder je huid hebt zelfs als de vlekken weg zijn). Een ander is tot nu toe nog nooit bij de studentenarts geweest, ondanks dat ze toch al regelmatig verkouden is geweest of griep had. Met andere woorden, ook zij ontspringt aan je stelling dat ze bij ieder kuchje een antibioticumkuur zou willen. Sorry als ik je stelling te letterlijk opvat, maar ik kan enkel reageren op wat ik lees, niet op wat je denkt.

    Verder ben ik het er wel mee eens dat het aantal huisartsen per student niet echt een onderdeel zou moeten zijn van een studentenraad.

    Waar ik wel benieuwd naar ben zijn welke activiteiten S&I samen met de groene organisaties van Wageningen, zoals Green Office en Wageningen Environmental Platform tot nu toe heeft georganiseerd. Ook ben ik benieuwd of ik ergens informatie kan vinden over de eerstvolgende 'open office dagen', open debatten, discussies en/of informatieavonden over de gebeurtenissen in de studentenraad? Wat wordt er momenteel gedaan om de communicatie tussen bestuur, studentenraad en studenten te verbeteren?

    • Anne Walther

      Dear Douwe,

      Firstly, I'll react in English so that Internationals can also read and react to the comments.

      Concerning the practitioners and doctors in Wageningen. Wageningen UR does not have an official student doctor anymore, but states that "The General Practitioners for Wageningen University students are R. van der Duin and S. van Dinther". That same website ( states that "For treatment of illnesses such as bronchitis or bladder infection, students should consult a general practitioner". This means that there are two official doctors for the WUR where students should go to when they're sick - even if it's a cough (which is often Bronchitis). I know from many students that they have had serious issues with these doctors, ranging from people with infected teeth that were sent home with the advise to "take a couple of Paracetamol and see if it still hurts next week" to a student who noticed that her doctor was googling the symptoms they described and students who always immediately plan two to three appointments because they are aware that they will get no serious treatment at their first appointment. It is complaints like that, that a Student Council should react on. Even more, the university wants to put more focus on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), of which health is a part. It is true that students can choose another practitioner, but there are a lot of students who claim that they have not been accepted by a doctor because they were students. I feel like the Student Council should take those things seriously - and we do. We have started some research about these issues and hope to be able to address them.

      Concerning your question about activities - there are lots of them!
      As S&I, we are active part of Wageningen Green Active, the collective of all sustainability organizations. As such, we are taking part with two activities during Green Office's Seriously Sustainable Festival next week (with a Insect BBQ/Wormhotel Workshop on Wednesday and a volunteers market on Thursday). We have also planned a Student Cooking Corner. In addition, we have regular meetings and discussions with all green organizations (RUW, WEP, Green Office, Boerengroep, Fossil Free, Humble Harvest, FoodSharing, Creative Garden, IBBESS). With Fossil Free, we are planning a screening of Naomi Klein's "This changes everything" at Movie W. To the new university project "The Field", we are going to donate the wormhotels we will build next Wednesday at the workshop. In addition, we have planned a second-hand-clothes-market to raise money for refugees together with the Amnesty International student group.
      Being in the Promotion Committee of the Student Council, I can also give you some information about e.g. Open Office Days. They are currently planned to take place in November and May. We will broaden them by also including a "Student Council Walk-In Museum" (but this is still a surprise, so I won't say too much). We also have planned regular elevator questions about Student Council related issues and a "visibility" event around Halloween. We are furthermore working on a new Flyer, a better strategy for our social media and have also initiated a Student Council PR team that includes all parties and is working on general PR strategies for the Student Council.

      As you can see, we are doing our best to increase the Student Council's visibility - a strategy that will hopefully create more interest in the Student Council and the developments at our university.

      I hope I could answer your questions adequately. You can also always contact the Student Council if you have any more questions!

    • Douwe van der Leest

      Dear Anne,

      Thank you for mentioning the language in which I was writing! I completely forgot that Internationals could also read and react to my comments. Therefore I will respond in English as well.

      Concerning the practitioners and doctors in Wageningen. The situation you are sketching seems quite bad to me indeed. The way you sketch it actually makes me wonder why we still have student GP's. But that's a whole other topic.

      Thank you very much for giving (me) an overview of the activities you are currently organising! Those are indeed quite a lot (awesome sounding) activities. I'll have a look at my agenda whether I could join them. I think it's really cool of you all to promote the Student Council at all sorts of activities, so keep up the good work!

      PS: I thought a response in here was appropriate for future readers, but I have send you an email with my last question for now.

  • Tim

    Mike. What is then your view on the Wageningen way of participation and the role a student council should play? In my humble opinion, Anne 'hits the nail right on its head!' ;)

    WUR does not (yet) aim to be a frontrunner on sustainability, something I value as student, I would like faitrade coffee for example and vegetarian meals (as a choice).

    Also I hear many complains from international students about the medical care, can be caused by a different expectations or a communication issue, but must still be adressed.

    Congratulations Anne, hope to hear a lot from you!

  • F

    Drie huisartsen voor studenten? Dat de WUR er maar reclame maakt voor drie (wat erg slecht is), betekend niet dat ze de enige zijn. Bijna alle huisartsen spreken Engels en mijn internationale vrienden hebben tot nu toe geen moeite gehad om zich ergens anders in te laten schrijven.

    Deze website toont er reeds zestien:

  • GT

    Het enige punt waar ik hier verder 100% mee eens ben, is het punt dat er meer communicatie moet zijn van raad naar studenten. We hebben geen flauw benul wat er geregeld wordt.

    Daarnaast: 'Wageningen moet een voorbeeld zijn in het kader van duurzaamheid' Succes daarmee, want is het dat niet al? De raad moet zich bezig houden met het belang van de student tegenover het universiteitsbestuur; niet met het beleid van de universiteit zelf ten opzichte van bijvoorbeeld duurzaamheid. Kijk en vraag naar problemen die zich nu voordoen en probeer daar een oplossing in te vinden waar de student tevreden mee is en wat in je beleid past.

    Je inzetten voor verschillende 'groene' platformen is wat mij betreft niet de core business die een studentenraad moet hebben.

    • Anne Walther

      Bedankt voor jou reactie!
      De groene organisaties van Wageningen zijn bijna allemaal studentenorganisaties. Gezien wij als studentenraad inderdaad communicatie tussen studenten en bestuur moeten steunen, hoort communicatie met zulke organisaties er ook zeker bij. Daarnaast weet ik uit eigen ervaring, dat de uni niet altijd veel steun biedt voor nieuwe groene initiatieven van studenten.
      En dan heb je natuurlijk nog de studentenhuizen en -flats die zeker ook duurzamer kunnen zijn, wat uiteindelijk (door bijvoorbeeld minder energieverbruik) tot verminderde woonkosten voor de student leidt.
      Duurzaamheid is daarmee zeker niet een van mijn persoonlijke core-thema's, maar wel waar onze partij onder andere voor staat.

  • Anne Walther

    Hoi Rolf, je kunt de data opzoeken op :)

  • Rolf

    3 huisartsen per 1000 inwoners?
    Dat is erg luxe...
    De Landelijke HuisartsenVereniging en Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit hanteren als 'normpraktijk' 1 fulltime werkende huisarts op ~2200 ingeschreven patienten. Dus 3 huisartsen voor ruim 9000 studenten (die minder vaak huisarts nodig hebben dan andere doelgroepen) is niet gek.

    • Anne Walther

      De data is te vinden op: :)

    • Wageningen Student

      Beetje raar punt over de artsen, volgens mij is er hier geen behoefte aan? P

    • Anne Walther

      Dat ligt er geheel aan wie je vraagt natuurlijk.
      Nederlandse studenten hebben inderdaad vaak minder moeite met de artsen in Wageningen. Bij de internationale studenten zit het echter anders. Dit was bijvoorbeeld ook een thema bij de discussie met Louise Fresco in het begin van het jaar.

    • x

      Volgens mij zijn buitenlandse studenten gewoon teleurgesteld dat we hier in Nederland niet bij elk hoestje of kuchje een dokter laten komen die vervolgens een antibiotica kuur uitschrijft. Dat heeft weinig met aantal huisartsen te maken