Your student years are the great time for making big plans and starting new initiatives. It doesn’t always
work out, but sometimes something big grows out of it. Resource looks back on three projects of the past year. Has anything come of them?
A kind of eBbay specially for vintage clothing. Rummaging through virtual wardrobes and shopping for second-hand – and therefore sustainable – clothes. This is the idea behind UnitedWardrobe.com, which went online in January. The brains behind the site are students Sjuul Berden, Joep Dohmen and Thijs Verheul.
The website got off to a flying start, with more than 7000 users and 1700 articles already having changed hands. An overwhelming success, in their own view. ‘We didn’t know beforehand what to expect, but we will be satisfied with 4000 users in the first year.’ Ten percent of the profit from every sale goes to United Wardrobe. ‘But we haven’t earned anything yet,’ says Thijs. ‘Everything that comes in we plough back into the site.’ The gentlemen are currently working hard on an app which will come out in a month or two. But the trio is looking further ahead as well. ‘Next year we want to go international,’ says Thijs. ‘We are going to expand into Belgium first. France is a logical next step after that.’ In short, the lads are ambitious and are thinking big. And that is getting harder and harder to combine with their studies. Thijs is doing a minor in Amsterdam but will soon be moving to Utrecht to work fulltime on United Wardrobe. Sjuul and Joep are hoping to round off their Bachelor’s degrees around Christmas. ‘After that we’ll be focusing fully on the website.’
At the beginning of this academic year, the PopUpClub burst onto the Wageningen nightlife scene. This tried and trusted international concept of temporary catering outlets in empty buildings caught on.
In former café De Overkant, PopUpClub Wageningen laid on a full programme from September to January, with a student night every Thursday, a live band on Fridays, a night club on Saturday, and Sundays to get over your hangover. Things have calmed down now, says initiator Joris Soeter. ‘But the PopUpClub is here to stay. We really meet a need; you could see that all over the place.’ Pop Up is a creative way of putting empty premises to use. Locations are used for a short while, usually for a low rent. ‘It is really up-to-the-minute,’ says Joris. He aims for reuse, citizen participation and a facilitating role for the town council and the university. Although it is a very small group taking the lead, Joris knows that a lot of people are involved. ‘When we were in the Overkant, we had 15 people in employment and nearly 50 other volunteers.’ He expects the same enthusiasm again for new projects. Like PopUp Beach this summer, a beach club on the terrace at Het Gat. Or the indoor location next winter. But the programme won’t be as intensive as last year, says Joris. ‘I’m thinking more in terms of one-off events at different locations.’
Buy your food direct from the producer without expensive intermediaries and with a better price for both producer and consumer. Wageningen students Pim Meurs and Marc Lammers launched their website socialfoodmarket.nl over a year ago.
‘We are growing slowly but surely,’ says Pim Meurs. ‘It is not as easy as we thought it would be. People think our concept is great but they are not finding us.’ Their findability on Google is an issue. ‘If we want to come high up in the results it costs money,’ says Pim. Nevertheless, there are now about 80 suppliers on the site and a couple of hundred visitors per week. Marc has now started on his MSc thesis, so he does not have much time to spare. But Peter sees it as a spare time activity too. His studies get priority. In order to become better known, the pair focus on promotion such as at markets. Their aim is to be a starting place for good, fair food in the Netherlands. Earning money is certainly not their prime goal. ‘We don’t earn anything from individuals who bake cakes, but they are welcome to use our site as a kind of eBay,’ says Pim.