A successor to the Wageningen student union may be about to emerge. A group of enthusiasts, led by BSc student Emma Diederiks, is working on setting up a new organization for defending student interests.
In May last year, the student of Biotechnology narrowly missed gaining a seat on the student council. But that did not dampen her political interest, she says. ‘In the runup to the elections you get a good idea of what is going on in the university. But I also saw lots of issues that the student council cannot tackled because they lie outside the university’s jurisdiction. Things like housing, for instance, or facilities in Wageningen.’ A few years ago the student union WSO bit the dust, and its successor Pulse was short-lived. Since then Wageningen has lacked an organization that stands up for students’ interests outside university matters. Emma: ‘I asked around in my network and it appeared there was a real need there.’
Emma, who is a member of student society SSR-W, was quickly able to gather a group of like-minded people around her. She has now forged links with the national student union LSVb and ex-members of WSO. The initiators will now set about inventorying the main problems they see, such as the shortage of student housing. The students would also like to see improved relations with Wageningen town council and they will look into the possibilities for starting a Wageningen legal aid desk.
They expect to have a plan ready by the end of the summer. Emma: ‘The working title we have chosen for now is Student Interests Wageningen. We don’t know whether we want to come under the category ‘union’. That carries a certain image, of leftwing students who protest against everything and have bad relations with the student societies.’ The group says it has good relations with the student societies, because students from the working group are at SSR-W, have served on a student society board, or have been active in Aiesec. Emma emphasizes that the lobby organization is for all Wageningen students, including those at Van Hall Larenstein and Stoas.
Students with good ideas or who would like to get involved can get in touch through the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.