News - March 11, 2020

'The Student Council is a watchdog defending the interests of students'

Luuk Zegers

The Student Council represents all Wageningen students. So who is on the Council and what do they do there? This week, Resource invites a member of each party to get on the soapboxes. Today: Harm Ligtenberg (22) representing Christian Student Party (CSF)

© Guy Ackermans

‘After my Bachelor’s in Soil, Water and Atmosphere, I didn’t want to go on to a Master’s straightaway. I considered going to live with a host family in Russian to learn the language. I find Russian culture very interesting, with writers such as Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, and composers such as Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. I think we are given a very one-sided picture of Russia in the Netherlands. I thought it would be nice to go there myself and really immerse myself in the culture.’

I decided to postpone my Russian adventure and go on the Student Council.

‘But when I saw that CSF was looking for new candidates, I decided to postpone my Russian adventure and apply for this. I think it’s important for Christian students to have a voice. I like to be a contact person for Christian students with questions. I also do little things like making sure the overview of churches in Wageningen on the WUR site is up-to-date, and organizing a Christmas dinner for international students who stay in Wageningen over Christmas. That doesn’t mean my Christian background is always very obvious: it doesn’t really come into it when we are discussing the issue of the level of English.’

‘The differences between the parties are not that big at a day-to-day level – in the end we are one Student Council. And as such, we have advisory rights on certain matters. We give our opinion, which represents the opinion of the student population as a whole. We also have the right of approval on a lot of dossiers, which means we have to give the green light for the Executive Board’s plans on those topics. That means we can genuinely do something for students by saying: we don’t agree, unless points A, B and C are included in the plan. That’s how the Student Council works as a kind of watchdog defending the interests of students by asking the policymakers critical questions.’

The Student Council
The Student Council (SC) is a central participatory body of Wageningen University. It consists of 12 students, who are elected every year. The SC meets regularly with students, study associations and student associations to collect input. Six times a year, the SC meets with the Executive Board to discuss topics such as mental health, student rights, career preparation and waste reduction on campus. Currently, there are three parties in the Student Council: Sustainability & Internationalization (S&I), United Students (VeSte) and the Christian Student Party (CSF). Interested in running for the Student Council? Contact the party of your interest or, if you prefer running independently, send an e-mail to