Organisation - September 19, 2019

'The opening of the academic year should be a party for everyone'


Monday September second the annual opening of the academic year took place. Always a party at WUR, but not for everyone, claim three colleagues who wrote a letter about this for Resource. And: there is a solution, they say.

A musical intermezzo at the opening of the academic year 2019.
Photo Jonne Seijdel

It’s party time at WUR every year on the first Monday of September: the opening of the academic year. For everyone, that is, who doesn’t have to be in class on that day. For those who have to teach or be taught, it’s just a nuisance.

The academic year opening takes place in WUR’s largest teaching space, the Waaierzaal in Orion. That affects classes, which also start on the first Monday in September. Scope for giving an introductory lecture in a large lecture room is limited because the Waaierzaal is occupied. This means splitting up groups and having several teachers cover the same ground at the same time. Sometimes fewer classes are timetabled, or the Chemistry Building on the Dreijen is used. First-year students who are not familiar with this deserted compound, some of whom don’t have a room or a bike yet, are expected to turn up at 8:20 at a place that is hard to reach by public transport. Welcome to WUR.

There is a shortage of teaching accommodation at WUR. Until the third education building is finished, this requires us all to be flexible. We get that. But at the moment, it is primarily teachers and students who are forced to be flexible. What’s happened to flexibility on the part of the management?

To our minds, moving the opening of the academic year is a simple way of solving the above-mentioned problems. Move the ceremony to the Friday before Week One. That would be unique in the Netherlands, so it would get more media attention, the Waaierzaal could be used for classes as usual on the Monday, teachers and students could attend – and the drinks after the event will even go down better on a Friday afternoon.

Maurice Franssen, Hendra Willemen, and Tjerk Sminia, teachers of Organic Chemistry

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  • Dick Verduin

    Uitstekend idee. Had het bestuur bijna zelf kunnen bedenken! ;>)