The Wageningen Students Organization has been fighting education cuts and accommodation shortages for almost 50 years. The problems are bigger than ever, yet the WSO is throwing in the towel. Why? The board cannot find anyone willing to take over. Doesn't anyone want to roll up their sleeves? We asked some Wageningen students: why don't you join the WSO board?
Fifth year, Biology and Forest & Nature Policy (two MSc degrees)
'The WSO? A bunch of hippies who do get some useful work done. If there was more support from students, it would be possible to make more of it. I think that most students don't know what the WSO does. I was planning to join this year, but I don't have time to be active in the WSO; you can't do everything. I am already active in Biologica, I am on the OWI board, I work as a student assistant and I also want to graduate one day. Those are the things that really matter to me.'
Third year, Applied Communications Science
'Fulltime? I'd rather not. I haven't seen an advert for new board members; otherwise I would have considered it. But actually the WSO board doesn't strike me as a challenge at all. All I know about them is that they have an office in a messy building. They seem amateurish to me.'
Third year, International Land and Water Management
'It is a great pity that there isn't a student union any more. No organ left that represents students without being under the university's influence. A bit of activism is part of student life. I have rented delivery bikes from them and they have a useful accommodation desk. I've been a member for years. This is a direct result of the government's policy. It is a bad business that the WSO is the first to go under.'
Third year, International land and Water Management
'I always read the Toiletpaper. It is good to have a party that represents students and it is a pity they are stopping. A position on the WSO board is not my thing. I have no idea what you are supposed to do and anyway, it is time-consuming. I am German and I don't want to make my parents pay tuition fees when I am not studying.'
Fifth year, Molecular Life Sciences
'I had dealings with the WSO when I was on the board of my study association. I know them through reserving the big hall in the Arion building, the delivery bike and a few other practical matters. I joined in my first year but not after that. Didn't seem relevant to me. The WSO hasn't made a name for itself and hasn't made it clear what in heaven's name its purpose is. I have already served on a board and the WSO doesn't appeal to me, I still have to finish my degree. I haven't noticed any pressganging. I would have considered taking up a post, though, if I had been asked. But actually doing it is another matter of course.'
Second year, MSc Climate Studies
'I think I have heard of them. They are against government cuts on education. Cutbacks reduce the quality of education and create a situation where only the children of rich parents can study. For others it will be much harder. The WSO does good work by protesting. It is important that good people with a lot of enthusiasm exist. If the WSO dies or collapses, I would make sure it survives. But I don't have much time due to my thesis.'
Fourth year, Food Technoligy
'In the days when you could tick the box when you registered for the academic year, I was always a member, but never after that. Most students don't need the WSO. Personally, I did find the second-hand books quite handy. I was planning to join this year, but in the end I didn't get round to it. It has never occurred to me to go on the WSO board; other committees and boards seem nicer to me.'
Fifth year, Molecular Life Sciences
'I know relatively little about the WSO, only that they don't have a board now. Oh yes, they used to sell second-hand books. But I never made use of that. I focus more on my studies.'
Thekla van Lingen
Second year, flexible BSc programme
'I am a member, but not very active. Actually I only make use of the second-hand bookshop. I did hear that they couldn't find anyone, but I was already on the board of the korfball club. If I hadn't been on that, I might have opted for the WSO. Pity to lose the second-hand bookshop. I think the WSO should keep going, I'll stay a member!'
Fourth year, Biology
'I know very little about what they do. I would opt for a bigger and better known fulltime board. I do know they have an accommodation desk and a shop selling Fair Trade products, and they offer some useful courses.'
Fifth year, Regional Development Innovation (VHL)
'Now that I heard that they are going, I looked up what they do. They run the bookshop, rent out a delivery bike and have an room where students can come for information. All good initiatives in themselves, but is that the role of a student union? They should be standing up for students' rights. Make more of a name for themselves. The WSO is not productive, doesn't have a sexy image and doesn't make a business-like impression. I am enterprising, solution-minded and not bureaucratic, so it is not the right board for me.'
Second year, Environmental Sciences
'I associate it mainly with the Arion. Because my study association uses the big room there. WSO is some kind of union, isn't it? I don't know any more than that, no idea. I thought the WSO and the PSF were the same thing.'