It is quiet on campus during summer. Many people are away on vacation. But not everyone is. Renée Bekx is a well-known face at sports centre De Bongerd. She has worked at the desk of the complex for the past ten years. After a year on the board of Thymos, it became her part-time job. She has since received a permanent contract.
© Didi de Vries
She walks around the building with an ever-present smile on her face. ‘What I like most here is the atmosphere. My colleagues are always enthusiastic and the sports teachers bounce around the halls, full of energy. If someone would do that in an office, you’d think “something’s wrong with them”, but it’s entirely normal here’, explains Renée. The people who come to practice sports are usually enjoying themselves as well; after all, those who come usually do so of their own volition. ‘I never see the sour face of someone who comes because he or she has to – like what you see in a lecture hall.’
Renée has been practicing sports ever since she was little. Before she came to Wageningen to study Nutrition and Health, she enjoyed playing football a lot, but she had to stop following an injury. ‘I grew up in the little village of Lierop, where the choice of sports is limited. When I came to Wageningen, I suddenly had so many things I could try. And so I did. Except dancing; that really isn’t my thing.’
Knotsball, spinning, triathlon, running, weight lifting, power dumbbell… But Renée’s favourites eventually turned out to be cycling and mountain biking. ‘When the weather is nice, I can’t wait to get outside; Wageningen has a beautiful scenery to cycle. But I have also learnt to enjoy a cup of coffee at home with the newspaper when it rains. When I was still studying, I didn’t know how to relax as well as I do now.’
It will remain relatively quiet at the sports centre for the next few weeks, and Renée will have plenty of time to talk with the ‘regulars’. At the end of August, a flux of new students will arrive to whom she will have to explain many things. ‘They all want to know what they can do with their sports rights, so I will mostly be answering lots of questions’, she says. ‘There will not be much time left for personal contact, which is a bit of a shame.’