Student - December 21, 2018

YOU on campus: ‘Exercise and a healthy diet are extremely important'

Anne van der Heijden

Throughout the day, the Campus Plaza is full of students looking for something to eat. Elisa Koops (22) is sitting in front of a plate of sushi in the new restaurant MLGB. ‘I don’t even like sushi, but I’m here with a friend to be sociable.’

I always wanted rabbits but my mum said I’d have to wait till I left home

Elisa is doing the Master’s in Health and Society because she is interested in the effects of food on society. ‘Exercise and a healthy diet are extremely important. In September I became chair of a new organization: BalanceBuddy. The idea is that children with a problem related to diet and health get a student as a personal buddy who can help them learn to pay attention to their diet and exercise.’

The project is still in its infancy. ‘We already have 15 students ready to become buddies, but we don’t have any children yet.’ Elisa is now trying to link up with organizations that could put the buddies in touch with children. ‘We are trying to make ourselves known to community centres and dieticians, for example. The first step is to create confidence in BalanceBuddy.’

Alongside her degree, Elisa spends a few hours a week on her new board job. ‘I am happy I found BalanceBuddy, as it fits well with my degree programme and with what I want to do. It is a nice opportunity.’

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At home in her student room, Elisa has two rabbits, Juni and Kameel. ‘I always wanted rabbits but my mum said I’d have to wait till I left home. So I did. I wanted to give them original names, not Thumper or anything like that.’ Juni and Kameel get attention not just from Elisa but also from hordes of fans on Instagram, where they are very popular – going by the name Junikameel.