News - October 8, 2009

Protest breakfast at Forum: solve the room shortage

A party at the Bunker and a sleep-in at the Sports centre: there must be worse ways of protesting against the room shortage.

WSO Sleep-in at Wageningen Campus
The Wageningen students' organization WSO organized a sleep-in for 'homeless' students on the night of Thursday 1 October. The aim was to let the authorities know how serious the situation is. At the same time, it gave first years a chance to have a night out in Wageningen without having to catch the last train home. About half of Wageningen's first years are still without a room, thinks WSO. A questionnaire issued by the students' union revealed that one fifth of these spend over 2.5 hours a day getting to and from their classes.
Last Thursday protesters could watch a film in the canteen at the Bongerd, and then go on to a 'home-sweet-homeless' party at the Bunker, organized by the WSO together with Unitas youth club. For protester Eveline (18), it was her first night out in Wageningen. 'It was a good party. There was a nice atmosphere in the sports hall where about 25 people slept. We held a sleeping bag race and a midnight volleyball match.' Margot (19): 'We are homeless, so we had to take part.'
At 7.30 the next morning, George Amoasah, external chairman of WSO, opened the Protest Breakfast. He addressed the fifty cold, tired people who gathered around the dozen little tents in front of the forum. Representatives of the town council, Idealis and Wageningen UR were also present. Rector magnificus Martin Kropff spoke next, and promised that by December at least all the international students would have rooms. Says WSO secretary Marlies Bos: 'There are 400 Dutch students and 190 international students who can't find a room. What has been promised now is not enough. I hope they are going to build new accommodation.' /Tom Rijntjes
No top sport without a room
Judoka Krijn Schetters, first year students of Agrotechnology and Dutch junior Judo champion in the under 66 kilo class, has been going short of sleep and training time for weeks because he hasn't got a room. 'I waste at least 15 hours a week commuting up and down from Oen, even though I registered with Idealis last January.' The fact that a top sportsman can't afford to lose those hours didn't seem to be reason to give him priority. Yet combining studying with high level sport is tough. At the beginning of September Krijn already missed some lectures because he was in Yerevan, Armenia at the European Cup junior championships. 'I need to rest during the day and to be able to cook for myself, because I have to watch what I eat.' The campsite is not an option: cold and damp are bad for the muscles. /Yvonne de Hilster
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