The Student Council office is located on the ground floor of the Forum. One of the student parties on the Council is S&I (Sustainability and Internationalization), and this is where Zheng – Jane – Wu (25) is working. She took a break from her second Master’s, in Plant Biotechnology, to serve on a board for a year. Her aim is to help international students adjust to university life and encourage them to develop an assertive, problem-solving attitude.
‘The Student Council is really unique to the Netherlands,’ Jane says. ‘We do have something similar in China but the student don’t have as much say. Here, our ideas for improving the university can actually influence future policymaking. So I think this is really important and I appreciate the chance we get as students to do something like this.’
An important subject on the agenda of S&I and the green organizations right now is the catering on campus. They are looking into how to reduce plastic waste. The ‘Bring your own cup’ campaign is a successful example and now you can also bring your own lunchbox to the Chinese caterer, for instance. These are the little things you can do yourself, Zheng says. ‘If you just blame the university for not doing anything about sustainability, it doesn’t work. So if you have really good ideas, try to find the right person to talk to. For instance, Student Council members can help you to implement an idea. But if students realize they have some influence, that is a good thing in itself.’
For Jane, one of the most positive things about her time at WUR is the sharing of ideas and the interaction between students from all over the world. If you are a student who would like to get involved in greening the university and to share your ideas, you are welcome at the open meeting of S&I, which takes place every Monday.