Science - June 23, 2005

AID character may change

This August might be the last time that the General Introduction Days for new students are held in the form that Wageningen has become used to. The shortage of volunteers continues to grow and will probably result in changes to the programme next year.

The number of volunteers who help with the organisation of the AID has shown a downward trend over the last few years, but until now the organising committee (CAID) has always managed to come up with solutions. Committee member Jenneke van Elderen says that they will also just manage this year. ‘The programme will remain the same, but we are looking at where we can make adjustments. Some of the minor activities, like setting out chairs for the cabaret, or placing fences, we will be outsourcing.’ The CAID is also considering giving Crew members a small payment. ‘And we are looking into whether we can arrange for high-school students to help,’ says Van Elderen.

So the AID 2005 has been saved, but in 2006 the problem will become acute. It is proving difficult even to find enough people for the new organising committee. ‘We have had two applicants, but that’s far too few,’ says Van Elderen. She thinks the reason is that there are not many third and fourth year students, and MSc students have not yet been in Wageningen for very long. ‘It used to be the fifth-year students who became mentors,’ adds Liesbeth van der Linden, who is contact person in the university administration centre.

The university attaches high priority to a good introductory week for new students. ‘Perhaps the AID will change completely after this year,’ suggests Van der Linden. ‘Students may take on a different role, and the organisation may be taken over by the university. We do want the students to continue to have a big say in the matter.’ This is an issue that needs to be addressed after the summer. ‘The priority now is to make sure that this year’s AID goes well.’ / LH

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