Wetenschap - 25 januari 2001

Alumni network to be set up for international students

Alumni network to be set up for international students

Wageningen University wants to maintain better contact with international students after they leave Wageningen. They are valuable 'ambassadors' for both the university and research institutes in Wageningen. Back home or in a new job, they are likely to encourage others to come to Wageningen to study or commission new research from Wageningen UR.

In the past Wageningen University has done little to keep in touch with alumni. The Executive Board has now asked the Dutch alumni organisation KLV to set up a network together with Taxon Events, a local office that organises events nationally and internationally. KLV director Paul den Besten says that the network needs to be especially designed for international students. The Internet is the best medium for communication, but access needs to be restricted. The plan is to make a service available exclusively to Wageningen University alumni by issuing a digital passport, which will provide access to a protected intranet. Other ways of forming an international alumni association are also being studied.

Cachet

The graduation of the international MSc students on Thursday 25 January marks the beginning of the project to set up a network. Taxon Events is also organising the new style graduation ceremony. There will be fewer speeches and more use of new media and film to give the graduation more cachet.

Maaike de Jongh of Taxon Events explains that in addition to the new format, the graduation ceremony will be unlike any held before. "We would like the graduates to regard this not as a departure from Wageningen University, but as the beginning of a new relation between themselves and the university: as alumni they enter a new phase. In future we will be able to offer them membership of an alumni organisation. Unfortunately time was too short to start the network before this year's graduation."

Joris Tielens

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