Executive Board chair Aalt Dijkhuizen presided over the official opening of Impulse on Monday 3 September. The business world was well represented at this intended meeting place for the whole campus.
The central auditorium in the renovated building 115 was not big enough to seat the whole audience on Monday morning, so some stood to hear Dijkhuizen sing the praises of Ab Groen, policymaker at Corporate Education and Research. It was thanks to his vision and perseverance that the idea of Impulse became a reality. Groen himself thinks it is 'just very nice' to walk around the building he has had in mind for so long: 'The atmosphere today is great and we are really lucky with the weather.' Impulse now has to prove its worth, but Groen has no worries on that point: 'It will take a few years to pick up momentum, but then it will work out fine. Concern about Impulse is really the last thing on my mind.'
The audience at the opening ceremony was surprisingly one-sided. A quick show of hands revealed almost 100 business people and just a handful of researchers and students. It was quite visible really: far more suits than sneakers. This could have something to do with the timing, thinks Renee van de Weerd, floor manager at Impulse. 'The opening of the academic year and the first lectures are today as well.'
Once it is up and running, it is imperative that Impulse attracts a broad section of the public, says Groen: 'You can keep an eye on us for that.' Impulse is not just intended for the networking of the 'golden triangle', but also for academic debate, cultural events and students.
Notable for his absence was Martin Scheffer. He raised the idea of an academic meeting place is his Founders' Day speech over two years ago. But his absence has nothing to do with the adaptation of his idea to create a centre with a wider purpose. He explains on the phone that he got back from a symposium in America too late. He supports the initiative with heart and soul.
The ball got rolling in Impulse on Monday - literally as well as metaphorically. Board chair Dijkhuizen and Gelderland provincial councillor Annemiek Traag opened the meeting place by pushing a mini-billiard ball into a tube-like structure, an artwork by the Wageningen artists' collective the Waterlanders. The ball continued to move in the tube as if in perpetuum mobile, only to end in a fountain of tiny red balls scattering all over the floor.