Wetenschap - 25 oktober 2001

Housing office calls for better estimates of student numbers

Housing office calls for better estimates of student numbers

In the last edition of the Wisp'r, Jaime Zilbermann of the ISP said that the rigid policies of the accommodation office SSHW were giving Wageningen University a bad international image. Jan Harkema of SSHW does not agree. University chair groups should make more clear in advance how many international students they expect. This year, 700 international students were expected, but this number has now been exceeded by about thirty.

Harkema is organising a meeting with Paul Deneer of student affairs and representatives of the university departments in an attempt to improve the procedures for estimating the number of expected international students. It is important for SSHW to know in advance how many international students are likely to come because their rooms require more preparation than rooms for Dutch students, Harkema explains. SSHW has an agreement with the University board that rooms for international students should be equipped with good facilities. In the past unfurnished rooms for international students forced university staff to drag mattresses and other secondhand furniture around to provide the newcomers with some basic furnishings. In order to prevent this happening SSHW needs to know in advance how many rooms to allot for international newcomers.

Short-term interests

Harkema also points out that international students cannot occupy rooms at the expense of Dutch students. Harkema: "I understand the short-term interests of the ISP, but these conflict with the interests of Dutch students. We can't reduce the number of rooms for Dutch students in order to provide rooms for international students. This is why we need to be able to estimate expected numbers better." Making more generous estimates of the number of international students coming to Wageningen may mean that there are more empty rooms in the future. At present the costs of this are shared between the university and SSHW.

Joris Tielens

More info: www.sshw.nl

Another 33 international students will arrive in Wageningen in mid-November. For 21 there will be no room available. SSHW has been forced to search further afield for alternative accommodation for these new arrivals. Options have ranged from holiday bungalows in nearby Rhenen to a youth hostel in Elst on the other side of the Rhine. John Snow house (left) has been rejected as it does not comply with fire regulations. WICC (right) remains an option, albeit an expensive one.

Photos Guy Ackermans

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