Science - February 5, 2004

International Club will soon be without a roof over its head

The International Club Association, originally an association for foreign students, will lose its clubhouse this summer. The rental contract has expired, and the owner, the town council, wants to demolish the old farmhouse. The ICA is now looking for other ways to continue its existence.

It did not come as a surprise to the International Club that it would have to leave its accommodation. Interim member of the board, Harmen Boerboom: “We knew that the twenty-year lease agreement would expire on 1 January 2004.” The Wageningen town council rents the building for a symbolic sum of 45 cents a year, but has now decided to demolish it. “It is no longer worth our while to invest in repairs to the building,” says council spokeswoman Annemarie Kirch.

The ICA can remain where it is until 1 July this year. Boerboom: “We now need to assess whether there is enough demand to create a new meeting place for students and other international contacts, such as people at the International Agricultural Centre (IAC), as well as visitors from partner municipalities. We want to be able to provide a place for local events and activities of an international nature.” The ICA board hopes for support from the IAC, the university and the town council. They also plan to seek contact with ISOW.

At present the club faces a debt of a few thousand euros, run up by a previous board. The interim board, which includes members of the Latin American association Que Pasa, is doing its best to pay off the debts. Boerboom: “Our membership has risen again since last year, from a dozen or so members to about eighty.”

The ICA was established in 1958, with the support of the university. Over the years an increasing number of those joining were not from the university, a reason for the latter to withdraw financial support. A few years ago a new club was started specifically for students, the ISOW. Nevertheless there is also room for ICA, thinks Boerboom: “The international character of Wageningen means the town is not too small for us.”

Yvonne de Hilster

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