It´s all signed and sealed: student union WSO and student party PSF have joined forces and will continue as one organization. The ideals of both organizations are entirely intact, says chair Romy Appelman, but the new setup will be much more up-to-date.
Why the merger?
'It is a more obvious option than you might think. WSO and PSF are very close ideologically. We want the same things. Secondly, you have to realize that we both find it hard to get hold of active board members. WSO had to throw in the towel this year, but quite honestly, I have to admit that PSF could easily have been in their shoes. So a merger is an obvious option.'
But merging two associations that are on their last legs isn't a sure winner. Aren't you both just... outmoded?
'I don't believe that. The gist of most responses to the closure of WSO, including those in Resource, was: pity, because it's good that we have them. People do see the use and the necessity of such organizations, only not to the extent that they want to be actively involved in running them. We need to change that.'
'WSO and PSF are really still the same as they were years ago, whereas students have changed a lot. We are going to do something about that. There hasn't been a gradual adaptation so we are now going to do it in one go. If you do that you can create an organization which students will feel reflects their concerns and is worth making an effort for.'
Do you already have an idea what the new organization will look like?
'We are now in a transitional phase in which there are still a great many decisions to be made. Whatever happens, it will definitely be a whole new organization with a new name and a new image. In terms of subject matter we will still be recognizable, as we will carry on with the best bits of both WSO and PSF.'
Which bits are those?
'The core tasks of both the union and the political party will remain. Then WSO offers several facilities which are good and are wanted. The Housing Desk, for example, and the tricycle hire service. But we are going to see whether we can modernize that, perhaps with a new delivery bike. The cheap shop, which sells organic produce, will probably not survive. On that front there are too many other options in Wageningen now.'
Will the new organization still be affiliated to the national students' union LSVb?
'That is one of the technical questions that need to be solved. Our relationship with the LSVb, and with the university as well. We notice that everyone is very constructive, so I am sure we can work it out.'
Where will your office be?
'I can't tell you anything about that yet. What is certain is that WSO will be leaving Arion in January and we will be leaving LA13. We are very busy exploring the options for new locations.'
You've got your work cut out for you then.
'Yes, and we could use some help with it too. So we welcome anyone who wants to contribute, whether with creative ideas or by rolling up their sleeves to help. This is your chance to get an organization started and to reflect on how you can give shape to your ideals in a modern way. Phone us, email us or drop by.'