Pascal ten Have will, in the coming academic year, be the first person from Wageningen to be chairman of LSVb, the Dutch National Union of Students, if its members approve his nomination. Who is this 24-year-old student of Forest and Nature Management?
'Pascal is a very good debater. He is also intelligent, not just in having a high IQ, but also a high EQ, the emotional intelligence.' So says Jan den Ouden, lecturer in forest and nature management, who worked with Pascal when the latter was a student assistant guiding field practicals in the Veluwe. He describes Ten Have as an efficient organizer whose easygoing attitude is striking. 'If I'm organizing, I become pretty assertive, but Pascal has a happy-go-lucky air about him. But that's not a sign of lethargy because things really do get done.'
Heart for education
Obviously, such an attitude has enabled this native Brabander (he attended secondary school in Boxtel) to make things work, if his impressive cv on LinkedIn is anything to go by. A few examples: student society chairman, WSO spokesman, executive member of Studium Generale and jury member for the Teacher of the Year award. One of the functions he held was that of student representative in the programme committee of forest and nature management. Lecturer Juul Limpens was impressed with his presence there. 'Very passionate and a big heart for education. He went through everything from A to Z and came well prepared. So much so that you wondered at times: well, is that also stated somewhere?' More recently, Ten Have was part of the Comité SOS, a nationwide student group which in 2010 organized demonstrations against cabinet policies. That was, as it now shows, his stepping stone to the LSVb.
The chairmanship to be assumed by Ten Have comes in the wake of a year full of tumultuous events in higher education. These will certainly continue to resonate. In January, more than twenty thousand angry students demonstrated against the plan to make students pay higher tuition fees if they take too long to graduate. Although this plan has meanwhile been accepted by the Second Chamber, there is still a lot of work awaiting the LSVb when it is implemented. Furthermore, the LSVb is going to represent the interests of students caught in the problems in higher professional education. Ten Have would meet state secretary Halbe Zijlstra regularly to discuss all these issues during the so-called student-housing meeting, in which the Intercity Student Association (ISO) will also participate.
That this would-be Wageningen chairman will aim more for results than outward show is the impression given by an image in one of his many travel blogs. It shows an Inca ruin in Peru which he wrote about ecstatically: 'It keeps me amazed. Why use a stone with 32 corners when a square one would do as well? Why use stones weighing 350 tons if the wall could also be built with smaller ones?' It may be said that the LSVb will have a Wageningen pragmatist at its helm next year.
What Pascal thinks about his appointment is still under wraps. The LSVb board has imposed a media silence concerning its new board until the members are officially introduced at the end of June. That we already know who the new executive members are, is due to the enthusiastic tweets of the executive members themselves since the nomination at the beginning of May. The news has therefore been leaked out unintentionally, but this is still no cause for the LSVb to deviate from its communication procedures. So if you're ever asked, you didn't hear it from us...