Nieuws - 16 mei 2013

Student council elections 2013: And the candidates are...

One talks about her deceased doggy Beibei, another takes up the cudgels for sports facilities on the campus. Our editorial team subjects all the listed candidates to a round of roulette-style interviewing. What questions did they pick and how did they answer them? Text: Linda van der Nat en Nicolette Meerstadt

Voting for student council members takes place from 13 to 22 May. You may know something about the student party Veste, which is fervently distributing flyers. But who are its candidates? And who are the five independent international candidates on the digital polling cards?
Since democracy revolves around having confidence in the person you vote for, these pages aim to sketch a portrait of each of the candidates, 15 in all. The rules of the game? Our editorial team composed 15 questions, varying from very personal to very political. These were dropped into the hat, from which each candidate randomly picked out two. In this way, all the candidates have a chance to reveal a bit of their personality, depending on the luck of the draw.  

Facts about the student council elections
- Voting takes place from 13 to 22 May.
- Fifteen candidates are vying for twelve seats.
- Ten candidates are standing for the Veste party; the others are independents.
- All the independent candidates are international students.
- There were no elections last year because the number of candidates equalled the number of seats.

Simone Ritzer
Management and Consumer Sciences
Why should students vote for you?
My experience in different fields shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I have been president of the Mercurius study association, I studied in Finland last semester and I am an active member of Ceres. The pressure to study hard has increased with new regulations from the government and the university. But it is certainly possible to combine an active student life with getting all your study credits. I am determined to enable everyone to have an active student life, which is a Veste priority.
What is the most important lesson your parents have taught you?
You will only have regrets about the things you did not get to do. There­fore, I seize every chance that comes my way. Some experiences can lead to disappointments, but these enable you to do things differently the next time, or not to do them again. You can only truly enjoy life if you really know what life is all about, and it is only by doing everything you possibly can that you find out what life's all about.

Xanthe van Dierendonck
Nutrition and Health
What important lesson did your parents teach you?
My parents have always drummed it into me that I should be myself, to use a cliché. I tend to compare myself to others a lot; I did this in the past with my brothers. I wanted to do whatever they did, and I was so competitive that I also wanted to be better than them. Gradually, I've become better at making my own choices, but my parents' words remain in the back of my mind all the time.
Who is your favourite lecturer?
My chemistry teacher in secondary school, Mr Van Veen. He showed me that chemistry can be fun. He was very patient and kept on explaining things until everyone understood. I still contact him now and then and I tell him about the practical lessons I have been getting.

Anneloes Reinders
International Development Studies
What is the highlight of your student years?
I am a member of Ceres and I have a very close-knit year group. We can approach one another anytime. Everything that we have done together is a highlight for me - from club weekends to the joint vacation in Budapest and Prague. I would encourage everyone to join a society; you could strike up lifelong friendships. And committee work also teaches you very useful things.
What is the best thing about Wageningen UR?
The way of teaching. The teaching methods in Wageningen - with discussion groups and a lot of supervision - require lecturers to put in much more effort than conventional teaching methods. Sometimes, you get two lecturers to fifteen students. This involvement should be maintained, even as the university grows bigger.

Arvid de Rijck
Soil, Water and Atmosphere
My ideal night out...
Tuesdays and Thursdays are my fixed sports evenings, after which I go to drink a beer with my hockey team. On Tuesdays, we go to De Bunker, and on Thursdays, De Woeste Hoeve. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I go to KSV. I like to just chat with people, whether I know them or not. On Friday evenings, I often go to the International Club; I live next-door. After watching a film at home, it's just so easy to check on the neighbours at one in the morning to find out what's going on.
Where do you want to be in 15 years' time?
I live from one term to the next so I don't really have an idea. But since I'm interested in problems related to the climate, I could be working for a consultancy firm in fifteen years' time, advising local people in affected areas on how to deal with climate change.

Lara Minnaard
Animal Sciences
What is the first thing you would change if you were in the student council?
I would focus more on students' skills. Students are very strong content-wise, but I notice that they are not always as good at getting their knowledge across. If I have to give a presentation with a group of five students, three of them say straightaway: not me. I would like to see more attention paid to verbal presentations in all the study programmes.
My motto is...
... A day without laughter is a day wasted. If something does not interest you, you shouldn't be doing it. You don't have to make rational choices all the time, but just do the things you like. So I went to Mongolia on my own for four weeks when I was 19. Galloping bareback across the Mongolian steppes is a unique experience, isn't it?

Jaap Löwenthal
After lectures, you can often find me...
... In the sports centre. I am a pretty fanatical volleyball player, and I've been on the committee and been a trainer. I also work in the canteen in De Bongerd. You could almost call that my second home. Sport is very important for me; it has priority over my studies. If I had to choose between studying for an exam and a competition, I would go for the competition. That's what a team sport is about.
What important lesson did your parents teach you?
Don't complain if you can do something about it. This is one of the reasons why I want to be in the student council, so that I can do something when there is a problem. For example, the sports hall has become too small. Sports associations are getting in one another's way because there is not enough space for everyone. If the university wants to keep growing, it needs to take this aspect into account.

Jildou Kooiman
Public Health and Society
Which study course has taught you the most?
I took a biomedical science minor in Amsterdam, about the brain. Everything about neurons, the anatomy, diseases, brain development in children. I did not know much about this beforehand, so I had to work hard. But I felt so inspired by each new lecture. So many things can go wrong in the brain, and I realize now how wonderful it is that children are being born healthy and intelligent.
Name a low point during your academic pursuits in Wageningen.
I haven't had a low, but I'm annoyed at the large amount of repetition in my courses. The theory of planned behaviour comes up in every second-year course. Lecturers sometimes underestimate the students. Come on, you shouldn't think I'm stupid. There's a reason I got into university. I feel that the quality of education is very important.

Jeroen Roest
Plant Sciences
What do you miss most in Wageningen?
Wageningen is the only university town without a train station - that's pretty unique. I think all the students would like it if they didn't have to travel to Ede to catch a train. I also miss having a McDonald's in Wageningen. A fast food restaurant may not really fit the sustainable image of the town but I think it would do well. Food doesn't have to be healthy all the time.
What is the highlight of your student years?
I'm currently involved in organizing a career day for students in Wageningen. We've taken a different approach to previous years and there is now much more interest; the registrations have doubled. I am very encouraged by the way things are turning out in return for all the effort and fervour we've put in.

Emma Diederiks
What do you like best about Wageningen UR?
The course supervisors. They show a lot of commitment here, they keep track of progress in your studies, they inquire about your extra-curricular activities, they examine which subjects are most suitable for you... When I talk to friends who are studying in Utrecht, they complain about how little their course supervisors are doing. Even as the university grows, course supervision should remain like it is now.
What do you miss most from home?
In Amsterdam, where I'm from, I would go to the film or the theatre twice a week. There aren't really many films in Wageningen and there are also very few plays. In addition, I also miss the ease of being able to buy something from the stores at 10 pm.

Bowen Tian
Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
Where will you be in 15 years' time?
I would very much like to be a consultant working in an international company or a joint venture. I will be better by then in making use of my ability to manage and coordinate. I will be a good team player because I really like working in a team. I see it as a platform to share knowledge and experiences. If you strike out on your own, that may mean you are ambitious but you will not reach the ideal result. Everyone needs teamwork to achieve difficult objectives.
My motto is...
... After the rain comes the sun. I know that things get better after a difficult and trying period. The education system in Wageningen is very different from what I had during my Bachelor's in China. This sometimes frustrates me a lot. I'm lucky to have support from my family and fellow students who keep motivating me to continue to work hard. The lecturers, too, have helped me and encouraged me to persevere.

Yang Jiang
Environmental Sciences
What is the first thing you would change if you were in the student council?
When I first arrived in Wageningen, I didn't know how to take the train. I missed the train and the bus and ended up in Arnhem. I had no idea where I should go because information was only given in Dutch. It would be fine if someone could be in Schiphol to meet students when they arrive.
Name a low point during your academic pursuits in Wageningen.
During the first two terms, I was under great stress because of lectures and wondering how to pass my exams. You are given only two months in every term and I studied day and night. I didn't even take lunch breaks because I had to study. When friends asked me out, I couldn't go. That was really frustrating.

Gilbert Atuga
I don't leave home without...
... My wallet. Almost all my documents are in it, such as my student pass and my residence permit. I need them if I want to get to know the Netherlands. I try to get out and about as much as possible. I like to meet new people and learn about different cultures. It's refreshing to just cycle around and talk to people from countries you don't know where to find on a map. This takes me out of my own small world and gives me a broader perspective on life.
Why should people vote for you?
Wageningen is a very international city but certain study programmes only have students from one nationality. I think that puts up barriers. More should be done to make such programmes attractive to all nationalities. I want to work hard to create a platform to deal with this imbalance and promote internationalization in all study programmes.

Yu Huang
Plant Sciences
What do you like best about Wageningen UR?
The open atmosphere. In the university in China where I was previously, you were not allowed to talk about sex or drugs in public. Some study topics were also taboo. In Wageningen, you are free to speak out and people really listen when you talk about your problems. I also like being able to put together my own course package. You can plan your own education in this way.
I don't leave home without...
My diary. Everything is in it, otherwise I forget things. There are many nice activities in Wageningen, such as the Studium Generale lectures. I write all these down in my diary but I may not be able to find time to attend all of them. So I only go to those I find most useful. Thanks to my diary, I can allocate my time better.

Wanjun Zhao
Climate Studies
Do you have a pet?
I used to have a very sweet doggy with short white hair. Her name was Beibei, which means darling or little child. When she died, I was very sad because my mother did not allow me to have another. I like dogs very much because they are clever and loyal. You don't have to make them happy; they make you happy instead.
What's the first thing you would change if you were in the student council?
The Chinese say that food is the most important thing in life, the basis for everything else. You need to have good food if you want to work well. You can't really find this principle reflected in the canteen in the Forum. It doesn't score well in terms of variety or prices. Vegetarians do not have much to choose from and there's hardly anything for Muslim students. What's more, you have to queue up for 20 minutes. We need our one-hour break to relax, talk to friends and rest.

Daohong Yang
Nutrition and Health
What experience is a must for a student in Wageningen?
An important aspect of student life is the integration of various cultures. It is really great to live with students from other countries. The television can present a very lopsided view of foreign countries. We should not be put off by culture barriers; these are not real barriers. All of us are human beings.
What do you miss most in Wageningen?
I find this little town rather perfect, actually. It is cosy and small and the student community is close knit. It does strike me, though, that it's difficult to carry on an open conversation about religion. People turn away very quickly. I am a Christian and I don't see any conflict between religion and science. I see the Lord and how much love he has. But religion is a complex subject for such a short interview, so I'll mention something else here: I miss spicy Chinese food.