Nieuws - 9 februari 2012

Student residences on campus?

Proposition: Student residences on campus. Surely no one wants that?

Marlies: It is common knowledge that new student accommodation is urgently needed. Where it comes makes very little difference to me. If for whatever reason the campus is the most attractive location, perhaps because land is too expensive in the town centre, that's fine by me. It seems to me unlikely that the students who live there will never show their faces in town. All the main student societies and pubs are still in town. And already, three of the four main student residences are very close to the campus. So I don't really understand what is against housing students there. I certainly think it is much more important that new accommodation is built than exactly where it is built.
Jillis responds: I agree with you that the main thing is for more student accommodation to be built, but I do think it's OK to look a bit critically at the choice of location. Of course there are big blocks of flats on the edge of town already, but if you build even more, you create a sort of surrogate centre. Now there is to be a shop on campus, later there'll be catering outlets, and then the businesses in the town centre will be in trouble. It's only logical to first fill in the ugly derelict sites in town!
Jillis: As I recall, a year or two ago the Wageningen town council decided not to allow the building of any student housing on campus. And now the discussion has blown up again. The best argument against is that the centre of Wageningen will become quieter and emptier, which will deprive food outlets and many other businesses of custom. What is more, there are several disused sites around the town, which are an eyesore (Kirpestein, the fire station, the Shell site). If someone built student housing there, the centre would stay lively, these ugly scars on the landscape would be removed and Wageningen would still have the atmosphere of a student town. Having hundreds of students whose knowledge of Wageningen doesn't go beyond the campus, the Forum and the bus stop won't do anything for the town's atmosphere.
Marlies responds: There are still loads of students living in town anyway. And I have yet to meet a student who never goes beyond a radius of 1 km from their own house. And I am a bit surprised to find a conservative like you suddenly in favour of government intervention in this case.