News - September 30, 2009

Students want solution for housing shortage

The Wageningen Student Organization (WSO) estimates that about half of the first year students still do not have a place in Wageningen to live in. To draw attention to this housing shortage, it will hold a sleep-in this weekend.

Students who do not have a room eke out a living in caravans on camp ground De Wielerbaan in Wageningen.
Commuting between their parents' home and the lecture room has become a way of life for most of the students without student housing. About 18 percent of this group have to travel more than 2.5 hours daily, according to a WSO survey. More than 300 newcomers from within the Netherlands and afar have filled in the survey questionnaire.
A large percentage of the respondents find it difficult to build a social life in Wageningen without student housing, while about 40 percent of them expect that travelling to and fro will be bad for their studies. 'As the students have to get up early, they are less fit during lessons. Besides, there isn't much time and energy left to study at home', explains Marlies Bos of the WSO.
The questionnaire was completed by more than 150 Dutch students and by more than 150 international students housed in a bungalow park in Hoenderloo for the time being. About 190 international students 'camp' there currently. They may be offered accommodation in Wageningen before Christmas.
First year Dutch students will have to wait longer. A rough estimate by the WSO places half of them as being without student housing. Student housing bureau Idealis expects to have a room  for everyone by the end of next May. About sixty students are housed in caravans in camp ground De Wielerbaan in Wageningen, while another ten students are on its waiting list.
'Home Sweet Homeless'
The WSO thinks that the housing shortage is here to stay. 'Chances are high that yet more students will make their way to the university next year', says Bos. 'Furthermore, if the applied sciences university STOAS moves to Wageningen, even more students will be in search of rooms.'
To draw attention to this problem, the WSO is organizing a sleep-in for students on the night of Thursday 1 October in sports complex De Bongerd. Together with Unitas, the WSO will throw a 'Home Sweet Homeless' party in De Bunker. The next morning, Friday 2 October, the demonstrators will breakfast together, during which they will hand a petition to the rector Martin Kropff, the Wageningen alderman Stella Efdé and a representative of Idealis.