VHL Velp is a study society richer with LaarX. This group strives hard to organize courses and to share its views on education, says its chairman Nico Schavemaker.
'Our teaching estate Larenstein is facing threats from housing development. To give it a boost, several other students and I set up a weblog earlier. We became aware that we can easily gain access to many things if we do the organizing ourselves. Since we are so full of ideas, we started this society with six students. Straightaway, we were given a pillar in the hall to put up announcements.'
Can you give examples of these ideas?
'All sorts. We divide our society activities into three sections: the study society, the estate and sustainability. Under the study society, we will organize events like a photo walk. We will walk a fixed route and take photos along the way. Afterwards, we will discuss the photos and refine them. Other activities: Nico de Haan of the Netherlands Society for the Protection of Birds will teach us about bird watching. My co-worker and committee member Robin will conduct a course on identifying amphibians and reptiles.'
Wow, that's a lot. Does the education given in Velp fall so short of the mark?
'No, our society isn't founded on some kind of inadequacy; all we want is to make things more vibrant. I heard a lecturer say lately that a subject often ends at one lecture; that's what we want to change. We want to have more discussion about our subject area.'
Is that making any headway?
'LaarX has 33 members now. With six executive committee members, we want to become more professional and get the club to a good start. Right now, we are only involved in forest and nature management, but we want to represent all the study programmes in Velp later on.'
What does the name mean?
'Oh, I thought this up for a small project group some time ago; it's derived from Larenstein and the tree species larix. It's a zippy name that's easy to remember.'
Membership is free of charge in the first year of the founding of LaarX.