Student - June 4, 2009


A posting on 17 March 2009 on the Wageningen Electronic Student Plaza (WESP): ‘If we cannot find new board members within two weeks we will lose some space at Computechnion: the beginning of the end of WESP.’ For a long time this was the forum for Wageningen students. Now it’s getting a bit dusty, due to a shortage of computer nerds with initiative.

‘The site was launched around 1999. Forums were still quite unusual then, and WESP was mainly used to exchange films’, says Leon Timmermans, who has been active on WESP for five years. Then WESP became a discussion space for Wageningen-related topics such as housing, for example. ‘The nice thing about WESP is that it’s for all Wageningen students, since it isn’t linked to a club’, thinks Timmermans. ‘Anyone can post on it, raise subjects and discuss them. The most popular part is still the Wanted/ For sale section.’

In that respect, WESP still meets a need, but there are no real discussions on the forum any more. Timmermans: ‘For us it was all about an online community, but there doesn’t seem to be enough call for it. There isn’t even any response to postings from the Student Council. Wageningen students are just too inactive in these sorts of things, and they tend to stay in their own little cliques.’

It’s not just the amount of posting that has gone down; the WESP committee is in trouble too. ‘The number of active students in WESP has gone down a lot, and there are not many technical people in Wageningen. There are some students who want to learn programming, but they often want us to hold their hands. Whereas what we need is people with initiative’, says Timmermans. ‘We haven’t had support from the university for at least two years, because we are not active enough. I can’t deny that, I must admit. We do still have a couple of servers, good relations with the university and with Idealis, and a room at the Computechnion which we hardly use. There are two or three of us left. But there are still possibilities – at least, for someone with initiative.’