Most lunch hours, Brend Kemperman (25) can be found between the trees near the Forum. The Master’s student of Plant Biotechnology is more than happy to explain what he is doing to curious passers-by. Slacklining.
Slacklining is a form of tightrope-walking, only the rope is slack so it is quite a job to keep your balance. ‘You are so focused on your body and the rope you are balancing on that it’s a form of meditation,’ says Kemperman. Throughout our interview people keep rolling up and he welcomes them all cheerfully. Anyone wanting to have a go gets expert advice: ‘Bend your knees and keep your back straight, like a queen with farmer’s knees.’
Kemperman learned to slackline at a festival about a year ago. Now he goes to festivals to teach other people how to do it. He tries to practise during every break, because it helps him relax as well as being a nice way to meet new people. ‘There are always inquisitive people who want to have a go. I like that, and everyone is welcome.’
‘I haven’t taken the most usual route as a student,’ says Kemperman. Really he wanted to study medicine but he came to Wageningen in 2009 to do a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology. He has graduated meanwhile and has also served on the Unitas board for a year. He has already written his Master’s thesis and the only thing left to do is an internship. He hopes he will have completed his Master’s by the time he is 26.
Kemperman is afraid that slacklining will quietly die out on campus once he goes off to his internship. But he might take it up again later, as he wants to stay in Wageningen. The idea of doing a PhD in Plant physiology appeals to him. He loves doing research and he sees an added advantage: ‘Then I’ll be free to manage my time myself, so I can hang up a slackline every lunch hour.’