'Empower independent and entrepreneurial students'

| Rense Kuipers

Crisis or not, the elections for the University Council are scheduled for next week. This year, students have a choice of four parties for a seat in university politics. In this mini-series, the leading candidates take turns to present their respective parties. This fourth and final episode: Jorg Wellink from the new party uTOP.

Bottom left: Jorg Wellink.

Face and voice of the party

‘For us, it is important that the UT empowers independent and entrepreneurial students. Entrepreneurial in the broadest sense of the word: from committee work to running your own business. We say that ambition is only valuable if you turn it into action and reality. Together we want to create a top community, within this university and region.'

Three focal points

1. 'We want to bridge the gap between the university and regional industry. The UT can distinguish itself by closing this gap. This can and should be done at all levels, not just by having companies stand in a big tent for a few days at the Bedrijvendagen. First of all, we want to get rid of fictitious projects. Each module you get one big project, usually one based on outdated research that has been on the shelf for years. We prefer relevant projects from the industry. As a student, this makes you enthusiastic; you can work on real problems and come up with real solutions. Speaking of enthusiasm... As students you immediately see when you walk into the lecture hall whether a lecturer feels like teaching or not. Why not replace that unmotivated teacher with an enthusiastic guest lecturer from the industry? Then you can immediately link the content of their talks to a real project.'

2. ‘Twente must become more international. There is an enormous potential in this region, which international students can fill in very well. But first, it must become normal that English is spoken within local companies. It should be normal that international students can find a good job and a good life here. As a general rule, there are two phases in which international students have a tough time: at the beginning of their studies and at the end, when they want to find a job. We want local businesses to understand that it is worthwhile to offer international students a place here. But that requires some starting energy.'

3. 'How entrepreneurial is this university really? The image that entrepreneurship can be combined with studying is an incorrect one. I noticed that myself three years ago. For years, the UT has been proclaimed the most entrepreneurial university, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. We have to solve the discrepancy between that image and reality. The prize pool of the UT Challenge is just under 20 thousand euros. That's peanuts. Take start-ups and spin-offs more seriously., if only via the FOBOS fund. Give your students a better chance to further develop their good ideas here, then they will feel at home sooner.’

The role of the corona crisis?

‘The crisis shows that as a university you have to be flexible where you can. It's ridiculous that we're living in 2020 and that not all lectures are being recorded yet. In fact, if you are facing a space problem at lectures due to the measures taken, why not reserve a place for a small, enthusiastic group? Nobody benefits from a lecture with three hundred people in attendance. Let the less enthusiastic students follow the lecture at home, or in their own time, and let the small group present ask the right questions and have discussions with the lecturer. That increases quality and flexibility for everyone.'

Facts & Figures

  • Party: uTOP
  • Established: 2020
  • Current number of university council members: 0
  • Number of people on the election list: 6
  • Link to party program