ITC opens Academic Year

| Nathan Surrett

As the Procession of the Cortege filed into the Old Market Church, the sun broke through the clouds and greeted their smiling faces. The vast array of new students arose to greet the Professors as they marched through to the front of the Hall in this very formal yet informative ceremony. Students adjusted their brightly colored scarves, tunics, robes and suits as opening statements were made.

“This begins the opening of the Academic year at ITC 2013, welcome everyone,” announced Professor Tom Veldkamp “Please be seated”. Professor Veldkamp went on to layout the year ahead for the new students, and surprisingly had some grim news
concerning the funding of future ITC endeavors. “According to the Ministry’s website, budget cuts to education are expected to encompass a total of 65 Million euros alone in 2014 increasing to that of 125 million more by 2017” Veldkamp pronounced.

“We are not too concerned with that here at the ITC, as we have always been good at accruing alternative sources of income”. Mr. Veldkamp went on to say that the ITC is pushing out new initiatives and navigating the waters of this long-term economic mire. He also outlined a few of the Governments plans for development, and what exactly they mean for the future of ITC and its students. “The government aims to assist fewer
partner countries, and also wants to spearhead programs around Security, water, food security and sexual reproductive rights”.

The message Mr. Veldkamp outlined was crystal clear.
Be prepared. Expect difficulties. Make connections.

Now to say that the entire opening was all about this issue is missing the point, as there were many many smiling faces and excited students. Mr. Okta Prastowo Raharjo, President of the Student Association Board, greeted the room with very kind welcomes and wisdom. There was an award presented to the best scientific paper by a PhD student, and a lovely musical interlude by Ilse van Griensven and Gijs van Schoonhoven. There were even students singing along to the soprano’s lofty highs and lows.

Lastly, we come to Barbara J. Ryan, Director for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) who came from the US to give the ceremonial Schermerhorn lecture. It was titled GEO and International Collaboration -- A call for continuing the Schermerhorn Legacy. In the lecture she outlined the need for open source Geospatial data from satellites and the value of that information throughout the world and it’s role in development.

At the closing of the ceremony, the Cortege filed out of the church and the students followed, some pausing to look around, and many others reaching out and greeting one another for the first time. In the Old Market where the students gathered, one might have felt as if they were at an international summit. With the many unique and special cultures represented, and the warm friendly smiles and shaking of hands given, you
might think that dire warnings and grim news about the future of the ITC and the world are irrelevant. To a degree, in situations like these, they are. What matters are the connections we make, the openness of ourselves to make those connections, and the ability to adapt to any challenge. That is what you could see at the opening of the academic program this year, just ask any student, and they will tell you the same.

Stay tuned

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