The UIF program was started at Stanford with the goal to teach other universities how to better connect with industry. The task of the UIF fellows is therefore to improve innovation and entrepreneurship at the UT. After six weeks of training, they formulated specific plans on how to make that happen and they presented these plans at yesterday’s pinning ceremony in the DesignLab.
Before being officially appointed UIF fellows by UT rector Thom Palstra, the four students - Elisabeth de Vijlder, Lennart van de Velde, Mélanie Droogleever Fortuyn and Sarah Roediger – announced what they will focus on in the upcoming year.
First one of their short-term plans involves ‘Random Drinks’. ‘We want to better communicate across all faculties, departments and stakeholders within the university and we think random encounters, where everyone can meet and interact, is the way to go,’ explained Frank Kresin, managing director of the DesignLab, which closely collaborates with the UIF fellows. ‘We therefore plan to organize Random Drinks events that should take place once a month in different labs and institutes at the UT. DesignLab is offering to host the first one, Career Services the second one and anyone else is welcome to apply.’
Market of Entrepreneurs
‘When we were looking at possibilities on how to improve entrepreneurial landscape at the UT, we found out that many students are not aware of all the opportunities they have here,’ pointed out Lennart van de Velde. ‘There are many students with great ideas, but they don’t know what to do with them, who to go to. Our goal is to create awareness by holding a ‘Market of Entrepreneurs’, an event where all students could get familiar with what the UT has to offer in terms of starting a business.’
According to the UIF fellows’ plans, the Market of Entrepreneurs could last several days and would ideally be mandatory to attend: ‘The trickiest part of such an event is to motivate students to come. That’s why we would like to make it a part of the first year curriculum, to ensure students go there.’
Besides these short-term plans, which the fellows would like to set in motion within a few months, the students are also working towards their ultimate goal of setting the UT on the map. In their efforts to do so, they have written an opinion article focused on promoting capabilities of students and using these capabilities for various tasks and initiatives within universities.
‘We have sent the article to several newspapers, including Volkskrant, because we want to promote the UT and share our vision nationwide. We should hear if the article has been accepted by the end of the week,’ say the UIF fellows, who are currently on their way to Stanford.