Why do you want to (re)start Enactus Twente?
‘I’m now almost at the end of my exchange period at the Teesside University in Middlesbrough. Here, a fellow exchange student from the Wageningen University told me about her work for Enactus Wageningen. It got me so enthusiastic that I’ve been active at Enactus Teesside the last months. She also mentioned that the UT doesn’t have a local Enactus association… Well, not anymore at least. Enactus Twente was active for a few years until 2016, but as far as I know the board members back then were graduating and couldn’t find successors. Now I want to start Enactus Twente again, since I think it’s a shame there isn’t an association like this on campus. I want to show the world what the students of the UT are capable of.’
What can a local Enactus association add to the UT?
‘With Enactus Twente, we can bundle and use the skills, talents and ambitions of UT students to help the local community. Projects are based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and are usually quite lasting. Sometimes Enactus projects can last for years or they even grow into social enterprises. We work consistently on projects in order to realize a lasting impacting project for the society. That’s a big difference compared to a lot of initiatives on campus, that only take a day to a few weeks.’
Do you have any specific examples of that?
‘Right now, I’m leading a project in Middlesbrough aimed at reducing food waste by redistributing food of supermarkets that would otherwise be thrown away. Not everything ends up at a food bank and students are also not likely to go to a food bank. As part of this project, we’re also working together with local companies on helping students to cook in an effective way. Based on the motto: give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. In our own way, we’re working on having a positive impact on the local society. The same goes for several projects of Enactus Wageningen by the way. They have projects aimed at collecting plastic and saving bees from extinction, for instance. At the UT, I think we can use us being a technical university aimed at social impact to our advantage.’
What do you need to get this local organisation up and running?
‘At least fifteen members to start with would be great. The initiative is in an early stage and I only asked around in my own social circle. But already fifteen people are more or less interested in joining and I’m looking for more members. To ensure continuity, it’s important to have a variety of people, from different years and study programmes. What we also need are advisors from within the university. I’ve already been in touch with Novel-T and the Student Union. As students, we don’t have enough experience and expertise and we need people to help us get in touch with companies and other organisations. We need to have a solid foundation to build Enactus Twente on.’
Is this organisation in every student’s wheelhouse?
‘It can be, for everyone who wants to take an extra step. In principle, an Enactus member does have particular vision on the world. Enactus thinks it’s important to educate students to become responsible leaders. So members are usually full of passion and are ambitious. At Enactus it’s not about going on strike and coming up with facts, but to actually take action and work on solutions for local problems. The big pro of Enactus being a worldwide organisation, is that your local solutions might end up on a world stage. We are the next generation leaders and looking for responsible leaders for the future that want make a difference.’