New party uTOP joins in university council elections

| Rense Kuipers

A new party will take part in the university council elections at the end of this month: uTOP. The party focuses on active and entrepreneurial students and wants to stimulate innovation and cooperation between the UT and the industry.

Photo by: Paco van Leeuwen
Initiator of uTOP, Jorg Wellink.

The party was founded two weeks ago. Initiator is Jorg Wellink, bachelor student mechanical engineering and student entrepreneur. He says he wants to start a movement with uTOP, for everyone who wants more than just a degree. 'As an active student, I tried to change a lot of things, but I constantly came up against a barrier: rules. I think the university council is a place where we can change or even remove rules centrally.'

Wellink decided not to join existing student parties DAS and UReka. 'Even though there is enough common ground with both parties. But by starting my own party I would abandon my own points of view as little as possible. In a sense, uTOP also builds a bridge between the convictions of DAS and UReka.'

3D printed bridges

The new party has six points that it stands for. 'Starting with entrepreneurship combined with studying. That needs to be better facilitated,' says Wellink. 'I experienced myself as an entrepreneur that I couldn't attend every lecture. You soon have to rely on slides. Especially with the digital possibilities, lectures should be better and more flexible to follow.' uTOP also wants to see the campus more used as a testing ground. ‘That 3D printed bridge behind the Horst is a good example. Actually, we should only have 3D printed bridges on campus. Innovation needs to be facilitated and propagated.’

Collaboration with industry

The other four focal points of the new party are mainly focused on cooperation with (local) industry. ‘Among other things, we want to focus on more guest lectures from the industry. There is too big a difference between good teachers and bad teachers who see teaching mainly as an obligation. With guest lectures from the industry you give UT researchers more room for research and the knowledge from the work field is an enrichment,’ says Wellink.

That's why his party would also like to see more real assignments from the industry, instead of fictitious assignments from lecturers. And finding internships should also be easier if the collaboration between industry and university is better, says Wellink. Moreover, he thinks it's important that international students can find a place at a company in the region. ‘That is very difficult for them. The problems start with the language of communication within companies. Many students also indicate that they would like to work for start-ups. The UT can better facilitate start-ups and improve the local business climate by, among other things, ensuring that graduate students can work there.’

Elections

uTOP wants to be on the electoral list with six to nine candidates. 'Initially students, but if staff members agree with our philosophy, they are welcome to join. We want to have a voice in the university council for everyone who is innovative, ambitious, entrepreneurial and internationally oriented. And outside the council, we hope to start a broader movement with these people.'

The first battle is to get as many seats in the council as possible, Wellink knows. Today until 5 p.m., members of the UT community can apply to be electable for the University Council. These elections will take place, after a postponement, between 22 and 26 June.

The logo of the new party, uTOP.