Why are you as a teacher stepping forward?
'I think it is shameful that we as a university cannot accommodate international students. That group is very important for the existence of the UT. This concerns all employees. I see it as our collective obligation and responsibility to help. The UT has a tremendous number of employees, many of whom have space to spare in their homes. When their children have already left home, for example. Even if it's only temporary, you can help a student tremendously.'
Not every employee has room for that or feels like it.
'But they don't have to. Some five hundred students are still looking for a room. I don't expect this to solve all the problems, but every student who is helped is one. And suppose you can't help yourself as an employee, look around for a neighbour or friends. It's about a temporary solution.'
What does the collaboration with ESN Twente look like?
'ESN (Erasmus Student Network, ed.) Twente promotes the interests of foreign students and has contact with almost all foreign students seeking accommodation. On their website, someone looking for or offering a room can fill out a form with all kinds of preferences. ESN Twente is so busy that we, as lecturers, work shifts to link those supply and demand forms. We do it now with six teachers, but that group is growing. A lot of employees want to do something.'
Have you yourself offered space to a student?
'Until January 1, a Polish student can use a room at my house. She was overjoyed about that and it was arranged in no time. What is important to mention: it is not only about foreign freshmen, but also about sophomores who have to move after the corona year or double degree students.'
Do you blame anyone because of the problems?
'How the problems arose does not interest me now. Pointing fingers won't solve anything for the students. We need to go straight ahead, no ifs or buts. I hope to get as many people as possible excited to jointly contribute as a UT community to housing as many students as possible.'
Possible temporary housing units on campus
The Twente Board, University of Twente, Saxion, the Municipality of Enschede and housing corporations met on Wednesday to look at short- and long-term solutions. One possible solution is to place temporary housing units on the UT terrain. These are fully furnished rooms with their own sanitary facilities, which must be ready in a few weeks' time. The municipality of Enschede is coordinating the approach to this housing issue.
Enklaar: 'A fantastic development, but it will still take a few weeks before the containers are installed and connected. In the meantime we still need accommodation for hundreds of students, so the call for help is still needed'.