'Connecting people on their passion, not their place of work'

| Rense Kuipers

'A friendly, central place where you can ask questions to all your UT colleagues.' That's how Marcella Claase, the initiator of the project, describes Prikbord, an online platform that will go live tomorrow afternoon. 'Especially in these times this can contribute to togetherness and well-being.'

Claase, who works as an ICT project manager at LISA, based the idea for the platform on the well-known bulletin boards in supermarkets, which bring together the supply and demand of shoppers. 'Although I noticed in the current beta version that such a marketplace function is less popular than other categories such as "let's (small)talk" and "dare to ask". UT employees appear to very much need an informal place to talk to each other.'

And that is exactly one of the goals Claase has in mind with Prikbord. 'That there is a place where you can come into contact with all your UT colleagues, not just those from your own department or research group. We have a very diverse community and everyone has their own baggage and knowledge. I want to connect people on their passion, not on their place in a department or faculty.'

Not sending, but talking

The platform is much like an internet forum, but exclusively accessible to UT employees. 'And the most important difference with the UT employee portal is that this is not a place to broadcast, but to talk to each other', says Claase.

That the platform is not also accessible to students is mainly due to the different stages of life, she explains. 'Employees do not need to know where a house party is, for example. Students did approach me to start a similar platform for students. But their initiative is still in its early stages.'

English, Dutch and Low Saxon

The topics on the beta version Prikbord are now for example: what are the best home-office tips? Star Wars or Star Trek? What can you recommend to a new employee? And: what is the most beautiful Lower Saxon (or Twents) saying? The latter question is there for a reason, says Claase. 'There are three languages on Prikbord: Dutch, English and Low Saxon. If you like to talk in your own regional language, you should do so. Inclusiveness works in all directions. As long as it contributes to a feeling of togetherness and noaberschap (a regional concept of togetherness or ‘neighborship’, ed.).'

Claase came up with the idea before the corona crisis and received funding for it from the UT's Incentive Fund. But especially in times of crisis, she thinks Prikbord can be of added value to the UT community. 'Ideally, as many UT colleagues as possible will register. Especially now, this platform can contribute to the solidarity and well-being of employees. Above all, it must be an informal, sociable place where people can help each other.'


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