Thiemen Doppenberg, Creative Technology student, has just arrived at the Box with a full supermarket bag. No, he does not save on groceries yet, but he does take the increasing gas prices into account in his studio. ‘I understand that gas prices are going up, but I do not understand why the government helps out almost everyone except students. Many students are struggling with thousands of euros of debt, but that group is now being skipped. This is ridiculous.’
The student says he hardly uses gas anymore. ‘Only for hot water and showers, nothing else. I even bought a small construction heater. Then it will be nice and warm in no time.’ Although he does not understand that students are not yet being compensated, he is not afraid of a huge after-charge. ‘Normally I get hundreds of euros back because I use so little gas. Maybe now I will not get anything back or I will have to pay a bit extra.'
A few streets further, Sergio Molina Garcia, with large headphones on his head, is walking towards his house on the Witbreuksweg. The Computer Science student did not open De Veste’s e-mail with a pit in his stomach, but he did become gloomy for a while. ‘It is not just the prices for energy but the price for food and drinks has also risen considerably. That makes life a bit more difficult. I'm glad that my parents help out financially.’
How the Spanish student is arming himself against rising prices? ‘You can’t do very much, but I am going to turn on the heating less often in the winter, or at least lower it. And I need to start investing in good winter clothing again. Then I will put on a warm sweater indoors.'
Doing the dishes with cold water
The new gas price has also not gone unnoticed on the Calslaan, at least not with Beatrice Beretta. ‘Intense’, says the psychology student. ‘Together we already paid quite a lot as a house. And then we are now going to pay many times more.’ According to Beretta, extra savings will not help much. ‘We have been doing that for a year. The heating in the communal area is always turned off because it is a waste to use energy on that. We can pay better attention to the lamps, or do the dishes with cold water, but otherwise, we can do very little. Cold showers are too much for me.’
Her neighbour, Guido Tiggelman (Business Information Technology), reacts a bit cooler to the price increase. ‘I believe it was the tenth time I got a message about gas prices, while I have only been living here since September.’ Despite the many emails, he does not panic. ‘I can’t really influence it. If it gets really cold, I will be a little more careful with the heating, but otherwise, I will see how it works out.'
For the four students and the other campus residents, it is now mainly a case of waiting for whether politicians will come up with an answer to the student’s situation. Talks in The Hague and between universities are ongoing, but it remains to be seen whether and when this will yield results.