The Ravelijn was already filled with diabolic dilemmas even before eight o’ clock for the hundreds of visitors of the New Year’s breakfast: meat or veggie, an apple or an egg? And what to do with the colleagues? After all, it was the first New Year’s breakfast without any noteworthy corona restrictions. Thus, some chose for the traditional yet ever awkward three kisses, others decided upon a friendly handshake while the somewhat distanced corona-nod or -wave was still omnipresent.
Once the plates were emptied, the stomachs filled and the Christmas holidays reviewed, the Executive Board reported to the stage. All three members called for solidarity and kinship in their own words. Vice president Machteld Roos explicitly mentioned the African Ubuntu philosophy – the concept of human interconnection.Rector Tom Veldkamp discussed recognition and rewards and the new educational vision. ‘It’s not about the policy, or talking about policy. It’s about making a difference together.’
President of the Executive Board Vinod Subramaniam utilized the microphone to berate the recently announced recruitment suspension for international students. ‘I believe that international students and staff belong at this university. The same goes for Dutch students and staff. Regardless of one’s origin, together we are making this university to what it is today.’
With this statement, he garnished a loud applause. He continued by pointing out the challenges ahead for the UT. ‘Corona is not gone, let’s not forget that. The war in Ukraine is still ongoing. We have an energy crisis as well as a climate crisis we are in the middle of.’ As such, another call for kinship followed: 'We are going to tackle this together. We invest countercyclically and thus sail close to the wind. With that, we think we are doing the right thing in these times.'
Traditional for the New Year's breakfast is also the presentation of the UT media awards: a certificate, gift voucher and a bouquet. Student team Electric Superbike Twente won in the student category and the 'PhD Media Award' went to PhD candidate Rianne Bulthuis, for research into breast cancer screening using photoacoustics. The 'Social Media Award' was for Pieter-Tjerk de Boer, who garnered massive media attention for the 'WebSDR' system he developed which was used to intercept Russian military communication.
In third place was public administration expert Marcel Boogers, who frequently speaks to media about local governance. Second place went to Azadeh Akbari, a researcher at the Faculty of BMS who advocates for women's rights in her home country Iran and saw a submitted article published by The Guardian. The first prize went to Maarten van Aalst. The departing professor was frequently in the news last year when it came to climate reports, objectives and disasters.
The media award winners, accompanied by the Executive Board.
Before long, the coats were back on and the backpacks packed. Off to the offices, lecture halls, boardrooms and project rooms. An exodus in almost symbolic unison.