Eight campus projects that never saw the light of day

| Bas Leijser

‘The Lister’ is a biweekly series created by Bas Leijser, a UT MSc-student and writer at U-Today, who seeks to create order from chaos through the use of listicles. This time, he lists the eight potentially greatest campus projects that never saw the light of day.

Two weeks ago we listed the eight greatest engineering failures at the university. This time, we’re looking at a different type of failure: projects that for some reason never saw the light of day. From a pizza delivery robot to having a drone guard the campus, this list is truly as varied as the arguments for why TOM doesn’t work.

1. Guarding the campus with a drone

In January 2017, there were plans to have a drone guard the campus. Now, I know you’re already fantasizing about a MQ-9 Reaper firing laser-guided bombs at invading Saxion students, but this UAV would purely be used for observation. That is, when someone on campus would call the emergency number, the UAV would fly there to observe the situation and determine whether there was an actual emergency or just a drunk student (it should be noted that typically these two cases are related). The municipality was probably sick of all the prank calls but somehow the plans never came to fruition.

2. Having a robot deliver your pizza

Pizza delivery is the second highest-grossing trade at the campus, after cocaine. So, it makes sense to automate this trade and increase the profits. Can’t see what could possibly go wrong by replacing humans with machines.

Back in 2016, there were serious plans to have a robot deliver pizzas on campus. This 18km/h beast would be stationed near the campus security, with the excuse that the security can then keep an eye on it; but let’s be honest here, they probably like pizzas just as much as the average student. I have no idea why this project was cancelled, because truly this should be the highest priority of the university. Raise our tuition fees if you have to.

3. The six million euro mistake

Speaking of tuition fees, it may please you to know that the combined tuition fee of approximately 3000 students was strategically used because the university actually self-identifies as a bank. How, you ask? Well, this money was loaned to Greece the CMI (Centre for Medical Imaging), which the Executive Board did not expect they would ever pay back (sounds like my study debt). The Board commented that “even though this is a case of capital destruction, we made this very investment to decrease the risk of capital destruction.” Truly, the strategic genius of the university is beyond the comprehension of us mere mortals.

4. Smartflower at the entrance

How do you market your university as a sustainable university, even though you don’t actually want to do much with sustainability at all? Simple, you place a smartflower solar panel monument near the entrance. This 6-meter high structure adjusts its position relative to the sun and can generate enough electricity for about one average student who plays way too many videogames. Price: 13-14k euros. The initiator called it a “step in the right direction to become more sustainable”. I call it form over function, and marketing over just filling all that wasted space on the Spiegel and Horst with solar panels.

5. Green Office Twente

Speaking of sustainability, in 2016 there was a proposal to have a green office at the university. The universities of Maastricht, Groningen, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam already have one. What is a Green Office, you ask? Well, it may be hard for you to grasp, like citizens of North-Korea imagining what it’s like to be free, but it’s basically a place for democratic universities that want to be more sustainable. It’s where the magic happens. Here, students can work on projects to make the university more sustainable / robust / <insert your favourite buzzword here>.

6. Making the university more sustainable

Not so much a specific failed project, but in general the university likes to present itself as a sustainable, green campus. And from the upper floors of the Horst (or the Hogekamp, but don’t tell anyone that I went there), it really looks like we’re just a bunch of treehuggers living in a forest. That makes it all the more sad when, in a worldwide selection of greenest universities, Twente is missing while TU Delft makes it to the top 10 just because they put some grass on top of their library. Clearly, we should either get our own green roof or do something about our marketing.

7. Windmill on campus

In 2016, the municipality of Enschede considered a location behind the Gallery as potentially suitable for a windmill. With all the research that we’ve done on improving windmills at the university, it is certainly surprising that we don’t have one ourselves. Unless you count that small windmill near WOT (Werkgroep OntwikkelingsTechnieken), but well, size matters. Surely, the university is swimming in cash after hosting all those educational hardstyle/music festivals, and part of that money can be used for a practical purpose. Oh, who am I kidding?

8. Gondola at the UT

Do you remember 2008? Some UT students may not, since this year we will even get an influx of students who were born in or after 2000 (those will always seem like children to me). Anyway, life was better in 2008, and the UT had plans for a gondola between the Horst, Spiegel, and Hogekamp (but sadly, no skiing ramp from the Hogekamp!). The estimated deadline was 2020, just like the initial plans to put a man (or woman, sorry, have to be politically correct) on Mars, but both plans are equally hopeless.