Column: Why the UT should hand out Christmas packages

| Bas Leijser

In this biweekly column, Bas Leijser gives his unfiltered opinion on university life, with a bit of sarcasm and Dutch directness mixed in. In his free time, Bas likes to graduate for his master in Civil Engineering & Management.

Photo by: RIKKERT HARINK

Last week one of the student organizations at the UT decided to send a beer crate to DUO. The gesture was meant as a thank you to DUO for providing us with a huge debt at the start of our careers and enslaving us to the government. Still, I cannot help but like the idea of this symbolic message.

Personally, I would have sent some 0,0% beer and made a joke about the favourable interest rate, but I applaud the initiative regardless.

Sending beer, of all things, is also quite ironic, since this is exactly what all students spent their study grants on. At least, that’s what concerned citizens used to claim. This crate in particular was probably also paid for with DUO money.

To those young readers who don’t know what a study grant is: in the good old days, you would actually receive compensation to study, like in any self-respecting knowledge-based economy.

Nowadays, you start your 5 to 7-year journey of self-discovery and self-improvement with a loan. A loan that, for paying your college tuition alone, will set you back 10,000 to 14,000 euros in debt. Lo and behold if you decide to live in the Hogekamp, then you can probably triple that money.

Then there is the necessary beer to mentally survive your study (I have calculated about two crates per 1 EC suffices) and you are personally financing a large part of the Hogekamp or Technohal. Be sure to enjoy the aesthetics and educational quality of those buildings when you ever partake in a reunion.

But I digress. You see, the news about the beer crate made me realise something: why don’t we – that means us, the students – get something from the university?

Let me elaborate. Perhaps you are familiar with the phenomenon known as a ‘Christmas package’. Those precious few students who combine their study with something where you actually learn useful skills and get paid for it (more commonly known as ‘work’), have surely experienced this.

The idea is that Christmas is a time of generosity and thus you receive a package full of nice things from your employer.

Crazy thought. Why not use, say, 2.5% of the tuition fee of each student to give them a nice Christmas Package? That’s about 50 euros. Get some boxes, fill them with food, add some UT socks, a choice between Grolsch beer or Twente wine, and you are good to go.

Alternatively, the UT could opt for a ‘13th month’ bonus, where you get an extra 5 EC for free at the end of December.

All jokes aside, I believe Christmas packages for students is truly something that will pay-off long term, if only for the media exposure and distinction to other universities. Also, I am sure someone in the UT management board will go nuts over making the package fit the ‘high tech human touch’ theme.

So, let’s start working on this right now. And in order to get the attention of the executive board, I propose we send them a beer crate.