Finding the right information when you need it can be a problem, especially if you’re new to Erasmus University. In December, Dennis Sprengers (third-year BA student) launched www.erasmusforum.nl, which he hopes will be an effective way for students to find the information they need.

“Publicity services at the campus are temporary and have certain terms”, Dennis explains. “For example the posters advertising book-sales, need authorisation before they can be put up. This made me think about a more efficient and liberal way to provide information on these issues to students. I also noticed that certain information I have been looking for is scattered. What is more, foreign universities often provide online forums; Erasmus was lacking one. That is why I came up with erasmusforum.nl.”

Lots of possibilities

There is room for anything: there is a division of faculties, there are separate sections for internships and books and there is even a thread for feedback and suggestions on the forum, which is checked regularly. It allows students to communicate with other students and it aims to make student life at the EUR more efficient, enabling students to make informed decisions based on others’ experiences. If a thread is considered important enough it will be made ‘sticky’ by the moderators, and is placed at the top of the forum so it will be the first thing students will read, like for example information on the Business Week.

Some threads will be in Dutch, others in English. The only limitation is that only organisations within the university will be allowed. “They are free to open threads of their own. They can, for example, advertise certain events. I have no problem with student organisations using the forum, although I will not allow for banners and such, since they could suggest affiliations between us and that organisation. I want to uphold this forum’s independence and keep it non-commercial”, Dennis says.

Inappropriate behaviour

As far as inappropriate behaviour is concerned he says: “I expect students to do their best in maintaining a certain quality of communication. Otherwise they will be banned by the moderators. I do not expect students to misbehave, especially since they are informed of the rules when they register as a member.” About the future Dennis says: “Right now I am hosting the website and I am covering any expenses. Should the bandwidth usage increase drastically, I will have to make one of two choices: I can start maintaining the forum through advertising, or apply for a sponsorship, preferably by the university. Both of these will generate an income I can cover the costs with. I prefer a sponsorship.

Erasmusforum.nl is a website about living and studying in Rotterdam. All students of Erasmus University can send, read and reply to messages on the forum. Different sections offer a podium to discuss classes, study materials and information on internships and sidejobs, among other things. There is a separate forum for international students, making it easier for this group to find their way around campus and all of Rotterdam.