Name: Sander van der Kaaij

Age: 21

Study: Master in Public Administration

President: the student section in the University Council. These are the twelve students (from all departments) that are chosen for the council. The period for which they are selected is one year.

Chairman since: September 2015

Motto: “Change starts at home”


How did you come to be president?

“Students decide among themselves who will do what.”

And are you busy?

“Well, it easily takes up 20 to 25 hours a week, including the six meetings every month. As I am doing an internship with the CDA (Christian Democratic Alliance) parliamentary group in the Lower House for my studies, I do my work for the University Council mainly on the train, in the evening and during the weekend.”

Is it difficult?

“If you take something seriously, you have to take your time to do it. And this takes time, absolutely. But it does not take so much time that I am overburdened.”

Is it fun being part of such a participation body?

“Participation is far removed from many students. But I have noticed after a period of seven months that you can make a big difference. We discuss everything on the council from reorganisations to the purpose for which student loan resources should be used. We notice that they listen to us, including the members of the Board. This means that you as a student can make a difference.”

You sound driven …

Of course. You are always taken seriously, by both colleagues and the Board. And the work is never in vain.”

So, things are going well?

Yes. This suits me. I enjoy talking, giving my opinion and contributing ideas within an organisation. As a student on the University Council you weigh interests, make decisions, and that is satisfying; even if the scale at which you work appears to be small.”

Are you a consensus type?

“The fact that we meet twice a month means that we have plenty of time to talk and listen to each other in order to establish a single position. I would prefer the student delegation to present a united front towards the outside world, but I understand and accept that this is not always possible.”

Has there always been a president hiding inside you?

Yes, I was already president of the student council at my high school the Marnix Gymnasium in Rotterdam.”

Are you a political animal?

“I do have ambitions in that area, yes.”

You like to get involved in everything.

“I enjoy being a thorn in the side. Especially for serving the interests of others, because that is important to me. Whether this is at the university on the University Council or as member of the Albrandswaard CDA section, which includes my own place of residence Rhoon, or in The Hague.”

Is this in your genes?

“I come from a CDA family. My parents and grandparents were all politically involved, although they were never really active.”

Do you have something like a social life left?

“I am a planner who tries to make time for everything, which includes my social life. And that is working out. Incidentally, my work for the University Council is also a social event; the council has great people on it and we always go to De Smitse or another bar for a drink in the city after the Wednesday meeting.”