A plan to create a central bureau for the organization of ingoing and outgoing study tours won first prize during the first ever Participation Day, that took place on Wednesday.

The Participation Day, hosted in the C-Hall (Theil building), targeted to involve students and staff, giving them the chance to discuss their opinions and suggestions with members of various advisory boards and executive board. The need for an event like this stems from the lack of participation detected  by the Executive Board and the University Council among students and employees at EUR. Prior to the event, anybody on campus had been invited to submit their suggestions to improve the quality of EUR in any of its aspects. The three best ideas were selected to be pitched during the event, consequently one of them was crowned the best idea.

‘Dutch people are a really closed community’

Participation Day photo Giorgia
Seven tables were organized in the C Hall to host the event Image credit: Giorgia Chiesa

Seven burning topics were discussed around seven tables. At the end of the day, the moderators at each table shared with the participants some of the reoccurring topics they encountered. One of them was the issue of internationalization. While EUR seems to be working hard in that direction, there is still a long way to go. Although the majority of Dutch people masters a good level of English, it was pointed out that the Dutch are a really closed community which is difficult to penetrate. Furthermore, the thick and elitist system of student associations appeared to  constitute a barrier to integration.

Many were the complaints about the lack of study spots which were discussed at the campus table. This is no news as, since Polak building has opened, complaints about the decreasing of study spots have been flocking in. EUR has also been accused to hold unrealistic expectations of excellence consequently overburdening the students and staff members of workload. The moderator of the campus table called for a lowering of expectations if we want to reverse this issue.

’A one stop shop for study tours’

Winners photo Giorgia
Bart Scheenard and Eva Lejeune won the final prize Image credit: Giorgia Chiesa

The winning idea to create a central office for ingoing and outgoing study tours is the fruit of Mr. Scheenard, and Mrs. Lejeune’s collaboration. Both working at RSM, Mr. Scheenard works as marketing and admission manager for the MBA program, whereas Mrs. Lejeune is a program manager for MBA. The pair has detected communication issues which they intent to solve thru the implementation of a central bureau. The office would take care of international relations and both ingoing and outgoing tours. In their vision, this would also benefit the international aspect of EUR, boost collaboration among departments and add to the revenue stream of the university. It is not clear whether such bureau would concern all faculties as no other entity other than RSM was mentioned.

The other two pitches showed to be fierce competitors as the number of votes on each side where rather similar. Mrs. Heemskerk  , student advisor at IBCoM, proposed a system that can match EUR staff with similar tasks so that ideas can be shared, boosting collaboration among employees. Mrs. Schey, employee at RSM, suggested to introduce a central reorientation office where students who leave their studies can still be reoriented within EUR facilities.  Interestingly, both ideas came from members of the EUR, as did the winning idea, no ideas coming from students were selected.

'Looking at the Future'

The prize consisted of a dinner for two people at Erasmus Pavilion. Most importantly, the winning pair will get the opportunity to discuss their idea with Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board, deciding on how to implement it.

Overall, the event attracted a sufficient number of participants, although most of them appeared to be either part of the University Council or the Study Council. Few were the students that had no strings attached to the organization of the event, but still participated.