No matter how clever students are, they can’t know everything. So if you have any pressing questions, by all means ask EM. Because whatever it is you wish to learn, EM will be able to help you!

Mr Sanders & Mrs Polak

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Image credit: Unit 20

I’m sure it’s my age, but I just can’t seem to remember the buildings’ new names. Is there a mnemonic to help me do so?
A confused lecturer

According to Bjorn de Koning, an educational psychologist with the Faculty of Social Sciences, there are two psychological tricks you can use: a mnemonic (e.g. an acronym in the vein of ‘PEMDAS’) and a ‘method of loci’. “For instance, it is easier to remember the words “duvet”, “chocolate sprinkles”, “shower gel” and “jumper” when you visualise a trip through your home. From your bedroom, walk to the bathroom. Then go to your closet, then to the kitchen”, explains De Koning. In much the same way, you will be able to remember the buildings on campus. “Mrs Polak walked straight ahead to Mr Sanders, then turned right to pick up Mr Mandeville.” Acronyms may come in handy, as well. “They are particularly great if you can link them to something you already know. For instance, ‘HTM’, as in the transport company, could be used to refer to the Hoofd (main), Tinbergen and Mandeville buildings.”

The vanishing vagabond

I’m increasingly often coming across vagabonds in the city. How come I never see any on campus? Isn’t there enough money and compassion in these parts to fill up a vagabond’s hat with small change?
Julian de Busser, Rotterdam

Clearly, you have forgotten that most EUR students vote VVD (the Dutch liberal party). But, even if EUR were a leftist bulwark, it would not allow vagabonds on its premises. Since the campus is private property, the university gets to decide what goes on here. “Our procedure rules stipulate that people are not allowed to sell things, beg, hand out flyers, offer goods and make a nuisance of themselves by being drunk and hanging out in large groups”, university spokesperson Sandra van Beek explains. Therefore, vagabonds will be addressed and asked to leave. If they refuse to do so, the police will be contacted, which happens 2 or 3 times a year at most. People seeking to benefit others are more likely to be granted permission to stay on campus, provided they consult with the university first. “People must apply for permission to hold collections and charitable events here.”

Got a question for EM? E-mail it (anonymously) to erasmusmagazine@em.eur.nl, putting ‘readers’ questions’ in the subject line, or ask your question directly in the comments