“Among other things, we want to use the money to establish a buddy system,” says ESL’s Martijn Roos, the project leader. “It will not just be geared towards students with a migrant background. It will be an inclusive system, meaning that all first-year students who wish to receive some guidance from older students or from alumni can get it. Having a role model can be important to anyone.”

Students and higher education institutions were encouraged to apply for grants. Higher education institutions could apply for €300,000 grants, to be used over a three-year period, whereas students could receive up to €50,000 for a two-year project.

The most comprehensive application was submitted by the Erasmus School of Law, as part of the MyFuture-project. MyFuture’s main goal is to get students to reflect on what they actually wish to achieve with their degree. Thanks to the grant, the project will now be able to focus more on diversity, and the additional grant applied for by ESL’s students will help in this regard.

“Our students submitted an application independently from us because they value more diverse and inclusive teaching. We will need this money to further develop MyFuture. Over the next few years, people involved in the project will discuss inclusive teaching with people in the Faculty of Law.”

Diversity & Inclusiveness Working Group

The Erasmus MC working group that was awarded a grant was also initiated by students. They describe the project as a ‘platform in which students are empowered and encouraged to participate’. The students who submitted the application wish diversity to be incorporated into the study of medicine. For instance, they want lecturers to spend more time discussing epidemiological differences and the way in which the effects of therapy differ from one ethnic group to the next.

The Student-4-Students campaign is the result of former Minister for Education Jet Bussemaker’s promise to promote equal opportunities in education. Student-4-Students is specifically targeted at tertiary education. In the campaign team’s own words: “It is all about creating an educational environment in which all students, regardless of their cultural background, gender, upbringing, socio-economic position, sexual orientation, et cetera, can perform to the best of their ability and excel.”