The Economic Faculty association Rotterdam (EFR) used to occupy what may well have been the finest office of all for the associations set up at Tinbergen. HB-108 was situated on Tinbergen’s ground floor, between the Theil Hall and the cafeteria. EFR’s Marketing Officer Daphne Lodder is particularly disappointed that students no longer drop by any hour of the day. “In Tinbergen, footfall was a lot better than at our current location in the G Building. As an association, we’re here to serve the students – so it’s a shame when you have fewer people dropping by than you’re used to.” Although EFR would have preferred to stay in Tinbergen, according to Lodder the association could have still done a lot worse.


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N Building

Two other associations are far less happy with where they ended up after vacating their offices in Tinbergen. Financial Study Association Rotterdam (FSR) and Marketing Association EUR (MAEUR) were both set up in the N Building – which was slated for demolition but is now undergoing an overhaul. “The builders need to drill every once in a while, which makes a hell of a racket,” says MAEUR Secretary and Vice President Naomi Hoekert. And she’s far from enamoured with the location of their new office: “They stuck us in the basement. There’s not that much daylight, and the heating conks out every once in a while. Not the best conditions to work in.”

Lack of space

And there are other problems with the building besides, according to her colleague Marketing Coordinator Andrew Gebhard: “Since we haven’t been issued a key tag, we never know for sure whether we can access our office after 6 p.m. – even though we’re used to working evenings and weekends. And we’re not allowed to get coffee from the building’s coffee corner, which was never a problem in Tinbergen.” The building also detracts from the association’s image of professionalism, according to the two board members. And the MAEUR offices are too small. “This actually affects the university too,” says Hoekert. “Since we don’t have enough space for our meetings, we’re forced to book locations elsewhere. This doesn’t just cost us time and money; it also means we occupy other rooms on campus – even though there’s a shortage of space as it is.”

This lack of room is also brought up by FSR. They don’t have a storage space in the N Building, and the offices are smaller than at Tinbergen. FSR isn’t a faculty association, and president Baus Verbeek feels they’ve fell between two stools. “Our association is completely independent. But of course, we’d prefer to stay close to our department and the professors we work with. And it’s quite annoying that our committee members don’t have work areas of their own.”

Not a priority

What bugs the associations the most is the sense that the university has left them in the cold. Gebhard: “It doesn’t feel like we’re a priority for the university – nor do we believe they’re working to find a solution.” Verbeek is vexed by the fact that they had to move prematurely. “Of course, we knew we had to relocate at some point. But now that the renovation has been postponed until 2022, it feels like a shame we couldn’t stay on in Tinbergen for longer.”

The board members of both associations say they’ve brought up these issues with the university administrators on various occasions – to no avail. Gebhard: “Time and time again, the message fails to get through. Our contact has tried every possible angle, but the university doesn’t always seem able to deliver on its promises.” Verbeek also refers to problems in the association’s communications with the university. “It’s difficult, since we aren’t always entirely sure about whom we need to speak with within the EUR organisation to actually get something done.”

Erasmus University’s Director of Real Estate Services Geert Gerritse is surprised to hear the associations’ complaints. It’s the first he hears of these issues, and he emphasises that the university didn’t aim to disadvantage the study associations when it pushed back the renovation. “Until early February, the Tinbergen renovation was running on schedule. That’s why the study associations had already moved house – this was before we decided to set up study areas in the Tinbergen Building.”

Campus chock-full

Although the associations don’t necessarily insist on moving back into Tinbergen, they do want the university to think along about an alternative. But according to Gerritse, for the time being this is the best they can hope for. “The entire campus is chock-full, we basically have no alternatives. And it wouldn’t make sense to move the associations back into Tinbergen now that we’re setting up study areas in the building.”