On Tuesday night they organised a ‘Book Night’ in the Polak building to raise awareness of their venture. “The idea is to create an environment for people who like reading and discuss it”, Mariana Roberto, second year IBA student explained the concept of the night. Around twenty people from different parts of campus showed up for the first edition. It was cosy in an empty Polak classroom, with lo-fi music, chips, cookies, and hot chocolate. Everyone sat in a circle, eager to share their thoughts. The discussion was a sound board for ideas, such as how to learn more about the initiative, what books everyone likes to discuss and how often they should meet.
Student association Enactus in Maastricht started the first Bookpath and expanded to Rotterdam last year. The books are collected in a red box in the university library and are first sent to a British NGO, Books2Africa, where they sort the books based on which faculty they belong to.
“What we’re doing right now is is to try and raise money for our funding for the shipment”, the team leader, Mariana Roberto, says. To reach their goal of 300 euros for their shipment to the UK, the Bookpath team have started selling tote bags (which they purchased out of their own pockets) and organising Book Nights.
Every week, the team of six students empty the donation box and transports it to their storage in the Hatta building. So far, they’ve collected 250 books, and they’re expecting to reach their goal of 1,000 books by the summer. The collected books will be sent to institutions in Nigeria, Ethiopia and other countries.
This is a stark difference from last year. Due to the lockdown, the visibility of the project wasn’t very high as not many students were on campus to donate. The challenge they face this year, is to try and find additional donation spots on campus. “Each building operates separately, so we don’t always know who to contact for permission”, Niyakthi Tuvakkkat, a third year International Business Administration student, explained.
The team member, Carla Noguera (second-year IBEB), tells how the current storage is part of the Erasmus Sustainability Hub in the Hatta Building. “In exchange for storing our books there, we help them moving boxes.” The Hub also allowed Bookpath to sell their tote bags at some of the Hub events.
One of the participants of the Book Night, RSM student Aisha, was enthusiastic about the initiative. “This is always what I’ve been passionate about: to contribute to the quality of education. Education is the way to solve many social issues”.
Giang, a Public Administration student, was happy with the first meeting. “Education is something very near to my heart, so being able to help people be more equal makes me happy.”
All in all, the participants felt the first Book Night was a success. The Bookpath team hopes to host the Book Nights regularly to foster a love of reading and community and raise awareness of their initiative.