Chairwoman Veerle Petersen fondly remembers her Eureka week as a freshman in 2019. “I walked into Ahoy for the opening ceremony and thought: ‘Jeez, it’s huge!’ The week was overwhelming, but the programmes helped me get around. I’m also still friends with fellow students I met during Eurekaweek.”
As inclusive as possible
She hopes everyone will get such a good start. “We want everyone to feel welcome”, says the master student in Medical Business and Innovation. “We are focusing on diversity and inclusion this year. To this end, we are collaborating with the IDEA Center, which is dedicated to achieving inclusive working and learning environments at EUR. For example, the IDEA Center has contributed ideas on how we can reach different students, and it reviews our texts and offers advice on inclusive language.”
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Students with disabilities can apply to the Eurekaweek Management (formerly known as Eurekaweek board). “That way, we can come up with an individual solution together. For example, we can provide an alternative walking route for participants in wheelchairs, or we can inform photosensitive participants how many visual stimuli there will be for each event.”
Confidential advisers are present
The well-being of participants is the main thing, according to Petersen. Eurekaweek’s confidential advisers will be available by telephone 24 hours a day for participants who want to talk to someone about their mental well-being. “We will also have hosts at every event. These are students from the Living Room to whom participants can talk. They will be clearly recognisable”, Petersen says. The Eurekaweek Management is keen to promote all mental health initiatives during the week. “We think this is important, since students who need help later on in their studies will already know who they can turn to”, she says.
‘I just jumped in at the deep end’
Petersen herself knows better than anyone how students can struggle with their mental health. “Like many students, I had a tough time during the pandemic. I became more and more insecure. Finally, I thought: I need a challenge”, she reflected. Last year, she worked as part of the crew for Eurekaweek. She liked it so much that she applied to become the chair. “I just jumped in at the deep end”, she laughs.
Like last year, the organisation is aiming for a sustainable Eurekaweek. All of the food will be vegetarian, and participants will use reusable cups. “We are doing everything we can to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible.”
Petersen and her team currently still have 50 days of hard work ahead of them to get everything done the way they envisage it. “But I’m looking forward to seeing happy faces at the end of the Night of the Songs. Once participants have had a fantastic week and everything has gone smoothly and safely, that’s when our hard work will really have been worth it.”