FSE appeals to students: Donate your safety goggles and masks
FSE appeals to students:
‘Donate your safety goggles and masks’
If you have any safety goggles, disposable gloves, or face masks lying around, Theo Jurriens is asking you to hand them in. Healthcare facilities need them.
Using the hashtag #allebrillenverzamelen (#collectallthegoggles) Jurriens, communication adviser for the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), is trying to reach his students online. ‘I can guarantee you no one is using their safety goggles right now’, he says. In the meantime, healthcare facilities in the north of the Netherlands are suffering a shortage of medical equipment due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
‘Please give your equipment to people who need it’, says Jurriens. Students can drop off their things at MartiniPlaza, where a central collection point has been set up. In addition to face masks and disposable gloves, people can also donate surgical masks, and even goggles to protect against fireworks.
Distributed as needed
All the materials collected at MartiniPlaza will be distributed to the healthcare facilities as needed. ‘Please hand in what you have; they really need it’, says Jurriens.
FSE has donated four hundred pairs of safety goggles. ‘The biologists showed up with disposable gloves and disinfectant. I hope the students follow in their footsteps and take their stuff to the MartiniPlaza.’
The medical equipment can be handed in at MartiniPlaza every day between noon and six p.m., including on the weekends. UMCG staff is on hand to approve the materials.
Faculty council: FEB wait for study advisers should be shorter
FEB wait for study advisers should be shorter
The waiting list to get an appointment with the study adviser at the Faculty of Economics and Business is too long. The faculty council says this has to change.
‘Students are made to wait three or even four weeks before they can get an appointment’, says Reender Reenders, faction chair with De Vrije Student. After complaints, his party investigated. They found that for nineteen weeks out of the academic year, the average wait time is just under three weeks. ‘That’s only the average; the maximum wait can be much longer’, says Reenders.
Difficult to plan
A memo by Student Support, which was discussed during last week’s faculty council meeting because of Reenders’ questions, says that students aren’t sufficiently available for appointments, among other things. ‘But planning classes is also difficult. I get the feeling that the faculty is trying to make the problem look smaller than it is.’
But the board says it’s not that simple. Vice dean Manda Broekhuis knows that students don’t always pick the first available time slot because they aren’t available, and sometimes deliberately select a later time slot, which makes it look like the wait time (between making an appointment and the appointment itself) is longer. ‘But that’s the students’ choice, which changes things.’
Reenders was also told that student could send an e-mail or phone the adviser. ‘But that’s not entirely fair. Also, the phone line is only for quick questions.’ Reenders says this doesn’t solve real problems.
Any e-mails sent go to the Student Support account and not to study advisers directly. The board acknowledges that there’s room for improvement here and will look into whether they can add the study advisers’ e-mail addresses to their website.
Reenders points out that the number of students at the faculty has increased, while the number of study advisers hasn’t. ‘It’s no wonder, really.’
If it’s up to the faculty council, the maximum wait time will become ten days. The board said they’d start thinking about a plan of attack to shorten the wait times.
‘Faculty councils should translate meeting documents’
‘Faculty councils should translate documents’
Faculty councils exclude internationals by making meeting documents available only in Dutch. This should change, says Daan van Gulik, vice president of the Behavioural and Social Sciences faculty council.
‘This is no longer in line with a university that wants to be internationally oriented’, says Van Gulik. He feels that faculty councils do not accurately reflect the makeup of the faculty. Until January this year, there were no international students in the BSS faculty council.
‘I feel like the participation councils aren’t properly accessible to them’, says Van Gulik. International students are officially allowed to run for council, but they often don’t because they don’t understand the Dutch meeting documents. ‘I grew up with Dutch as a native language and even I have trouble understanding the documents sometimes.’
There is a translator present at the BSS faculty meetings, but Van Gulik has proposed to release the documents in English from now own. The faculty board was not immediately enthusiastic about this. ‘I understand, because it costs time and money. But the university has a big internationalisation budget, so they should invest in these kinds of things.’
The board will now be looking into a professional translation program. ‘That’s an intermediate solution that I can live with’, says Van Gulik. ‘But ultimately, we should have them professionally translated. After all, we’re a professional international organisation.’
Nephew’s teeth could give definitive answer about count Adolf’s fate
Lammert Doedens (centre) with the coffin belonging to Adolf’ cousin. Photo: Tjerk Bekius
Nephew’s teeth could tell us about count Adolf’s fate
For years, University Museum historian Lammert Doedens has been looking for the missing count Adolf van Nassau. The solution to the mystery appears closer than ever.
Adolf, brother to William of Orange, was killed in the Battle of Heiligerlee (1568), but no one knows what happened to his body. In Oldenburg, Doedens found remains that might belong to the count, but if he wants proof, he needs a DNA match.
On Tuesday, he went to Dillenburg in Germany to open up the coffin belonging to one of Adolf’s great-nephews in the town church. Originally, he’d also planned to look inside the coffin belonging to another nephew; both are descendants of Adolf’s brother Jan van Nassau. However, this second coffin was sealed too tightly. ‘We would have destroyed it, which is obviously not something we want’, says Doedens.
The original, wooden coffin – sealed in a metal tomb – was in great condition: ‘We were really happy with that alone.’ The discovery he made upon opening the coffin made him even happier: ‘The body was practically mummified’, he says. ‘This means we’ll have a great chance to extract a DNA profile.’
Years ago, Doedens found the remains of an unknown male in the St. Lamberti Church in Oldenburg. Research showed that the man was between twenty and thirty years old, that he wasn’t related to the counts of Oldenburg, and that he wasn’t born in the surrounding area. Could this be Adolf van Nassau? Attempts so far to find DNA from one of his relatives have failed.
Anthropologist Birgit Großkopf with the University of Göttingen, who is part of the research team, took DNA material from two teeth belonging to the nephew in Dillenburg on Tuesday to compare to the Oldenburg bones. Now, after all these years, Doedens’ search for Adolf van Nassau might come to an end. ‘In eight weeks, we’ll know if we succeeded’, he says with a sigh.
Party for internationals gives up seat in BSS faculty council
Party for internationals gives up seat in BSS faculty council
After more than three months, the empty student seat in the Behavioural and Social Sciences faculty council has been filled. But not by the party that won the seat. Daan van Gulik, the faculty council’s vice-chairperson, explains.
The seat won by STUN (Student United) has been taken over by PSB. Isn’t that deceiving the voters?
‘If you put it like that, sure. But you could also say that standing as a candidate who wants to represent international students and then not turning up is deceiving them even more. I think this can be seen as the lesser of two evils.’
Why did the previous student member quit?
‘The student was an international from STUN, the party representing internationals. We realised that he had trouble participating in the meetings. That’s why he didn’t always show up. The same thing happened last year, so we’d been having a conversation with him in the hopes that he’d be more motivated this year.’
‘But earlier this academic year he said that he wasn’t able to do it anymore. I had a talk with him and together we decided that we’d look for a different international for the council.’
You’d think he knew what he was getting into?
‘You would. But I understand where he’s coming from. The meetings are all in Dutch. We’ve tried to have them in English, but it just didn’t work out. His studies were also taking up a lot of his time. I told him I thought it was great he was on the council, but that it couldn’t go on like this. We reached this decision.’
How did the process of switching the seat go?
‘We made sure to really talk about it with STUN. We didn’t just ask them if we could take their seat. First, we asked if they couldn’t just come to the meeting, but that was not going to happen. It was a shame, because it does waste the students’ vote.’
We asked them how they would feel if we looked for a representative international student in our party. They were fine with it. Next, we went to the central polling committee, to see if this was actually allowed. It’s unusual, but it was okay.’
All this happened back in September. It took you guys until January to find a replacement. Why did it take so long?
‘Finding a new student member was really difficult. We had a lot of interviews, and it’s not an easy decision for the student, either. It was also an unusual procedure, since we weren’t having any elections for the position. We underestimated the search a little. Turns out it’s pretty difficult to explain to students what the council does exactly.’
Linnaeusborg closed around Christmas
Andrys Weitenberg, housing manager of FSE, in the Linnaeusborg. Photo Felipe Silva
Work on ventilation channels
Linnaeusborg closed around Christmas
The Linnaeusborg will be closed on December 23, 24, and 27. The central ventilation system needs a lot of work.
‘The planned operation will prepare the main air ducts for the expansion of these channels’, says Faculty of Science and Engineering housing manager Andrys Weitenberg.
According to him, the maintenance will make it unsafe for people to be in the building, since the lack of ventilation greatly increases the chance someone inhales something harmful. ‘We can’t take that risk.’
The work is needed to make room for the prestigious Chemical Building Blocks Research Centre (CBBC), which should be finished in April. The CBBC is a collaborative project between the universities in Groningen, Utrecht, and Eindhoven. Big companies such as Akzo Nobel are also involved. The centre will be doing fundamental chemical research to find out how the world should handle the demand for resources.
‘We specifically picked the days around Christmas’, says Weitenberg. It’s usually really quiet around that time. ‘If we did it at a later time, a lot of research would get in trouble.’ They’ve already come up with a solution for the people who will be affected by the building closing. ‘We mainly adjusted the planning.’
It’s possible that the Linnaeusborg will have to close again before the CBBC opens in April. Weitenberg currently can’t say much about that since the definitive planning hasn’t yet been completed. It will be finished in early January at the latest. ‘But’, says Weitenberg emphatically, ‘we’ll try to do as much as possible around Christmas, so we don’t have to close again next year.’