Studying with impact: students help organisations with solutions to social issues.

Luann Hunt

How to motivate Rotterdam citizens to stop smoking at tram and bus stops? And how can the sexual safety of students on campus be improved? These and other questions Rotterdam organisations provided to the students of the minor Positive behavioural change in the digital age. For 10 weeks, 52 students worked on various societal issues of eight different organisations. After delving into various behavioural and communication theories and working intensively with the organisations, the students presented valuable solutions for use in practice. One of the participating organisations, MEgood, asked students to help them with the question "How can blood bank Sanquin motivate (future) donors to donate plasma?". Dana Dosset and Adriaan den Ouden, founders of MeGood, tell about the collaboration with students: "It was refreshing".

What is MEgood?

MEgood is a start-up that specialises in creating (serious) games based on Sustainable Development Goals and Corporate Social Responsiblity. With our games and practical challenges, we want to help people make changes in their lives that improve our world.

For which problem did you ask the help of students?

We have a collaboration with the blood bank Sanquin. Together with Sanquin, we are looking at how to motivate more people to donate blood plasma. We asked the students to investigate whether gamification (using game elements to encourage behavioural change) is a suitable method for this.

What solutions did they come up with?

The students came up with several ideas for a possible app for donors. For instance, they recommended the use of role models and the use of a points system and push notifications for the app. They also came up with the idea of a buddy system so that you can donate together with a friend. Finally, they suggested letting donors know afterwards how their plasma was used. In short, lots of different ideas that we can apply in our game challenges for Sanquin.

What was it like working with students?

It was very refreshing! A total of ten students worked on this research, and all of them had different backgrounds. Some chose the subject for the (psychological) behavioural or medical aspect, and others simply from the motivation to save lives. You notice that the students get a good overview of the latest scientific knowledge on behaviour change in ten weeks. We also liked seeing the enthusiasm with which they work to deliver good results for their clients. Highly recommended if you ask us!

Examples of the students' solutions

More information

The minor Positive behavioural change in the digital age is a collaboration between several research labs (Movez, BRICS and Love Lab) and the Erasmus Verbindt student initiative. The minor teaches students to combine behavioural and communication strategies with digital media. During the minor, students work on a social issue of an organisation. In ten weeks, they design an intervention that contributes to a healthier, happier, pro-social and more sustainable life. In the 2022/23 academic year, in addition to MEgood, the following organisation participated: Rotterdam Library, Erasmus Love Lab, Erasmus Movez Lab, Municipality of Rotterdam, EUR Student wellbeing project and Youngxperts.

Interested in the results or curious whether students can also get started with an issue of your organisation? Contact Crystal Smit at

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Rafique and Maxime completed the minor Positive behavioural change in the digital age. They designed interventions for better contraception choices and phubbing

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