Students Max Wagenaar and Emma Peters have won the Student Societal Impact Award with the project Erasmus Verbindt, which aims to be a link between the city and the university. They receive 4,500 euros, sponsored by the Erasmus Trust Fund, to further develop their initiative and ensure even more positive social impact. "A nice boost, which will enable us to continue with our projects, such as the launch of the City Walks podcast this autumn," says founder Max Wagenaar.
Podcasts, meetings and partnerships
How do we ensure that the knowledge and information from the region reaches the university and vice versa? And how do we do this in such a way that the students also learn of it? That is the mission of Erasmus Verbindt (EV). They do this via three programme lines: a podcast series, impact-oriented meetings between scientists, students and social organisations and, finally, they build sustainable partnerships between these parties.
Series on urgent topics
"A team of EUR students makes the City Walks podcast together with RTV Rijnmond and Codarts. EUR academics and Rotterdammers talk to each other about important themes that play a role in the city. Think about poverty, the climate crisis, youth crime. This autumn, we will launch the series", says philosophy student Max. There is also plenty happening in the second programme line. "Soon, there will be a speed-networking event for the Rotterdam cultural sector, EUR students and art-oriented scientists, to look together for new ways in which art and science can strengthen each other. Furthermore, 50 students are working on various major issues: the energy transition, combating discrimination in the housing market and the shortage of MBO internships in Rotterdam."
Max is proud of the dedication of his colleagues and fellow students. The pandemic (and especially the lockdown) has been a difficult and challenging time for both individual students and the initiative. "Fortunately, despite everything, we are doing very well. All thanks to the efforts of the Erasmus Verbindt colleagues. The programme lines are running well on schedule, the collaborations within the university and in the city are going smoothly and the enthusiasm among students remains high. This is truly a team effort."
Science and society exchange knowledge
The adventure is only just beginning for Erasmus Verbindt. The first projects and results are coming on stream. "I hope that in a year's time we will have been able to inform and inspire a large group of Rotterdammers about important developments in the city. That we have created all kinds of interesting crossovers between science and practice and that we have enabled 250 students to make a positive impact in Rotterdam - either through one of the study/internship assignments or as a team member within Erasmus Verbindt."
The goal is to make Erasmus Verbindt a "sustainably anchored student organisation". And to continue to carry out the mission of EUR's Strategy 2024: to have a positive social impact. "We feel that there is enormous potential in the initiative and that all the ingredients are present for this mission to succeed. There is so much relevant knowledge for society within the university. And vice versa. We will ensure that the right people come into contact with each other. I expect that in a year's time we will have taken a number of important steps towards making a sustainable and meaningful contribution to concrete connections between city and university."