Student life

Humans of the OWee: Chair Berend de Vries is expecting a large crowd and a lot of fun

Who are the people behind the OWee? We talk to them in this series, starting with Berend de Vries, who wanted to grow his skills and became Chair of the Board.

“I hope that the people who come will get to know each other, will learn about Delft, and about what TU Delft and the universities of applied sciences have to offer.” (Photo: Bas Koppe)

Berend de Vries sped through his Maritime Engineering course. He joined an OWee committee last year to expand his skill set and is now the OWee Board  Chair.

When did you think that you wanted to organise the OWee?
“That was funny. I worked hard on my Maritime Engineering course, and after one-and-a-half years I had earned all my credits and decided that I did not want to complete my bachelor’s within the three years and then immediately do the master’s. I was looking for something to widen my horizons. Organising the OWee seemed like fun. So last year I became the Event Manager. This is a sub-committee which supports the Board. I arranged the meals for the Schie Dinner and the brunches for the student associations. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to join the Board.”

How did you become the Chair?
“You can be involved in a board in two ways: either you are invited to fulfil a position, or you jointly decide who does what. I enjoy working with the Board members, helping them, asking them how things are going and taking on a central role. After a lot of discussion and consultation, I became the Chair.”

What were your deciding qualities?
“You should really ask the rest of the Board. I think it is because I am good at mediating between groups. And I enjoy helping people if they find something difficult.”

‘It is going to bed late and getting up early’

Has position caused you many sleepless nights?
“Not that many. I usually get to sleep easily, but it does involve going to bed late and getting up early.”

Are there any new things in this OWee?
“We created the OWaterlympics which is open to everyone living in Delft. This event hopes to encourage the participants to do sports. The last few years has seen a regular drop in the number of people that regularly do sports. We are also working more closely with the Introduction Programme (IP, for master’s, exchange, and transition students, Eds.). The OWee attendees can go to the IP events and vice versa. This year we will also have a quiet programme at X (the sports and cultural centre, Eds.) for people who find the evening activities of the student associations too busy.”

The OWee is a week earlier this year to minimise problems for the people in Delft. Are you doing anything else about this?
“In the last few years there was a focus group of residents that heard about the OWee plans about one month in advance. This year we opted for four focus groups and we started them earlier, in April already. This meant that we could still change any plans. One thing that emerged from the talks was that all the parked bicycles for the Schie Dinner were causing problems, so we will now have more bicycle parking facilities. We will also have a susteam – a ‘hush team’ – of two security officers who will walk around the Wippolder neighbourhood at night and talk to people who are causing noise problems for the neighbours. And there are mobile tickers which we can use to promote our programme during the day and at night publish texts like ‘Think of the neighbours! Be quiet, including when on the move!’.”

How hard is it to keep everyone happy?
“I do not think you can. We try to calm the worries as best we can and to make sure that the OWee goes well for everyone.”

What are your personal expectations of this OWee?
“A large crowd and a lot of fun. And I hope that the people who come will get to know each other, will learn about Delft, and about what TU Delft and the universities of applied sciences have to offer.”

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News editor Bas Koppe

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