Humans of TU Delft: Sophie Smits

Master’s student Sophie Smits believes volunteer work can have a big impact on people. As a board member of Studenten Vrijwilligerswerk Delft, she’s helping bridge the gap between students and organisations who need their help.

Sophie Smits: “I learned that Delft is so much bigger than our campus.” (Photo: Heather Montague)

“Some of the student organisations at TU Delft have had volunteer work on their agendas for a long time but it never really happened. They wanted to set up a platform because there is a gap between the local residents of Delft and the students. Now there is an agreement between TU Delft and the city of Delft that is a way to bring them together.

We started with a committee of four people from different student societies. Then we began building a website and we went to a lot of events to get connected with organisations to work with. There are lots of students that want to do something for the city, but often they don’t know how to start. We want to create a platform for people looking to volunteer and for organisations offering opportunities.

The organisations are very flexible because they know students are busy. But they are happy with all of the help they can get. It might be having dinner with someone or cooking for people who can’t cook themselves. Not only do students get free food sometimes, but you mean something to the person you’re helping. Things that are very simple for us can be very difficult for someone else. Just a short conversation or going to the grocery store for someone, it can be so nice if you can’t do it yourself. I think you really have to try voluntary work because you learn how much it means to people.

During my board year for my student society, I learned that Delft is so much bigger than our campus. There are so many people who build Delft as a city. I felt sometimes when I was talking to local people or organising events that I could be a bridge between the students and the city. There can be so many misunderstandings that students are causing problems sometimes and I really wanted to show people that students can also have a positive influence on the city. We can help one another and that was my main motivation.”

Heather Montague / Freelance writer

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