Student life
Volunteer work

The StudentDoet-day ‘takes students out of their bubble’

On StudentDoet-dag dozens of students went volunteering at civil society organisations. The day ended with a concert on the Prinsenhof. Delta was there too.

Dressed as the Girl with the Pearl Earring, Irma Scheurink abseils from the Sint Jansbrug club building. (Photos: Thijs van Reeuwijk)

Something special is going on at the Sint-Jansbrug student association at Oude Delft. The Girl with the Pearl Earring – the best known painting by Delft’s most famous resident, Johannes Vermeer – is abseiling from the top of the club building.

When she is firmly back on two feet on the ground she explains that her real name is Irma and that she had taken up abseiling, and had even abseiled from the Euromast, before she contracted Parkinson’s disease. Her illness made it difficult to continue abseiling, but thanks to Sint-Jansbrug and Student Volunteering Delft (SVD), she could do it today and did not even have to leave Delft. The SVD, that promotes voluntary work among students, connected the two organisations.


More tolerant towards each other

The annual volunteers day, held on 9 June this year, was put together by SVD and the ORAS student political party to give students the chance to do something for Delft, explains Fatima Samadova (23), the SVD Secretary. She is spending the whole day cycling all over the place and stopping countless times to make phone calls. “There is sometimes tension between students and the people in Delft, while they are often neighbours too. I believe that if you get to know each other better and help each other out, you will be much more tolerant towards each other.”

Dozens of student volunteers were thus taken out of their ‘campus bubble’ on this StudentDoet-dag, literally student does day. They get involved through their study or student association, and in many cases are board members for whom this day has become an annual event in their calendars.

‘Anyone graduating here automatically has a civic impact. It is good to understand what that involves’

Take Max (22), Bas (23) and David (24), all three of whom are current or prospective board members of the Leeghwater (Mechanical Engineering) study association. Today they are helping the Present Foundation which helps renovate the homes of people who are unable to do this themselves. The three gentlemen, armed with screwdrivers and paint rollers, are working in a flat in Delft-Zuid. They experience it as a ‘fun day’ that ‘also gives a sense of satisfaction’.

Mechanical Engineering student and prospective Leeghwater board member Bas painta a faded door white in a flat in Delft-Zuid.
Three days

For the Architecture and the Built Environment student in the courtyard of Abtswoude Bloeit (in Dutch), a former care home where senior citizens, students, ex-homeless people and Ukrainian refugees now live, the StudentDoet-dag turned into three days. The members of the Stylos study association, that decorated the front of the building with a mural last year, have already put in a lot of hours in building a new piece of garden furniture from pallets, says Board Member Marit (23). “But that doesn’t matter. It’s just really great to work on a social project like this.” Today the furniture, which serves as a bench, kitchen garden and stage, will be painted in cheerful colours.

Fatima, the SVD Secretary, thinks that it would be good for every student at TU Delft to engage in voluntary work. “Anyone graduating here automatically has a civic impact. It is good to understand what that involves.” She herself is studying Architecture. “We design for people. Voluntary work can help you think about this and think about the different kinds of people there are and what their needs are. But to do this you really need to get out of your bubble.”

The students put the finishing touches to the new garden furniture in the courtyard at Abtswoude Bloeit.
Benefit concert

Once the voluntary work of the students from 14 student associations at nine organisations (in Dutch) is done, it is time for a beer at the benefit concert that SVD organised. The proceeds from the concert, whose programme includes a plethora of TU Delft student bands, go to the Food Bank.

It is perfect beer-in-hand-in-the-sun-at-a-concert weather and the square is crowded. That the SVD Board believe that the day was a great success is evident from their Instagram page (in Dutch) the next day. ‘With so many people in Delft helping during the day and more than EUR 2,500 collected from the benefit concert, we can only say that this day was a complete success!!’

Science editor Kim Bakker

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