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Match: students sharing their knowledge with the city

Joint City Council and UM project

MAASTRICHT. Foreign students giving computer lessons to people in Witte Vrouwenveld, while brushing up on their Dutch at the same time. Medical students, members of Taskforce QRS (Qualitative Resuscitation by Students), giving resuscitation lessons at secondary schools. These are just two examples of how Maastricht students serve the community.

But the City Council and the university feel that many more could do the same. A lot of the time, students and local residents don't meet. That is why they set up Match last Wednesday, an action programme by Student en Stad, (Student and City), aimed at making an inventory of existing volunteer projects, identifying areas where there is a shortage of students, and investigating where students could offer practical help around the city, for example to tackle urban problems such as illiteracy, educational deprivation among youths, obesity, hidden poverty. The objective is to increase the quality of life and integration, and to reduce the gap between residents and students.

Match wants to bring supply and demand together and is going to develop a method that will make it easy to link students to social initiatives. It fits in well with the UM’s new strategic programme Community at the Core: linking students to the local community. Inhabitants' organisations, housing corporations and volunteer organisation Trajekt responded positively to the proposal and want to add their own ideas, the press release stated.

The pilot project will cost 160 thousand euro - of which the City Council and the UM will each pay half.  The funds will be used to appoint a project leader who will get to work with a small team. The first findings will be evaluated in August 2017.

For more information, see www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/match

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