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“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Observant

UCM – Tea with the Deans

MAASTRICHT. Did you know that Albert Heijn, the man behind the well-known supermarket chain, lived in a castle in Great Britain at the end of his life? This is one of the many topics that come up during the weekly Tea with the Deans, from 1 to 1.30 pm on Monday in the common room at University College Maastricht (UCM).

The official dean of UCM, Mathieu Segers, could not make it this week. But the two vice deans of the faculty, Mark Stout and Teun Dekker, were present to chat with their students. Over a cup of tea and a chocolate cookie, they discussed their days so far, the German elections (no fans here of Alternative für Deutschland), and the possible upsides of communism to enhance the sense of community. Community is the keyword at UCM, and the foundation on which the faculty is built.

Olga Bostan and Rion McCall Magan from the academic council, which organised the event, say this is exactly the idea behind the tea break. “We want to create a comfortable relationship in an informal setting. This makes it a lot easier to talk to our deans.”

The students who are present, a changing group of about fifteen students, are positive. Besides the free cookies, “It’s a great way to increase their visibility and to get to know them and their backgrounds better”, says second-year student Paulina Raniecka.

Vice dean Teun Dekker thinks interacting in informal settings is important to give students the feeling that they can come to you with their problems. “I want students to feel safe in the programme. That way they’ll get involved and raise their hands in class more easily.” As Dekker puts it, “Creating and maintaining a community is like brushing your teeth. You need to invest in it every day.”

The next Tea with the Deans will be held on Monday 2 October.



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