MAASTRICHT. Bringing students and residents of Maastricht together on the basis of shared interests. This is the line of approach that the new Student and Society Initiative (Student en Samenleving Initiatief - SSI) is using to organise various activities in the coming months, such as theme dinners - for example about a passion for law/justice - and drinks at local businesses. Keywords are small-scale meetings and accessibility. “What we want is to bring together not only the pioneers - those who have been involved in projects like this before - but everyone,” says UCM student Dirk Janssen, who thought up this initiative together with fellow-students Hannan Bittich, Cecile Wolfs and Ricardo Leclaire. The prevailing language during the meetings will be adapted to the guests. “If there are people who only speak English, then we will speak English, otherwise it will be Dutch.”
SSI’s ultimate aim is to ensure that students feel more closely connected with the region. “This improves the relationship today and increases the chance that students will want to stay here later on.” The organisation is also hoping that by introducing a buddy system it will be possible to create a network that helps graduates find jobs. “When a resident and a student hit it off, they can become each other’s buddies. They will then meet each other one-on-one. Our website lists the activities that they can attend – we don’t just want to organise events but also point out the things that already exist.”
This is a pilot project in co-operation with Maastricht University and will run until 1 January 2014. After that a survey will be held in order to evaluate.
Participating in the activities is free of charge. For more information, see www.studentandsociety.nl