MAASTRICHT. At last, student club Kaleido has found a permanent location: Tapijn, building Z. It’s the current residence of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE). The latter will soon move to the Paul Henri Spaaklaan in Randwyck.
The Tapijn building has been allocated to Kaleido by the Executive Board, says project leader Thomas Schäfer. Responsible alderman Bert Jongen also supports the choice. The student club is after all a shared responsibility; the university and the city council agreed this almost five years ago. The process of acquiring some permits still has to be started, but Schäfer hopes that Kaleido can open its doors “before the new academic year. It could be a bubbling addition to the Tapijn site.” He speaks about a suitable location for about 350 guests.
Originally, Kaleido was meant to be a truly international student club, for foreign and ‘internationally minded’ students. Back in 2015, Martin Paul, President of Maastricht University, stated that foreign students miss having a permanent base, while there is a definite need.
In the meantime, Kaleido made a bit of a shift. The ratio between Dutch and foreign members is now fifty-fifty. “We want to be inclusive. We say: ‘Come as you are’, say Neal Cowan and Koen de Witte of the Kaleido UM project group
Another shift is the permanent location: from the former Muziekgieterij building to Tapijn.
After Kaleido had to leave the Muziekgieterij building last year, it seemed like the club would drift through the city, having no proper ‘living room’ to build up a community. Before the summer, there was an option for a building on the Kleine Gracht, but investment costs were too high.
For a few weeks now, they have been using ‘t Keldertje at Landbouwbelang on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Cowan: “We want the Kaleido community to share their ideas, to be creative, paint the walls if they like. Yes, you can see it as a playground." ‘t Keldertje is suitable for about a hundred students, “a place to chat, relax or study”. Several events have been organized, including jam sessions, a self-defence workshop, yoga, poetry slam and comedy nights. Cowan: “We explore, experiment and allow ourselves to make mistakes.”
As Kaleido resides ‘underground’ in Landbouwbelang for the coming months, students could regard it as an ‘alternative’ scene. “No, it isn’t and it won’t be”, says Cowan.