Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
MAASTRICHT. About fifty workspaces, two rooms for meetings, and a meeting place for fourteen – mostly international – student organisations. This new accommodation on the Gebroeders Hermansstraat 2 for Radio Frappe (a new student initiative), Chess club, Maastricht Students for Liberty, Rethorica, Alles is drama, Aegee, and the Maastricht Student Council was officially opened last Tuesday. Neighbourhood platform Sint Maartenspoort will also use the space for meetings.
That there was a need for such a place became clear in the so-called workshop sessions – held within the framework of the Student and City project – in which students discuss issues together with the university and the city council. Housing corporation Woonpunt owns Gebroeders Hermansstraat 2. They have made the second floor available (businesses occupy the rest of the building) free of charge for fifteen months. After that, Woonpunt will look into whether the contract can be extended. The UM will pay for service costs and furnishings, says project leader Maurice Evers. Most of the student organisations were housed at the Student Services centre until this week but had completely outgrown the premises.
“We are open all week, the weekend too,” says project assistant and former member of the Student Project Team, Thomas Schäfer. The walls are still bare at the moment and the whole place looks a little sterile. That won’t last long, he thinks, because the students are allowed to decorate it to their own taste.
David Caspers from the Love Foundation is sitting at one of the tables, working on his laptop on Tuesday afternoon. He has just graduated from University College Maastricht and he set up this foundation in 2013, together with a friend. There are now also Love Foundations in Santa Cruz, California, and in Perth, Australia. A division will open in Amsterdam this week. “We organise exhibitions, parties, and other cultural events. Eighty per cent of the profits goes towards a water development project in India, the rest is invested in new projects.” What is remarkable, is the fact that visitors are attracted by the word love and not the word fundraising. “When you invite people for art or a party, you get a different vibe. We want to create a community. Charity sounds a little boring; we want an event that’s wild, where you go nuts. But of course the best guests are those who enquire about our project in India.”
Caspers is very satisfied with his new workspace. “I can work at home as well. but home is home for me. I am in a work environment here and I have access to the locker full of our merchandise.” He proudly shows off his locker with Love Foundation hoodies, T-shirts, flyers and condoms. The latter contains the text Make love not kids!
Student organisations who also want to make use of this building, may apply to email@example.com