MAASTRICHT. Getting students up off their chairs now and again during their studies and informing youths about human trafficking. These two ideas won the Student Idea Competition last Wednesday. The five finalists had come to the Karl Dittrich hall at the Student Services Centre to present their plans to the jury, who included Astrid Boeijen (director of SSC) and Tobias Heldt (University Council member).
“Three hundred thousand people are victims of human trafficking within the EU every year, a large number of whom end up in the Netherlands,” tell the women from Youth 4 the Unspoken. It is something that most students are not aware of, as appeared from a survey held by this new organisation. They want to change that. “We want to organise lectures with experts from various faculties. For example, a lawyer can tell more about the legislation regarding human trafficking. We also want to collect money to help the victims.” The jury felt it was an impressive presentation. “This idea doesn’t have much to do with the university, but the social impact is huge,” says chairwoman Astrid Boeijen.
The second winner is a group of students from the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences who want to get their fellow-students moving. “Students sometimes sit in the same position for eight hours a day. This is bad for your health and your concentration. If you move about now and again, you will be much more productive.” That is the reason for their proposal: balance balls to sit on while working on the computers at the university library in Randwyck, tables to stand at while studying and a table tennis table to get away from your books completely. The ‘Increasing active opportunities at Maastricht University team’, as they refer to themselves, want to use the money to set up a pilot project for two months. “A real contribution to our organisation,” said the jury.
The Student Idea Competition was organised for the first time last year by the Student Project Team, with the aim of supporting student initiatives that contribute towards the university. The participants all received workshops (including one to learn how to write a business plan), while the winners received €250.