Pattern: study association without a place to call home

Two hundred and eighty members and still no place of its own. This is the situation at Pattern, the study association attached to Data Science - up and running since May 2017. The Bachelor's program is split across two locations - Eindhoven and Tilburg, and an associated Master's can be studied in Den Bosch. As an association how do you make that work?

photo Pattern

New forms of cooperation between various universities, in this case TU/e and Tilburg University, raise a new set of problems. Lectures here, lectures there, but where do you gather in one spot with everyone else studying your program? Not in the bar of study association Pattern, because (as yet) there isn't one.

The first cohort on the new Bachelor's program of Data Science started studying in September 2016, as a group of thirty-five. One of them is Nadine Hol and she is a Pattern co-founder. “Data Science was set up by several departments. In Eindhoven, Mathematics & Computer Science  and Industrial Engineering are involved, in Tilburg the School of Humanities and Digital Sciences is involved together with the Law School and the School of Economics and Management. The study associations of these departments helped to set up Pattern. We now have a part-time board consisting of four people and our initial interim board has an advisory role.”

Shuttling back and forth

Bachelor's students of Data Science spend half their time in Tilburg and the other half in Eindhoven. In Den Bosch the Master's program of Data Science and Entrepreneurship has been up and running since 2016 at the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science. “At JADS there are currently two hundred Master's students and fifty pre-Master's. Of these, seventy are members of Pattern,”  says Nadine. Pattern has two hundred and eighty members in total.

In Tilburg Pattern has the use of a board room that it has to share with another association. “As of December we will hopefully be getting a room of our own,” says fellow board member Michael Heine, now a second-year student. “Ah, that has been promised since the start,” says Nadine, dampening the mood.

“When Atlas is furnished, space will become available in MetaForum and then we'll get a store room,” she says. She hasn't yet seen it but has heard that it doesn't have a window. “We need to store our T-shirts, pens and notebooks, 15 watering cans for the cantus and things for the members' weekend. We also need somewhere we can lock so we can store the paper versions of our official contracts.”

A meeting room in Tilburg and a store room in Eindhoven; it is not ideal. “Preferably, we'd have two board rooms, but with a four-person part-time board we don't have the staff, we realize that,” says Michael.

Even without its own bar, Pattern does host the usual study association activities. These take place alternately at the two locations. Games evenings and monthly drinks parties are held in Hubble and a campus café in Tilburg. Parties are held in either St. Peppers in Stratumseind or at café Bolle in Tilburg. At the end of November Pattern is holding a symposium with the law association ‘Magister JFT|e-law’, in Tilburg naturally. The main photo shows Pattern members during a cantus.

As well as needing its own rooms, Pattern is also keen to attract more Master's students. “In their Bachelor's years they often joined GEWIS and the Tilburg-based Flow and they are still members now, ” says Nadine. “And even though we are board members, they don't know us because we are only second- and third-year students.”

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