Traditionally, the opening of the academic year attracts large crowds. But now that the number of coronavirus infections is on the rise again, universities are weary of hosting large groups of people indoors. Luckily, there are plenty of online options, according to university association VSNU. This year, the fourteen universities are working together to organise an online festival on Monday 31 August for the opening of the academic year, complete with a block schedule of the line-up. Of course the impact of the coronavirus crisis will feature prominently on the agenda.
Guest of honour at Erasmus University is the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, who summoned representatives from student associations to a meeting this summer after a growing number of members had tested positively for coronavirus. The Open University has scheduled talks with chairman of the Security Council Hubert Bruls. He put a stop to unfair fines for violations of coronavirus measures in student housing.
Members of parliament will be contributing as well. Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven has been invited to Radboud University Nijmegen, and Minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) will be attending the festivities at the University of Groningen.
TU/e is the early bird on August 31 and will start at 9:00 in the morning with an interview with State Secretary Stientje Van Veldhoven about the new energy institute EIRES, that will start this autumn. Ines Lopez Arteaga, who started in July as the new dean of the Bachelor College, will talk about the impact that the corona measures have on education at TU/e. The link to this talk show will soon appear in the mailboxes of employees and students.
Play the game
TU Delft’s plans remain shrouded in mystery for the time being, with the announcement of an online game. A teaser clip has been released for those who are curious. Set to booming music, viewers see the camera pan out across a deserted campus to a mythical gate. A clock shows a countdown: only seven more days until the gate opens... Everyone who plays the game could win a TU Delft hoody.
But not everyone in higher education will be celebrating the openings at home. The unions and WOinActie are organising a bicycle protest that day to draw attention to the issue of large number of researchers and lecturers on flexible contracts.