Opinion: ‘I chose Wageningen to help make the world a better place’

Are first year students do-gooders, or did they choose WUR for other reasons?
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Text Luuk Zegers, Dominique Vrouwenvelder, Maurice Schoo en Felix Landsman

From climate change to nutrition and from biodiversity to health, WUR focuses on the big global issues. Is that also why students choose Wageningen? To make the world a better place? Or is it because the degree courses are pretty cool and Wageningen is nice and small? Resource asked some first-years at the AID market.

Nikshep Trinetra Bangalore Suresh, MSc student Environmental Sciences from India

‘I believe that the true cost of everything we buy, sell and use is not represented in the prices we pay. With ecosystem services, you can estimate the real price of things by looking at the value added by nature. You essentially calculate what the natural environment has given us, and then present it in a monetary form that people can understand. That’s why I want to study ecosystem services here.
So yes, in an indirect way I think I came to Wageningen to change to world. Because when people pay the true price for things, they are helping to protect the environment, even if that’s not their goal.’

Femke Frieswijk, BSc student Landscape Architecture & Planning from the Netherlands

‘Not really. I came to Wageningen because I’m from a small village in Friesland and I feel at home here. That’s because, like my home in Friesland, it’s not very big and is surrounded by countryside. I chose my degree because I like geography and have a broad range of interests. Landscape Architecture & Planning is a pretty broad study. I’m also creative and I’m expecting to be able to use that creativity in this degree.’

Vilem Cech, BSc student Environmental Sciences from the Czech Republic

‘Yes and no. I’m here to do a degree in a subject I’m interested in and good at, but also to make the world a better place — you could call it a nice side effect. Later I would like to do something to make a meaningful contribution, like sustainable raw material management, or technology that helps the environment.’

Khaimile Chekwe, BSc student Environmental Sciences from South Africa

‘Absolutely. I’ve come here to study to make the world a better place and I think I can learn how to do this in Wageningen. WUR is definitely strong in all the environmental sciences, and that’s important to me as well. I want to study something I enjoy and can do well, but which also helps create a better world, because that’s what motivates me.

Jennifer de Jong, MSc student Food Safety from the Netherlands

‘My degree is all about people’s health, which I think is important. Nowadays a lot of people are sick because they eat the wrong things and don’t pay attention to what they eat at all. This costs the government money and it’s bad for the people themselves too, while it can easily be prevented. If I can do my bit to improve food safety and help other people, I can also help make the world a bit better. I chose WUR because it’s the only university that offers this degree.’

Naurah Nadzifah, MSc student Sustainable Business & Innovation from Indonesia

‘During my Bachelor’s I studied agricultural business, so this degree in Wageningen fits well with that. I certainly hope to help make the world a better place. To me it’s important that businesses start operating more sustainably. They shouldn’t just aim for profit, but should also be sustainable for the people. That means minimizing the impact on the environment, and much more focus on the social aspects involved. A sustainable economy can eventually help make the world a better place.’ 

Jop van Veenendaal, BSc student Management, Economics & Consumer Studies from the Netherlands

That statement makes no sense to me at all. I just want to make a lot of money. I’m going to do the Management, Economics & Consumer Studies degree and I already know I’m going to choose the Management specialization, with Operations Research and Logistics. There are so many more things going on that just the environment and the world. Why Wageningen? Because I like it here. Wageningen is a great town.’

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