Column Maurice: a Bongerd for the arts

‘WUR is a cultural wasteland.’

Groningen, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Nijmegen, and even Delft and Enschede have one: a cultural centre for students. It is a location where students can participate in singing, dance, drama, painting, ceramics, and even ‘creative welding’—in short, a place where students can satisfy their creative needs.

Sadly, WUR is lagging. We have the Bongerd for our sports, but why no Bongerd for the Arts? A place where music, drama and creative writing meet. Where you can take guitar classes or paint the first strokes of your very own Rembrandt. Who knows, you may even write the first words of your WUR novel!

Why wouldn’t it be possible in Wageningen? Or is it the rural nature of the university?

But no. WUR is a cultural wasteland. Perhaps it is because we are a technical university with no real focus on arts and culture. Moreover, there is no art academy nearby, making it difficult to find suitable teachers. However, a small survey shows that other TUs offer some form of cultural courses, and the demand in my social circle is considerable. So, why wouldn’t it be possible in Wageningen? Or is it the rural nature of the university? You can’t burden simple farm folk with art history and conceptual performance art, can you? Before you know it, we will shift our focus from the ploidy levels of the Arabidopsis to abstract art.

I think WUR should give it a try. Find some motivated teachers and start offering a few creative courses. Let’s see how it goes. It would be a great addition to the academic life here. Fortunately, there are some tentative positive developments, such as a Student Council survey on a cultural centre on the campus. And there is a pop-up exhibition in Aurora with student art.

In summary, it is high time for WUR to explore its cultural potential to the fullest and offer students options to satisfy their creative needs in addition to their academic duties. The potential is already present; all that is lacking is some ambition.

Resource-student editor Maurice Schoo (24) is a second-year master’s student of Development & Rural Innovation. He likes to cook, and he paints when he has the time.  

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