09 December 2022

This beautiful mess

“The VU never gets shit done”, “I have no clue where to find what I need” are phrases I often hear in the University Student Council. As a member of the USC I have been working to give students the chance to have a say on what is happening on the executive level of the university. The last few months were filled with get to know meetings, agenda preparation meetings and meetings that discuss what should be on the agenda preparation meeting (no joke).

It certainly is a truth that now that I am both ‘working’ for VU Amsterdam as well as studying, I struggle to gain an oversight over what is happening within VU Amsterdam. However, next to all the criticism and complaints I want to point out that this university is a truly beautiful place in all its facets. I am writing this blog between two green plants on the second floor library (main building). Our university set out a questionnaire asking students what helps them to focus while studying. The answers were books and plants. So the ‘Omboeken’ project made an artwork out of books on the first floor right above the cafeteria in the main building and is looking into possibilities to get old books from the archives into our study spaces in addition to some lush greenery.

I was struggling with what the hell I am even studying for

The Uni freed up thousands of euros to help students set up the Student Wellbeing Point. Through this initiative, students can help other students in finding their way through this beautiful mess of an organization. It can help to find a peer group with common interests, be redirected to find support if you need extra help with your studies, or get support if you are struggling with your mental health.

The Uni supports an array of initiatives that are designed to help us out with whatever we are struggling with. For example, I was struggling with what the hell I am even studying for. I found some room to discuss this existential question with NewConnective. Next to this, I started to get more into mindfulness and I found out that there is an initiative called the Mindful Library which organizes meditations and lectures.

What I am trying to say is: VU Amsterdam listens and answers to our needs. They might be slow sometimes so we do have to put some work in and search for the right place. However, I can tell you that every extra effort will be rewarded by an extra insight, a new connection or a spark of joy when something makes you smile. 

Giovanni Stickdorn

Giovanni Stickdorn
Coordinator Research & Education



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