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Portfolio holder Personal Development and Education

The University of Twente is known for its large number of associations, committees and activities. This is only made possible by students who commit to extracurricular activities. In its role as the umbrella organisation, the Student Union wants to ensure this is possible and Tom is responsible for this within the Student Union’s Board.

He takes care of all extracurricular education opportunities for students. This includes offering students the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities. Participation is stimulated in a variety of ways, for example by awarding the More Than a Degree Awards. Tom also provides opportunities for students who are already active to (further) develop themselves through training sessions such as the ‘Board Improvement Program’.

About Tom Lamaker

Study: Civil Engineering
Active at: A.S.V. Taste
Comes from: Assen, The Netherlands
E-mail: t.lamaker@utwente.nl

As an unknowing seventeen-year-old, I moved to Enschede to start studying Civil Engineering. I hadn’t really put too much thought into my time as a student and how I was going to spend the best time of my life. I knew I wanted to become active and make the most out of my time as a student, but I had no idea how. I came to live in an active student house with eight other men and a house cat, Poekie. In the middle of the Kick-In, I turned 18 and my student life could really begin! During the Kick-In, the slogan "will you be studying or will you become a student" won me over and I decided to enrol in the student association A.S.V. Taste.

In my first year at Taste, I formed a year club and could be found at the pub as much as possible. It was also in my first year that I first came into contact with activism through committee work. I was really enjoying the freedom that student life has to offer, but apart from that, of course, you also have to pass your studies.

Although I was convinced that I made the right choice studying Civil Engineering, the first six months did not go as smoothly as I would have liked and it was uncertain whether I would manage to get my BSA. I then made the difficult choice to stop my studies before the BSA deadline of 1 February, so that I could start again the following year as a Civil Engineering student. I did decide to stay and work in Enschede. Although it would have been much cheaper to go back to my parents, I knew that the student life I was building up in Enschede was worth much more.

In my second year, my studies went a lot better. I also joined my dispuut, Panta Rhei in my second year. Finally, in my second year I decided to start playing sports again after a break of several years. This started with cycling, but soon developed into triathlons. With my house, year club, dispuut, sports and study, my schedule was pretty much filled.

But still, I knew I wanted more. , I wanted to commit more to my association. I decided to organise the Kick-In on behalf of Taste, for which I worked full time for one summer together with my committee. Around that time, the Covid-19 problems arose. Suddenly, I was no longer busy with organising the coolest parties, but I was thinking and brainstorming about how to safely organise as much as possible in order to give students the best introduction to their student life. That's when I discovered that I found this work, thinking about policy solutions, enormously interesting.

I knew fairly early on in my student years that I wanted to do a board year. When I discovered how much pleasure I got from being involved in policy, it was an easy choice for me which board I wanted to do. I knew that the Student Union could offer me exactly what I was looking for in a board year, representing students from all over the university, being involved in policy processes and being able to develop myself on a professional level.

In March, I will start as portfolio holder Personal Development and Education. In this portfolio, I am mainly concerned with stimulating and supporting activism among students. Activism is the perfect way to develop on a personal level during your time as a student. Enschede has a lot to offer to students in terms of actively involving themselves in their association and their fellow students and next year I will do everything in my power to support students in this, so that as many students as possible can obtain "More Than A Degree"!