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 Merijn 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. Merijn also provides opportunities for students who are already active to (further) develop themselves through training sessions such as the ‘Board Improvement Program’.

Study: ATLAS
Active at: V.V. Harambee and S.A. Atlantis
Comes from: Berkel en Rodenrijs, Zuid-Holland, Nederland
E-mail: m.m.j.janssen@utwente.nl

After graduating high school in the heart of Rotterdam, I longed for something smaller scale with more space and openness. UT turned out to fit perfectly into that picture, which made me feel right at home. My broad interest in the sciences led me to choose Technology & Liberal Arts and Sciences (ATLAS). During my time at ATLAS, I discovered that, perhaps subconsciously, I also chose this study because of its innovative educational model.

Although I had always been interested in education, I had never considered it as study direction. ATLAS opened my eyes to this possibility, which led to me specialising in educational sciences. A semester abroad in Jyväskylä, Finland, gave me the chance to learn a lot about international education systems and further sparked my interest. Besides my studies, I have also been playing volleyball at V.V. Harambee since 2020. This allows me to regularly clear my mind and enjoy the ‘gezelligheid’ of the association.

While studying in ATLAS, you are not only exposed to an interesting educational model, but also immediately involved in active student life. In my first year, I did three committees at S.A. Atlantis: the education committee, the ski trip committee, and the Kick-In committee. Even though my first year was mainly online because of COVID-19, my love for the community grew throughout the year. So, in my second year I decided to become part of the S.A. Atlantis board as Commissioner of Internal Affairs. These experiences, along with the SU board minor, expanded my areas of interest into management and leadership, in addition to my original focus on educational sciences.

Over the years, my love for the UT community grew more and more. I always felt welcome here and the opportunities for extracurricular activities are endless. Towards the end of my bachelor's, the idea arose to do another board year. I chose the Student Union because of its large-scale nature and role in guarding the importance of the UT community. As SU, we support students in various areas and strive to enrich everyone's student life. The personal development and education portfolio fits perfectly with my interests, as I have always been involved in personal development and like to encourage students to do the same. If you have ideas about personal development and how the SU can contribute to it, let me know!