New faculty student board member Ids Jaarsma introduces himself

With the start of the new academic year, a new student has also joined the board. Ids Jaarsma, 22 years old.

Let's start from the beginning. Who is Ids?

I am currently a fourth-year student majoring in Biology, specifically in cell biology. In my free time, I enjoy playing korfball, and I have been living on campus for a few months now. It's quite convenient! 

I began my studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. I originally come from Friesland and was living in student accommodation here. Since I couldn't easily go home every weekend, I had to leave everything behind and make new friends right away. It's something I benefit from now.

That's understandable, especially in your current role as a student assessor. You're no stranger to being involved in leadership activities, aren't you?

That's correct. It's something I've been interested in from a young age. I was part of the student council in high school and noticed that I enjoy engaging with a diverse group of people. So, when I started my studies here, I joined the educational committee. I wanted to get more involved in leadership and became a member of the DAC (Department Advisory Committee) and, last year, the Faculty Council (FR). 

What do you take away from these experiences?

In the Faculty Council, you're involved towards the end of the decision-making process. Now, I'm engaged throughout the entire process, from idea to decision-making. An issue often comes up multiple times, and it's essential to represent the perspectives and voices of students and the Faculty Council in earlier phases. This means that I'm already providing input on various matters from those perspectives. I'm primarily here for the students, but we also discuss everything related to finances, housing, and governance structure.

As a student assessor, you represent the students of the faculty. What are your main goals or focus areas?

I find many things interesting and enjoyable, but I'm currently working on building stronger connections among departmental student board members. I aim to offer them assistance so that we can collaborate more effectively, especially in the context of "Rust & Ruimte" (peace and space), a project looking at actions and measures you can take to improve the level of well-being, workload and stress of students and staff. In order to get peace of mind and also space for the tasks they need to do.

Workload is another area of concern for me. How can we reduce it for students? There's a lot in a curriculum, and there might be unnecessary elements. Let's critically examine that. 

How do you plan to address these issues?

For instance, within the tutor council. It would be great if students from every programme received equal support with study and career orientation. Currently, there's a noticeable disparity between departments and programmes.

Do you have any other missions or messages you'd like to convey?

During times of financial pressure, it's crucial not to let students bear the brunt of it. For example, practical sessions that can't proceed due to space limitations. It would be great if I could continue to draw attention to this issue within the faculty and work on finding solutions. 

Another issue that is university-wide is the importance of maintaining facilities. In the Utrecht Science Park (USP), there are few facilities. Preserving and enhancing existing facilities is another point of concern. For example, there are limited places where students can have dinner in the USP. That's unfortunate and should be improved. 

It feels like there's room for improvement, and sometimes, student initiatives are organized. Unfortunately, they are sometimes met with hesitation, which might be a missed opportunity. 

Lastly, I would be pleased if enough people would sign up for the Faculty Council next year. Fresh perspectives from newcomers can be very valuable. 

Great, you have plenty of ambitions. What will be your next activity for the upcoming year?

Hahaha, first things first, I'll focus on graduating and selecting a master's programme next year. It's a lot of fun, but you shouldn't study forever. At some point, you have to move on.