‘The Marhaban Project is one of the most fun and fulfilling extra-curricular projects I have done at UCU. When my tutor asked me what I did to relax, I told her about the project and the new friends I had made in the process. Working and hanging out with the guys really forced me to find ways to communicate as well as listen to the stories they were willing to share.
When I started UCU I did not even know where the refugee shelters were in Utrecht; now I have dinner there regularly and I have become good friends with the majority of the project participants. It truly has been a great experience and a good opportunity to learn, not just about another culture but also about my own, as common ground is more easily reached than many imagine. Music and dance have proven to bridge the gaps.’
Lea Corsetti, Marhaban Project participant
‘Working together with fellow students and faculty members to encourage students to become involved in civic engagement has been an energizing experience. It is great to see that there is so much willingness and motivation to make community involvement more integrated to students’ experiences and education at UCU, whether it is in classes or outside of them. Whenever ideas come up from the student part of the team, the faculty members that are part of the Town and Gown team are ready to use their network and think with us to help us inform and motivate students, for instance by the recent organization of the Civic Engagement Conference. In the coming semesters, we will focus on establishing connections with external organizations and make it easier for students to get involved. I would encourage anyone to get in touch with the Town and Gown team to discuss your ideas or participate in the projects we sponsor. And if positions open up: being part of the Town and Gown team provides an opportunity to work together with faculty members and contribute to students’ readiness to be engaged with the bigger community around us. And I think that is not only a good experience for the here and now, but also a valuable preparation for life after UCU.’
Davita de Kleuver, Town and Gown project manager