The UCSRN: Connecting University Colleges


From left to right: Bram Jaarsma (AC member), Henriëtte Hoogervorst (SC member), Daniël Janssen (AC Chair; EB member), Tessa van Hoorn (SC member; EB Secretary), Bob van de Mortel (AC member), Janine de Jong (SC member), Haris Kalic (SC member; EB Treasurer), Geke Hasperhoven (AC member; EB Chair). (not on the picture: Joe Carpenter (SC member), Niaz Khan (AC member))

By Tessa van Hoorn

Have you ever heard of the UCSRN? This umbrella-organisation of University Colleges is still very unknown among students. What exactly does this organization do? And how is it relevant for you?


The UCSRN – or University College Representatives the Netherlands – is a collective of five University Colleges in the Netherlands (AUC, LUC, UCM, UCU and UCR). The philosophy behind this organisation is that it benefits University Colleges, as well as their students, to be represented by one organisation. This gives University College students one collective voice towards the press, at lobbying events, and at a later stage in educational interest groups (for example governmental institutions). For these activities, consistency is believed to be a key factor in order to accomplish anything on a national (or international) level. Additionally, the UCSRN finds it important to stimulate the exchange of experiences and knowledge, as well as encourage student interaction between the different UCs. We all can learn from each other, and the more the merrier.


This all sounds very nice, but how does the UCSRN want to accomplish this? Within the UCSRN board, the Executive Board is mainly responsible for formalising the organisation (the goal is to become an official Association, so they are busy writing the formal documents for registration at the Chamber of Commerce), and representing University Colleges to external parties. The Social and Academic Committee are there to organise events to promote the social and academic interaction between UCs. You can find more information on the internal structure of the UCSRN on the RASA website, under ‘news’.


Apart from lobbying, having meetings, summits (soon to become General Assemblies) and legalisation, the UCSRN has several other plans in order to achieve their goal. One of them is to create a website for information to become more accessible and increase visibility. Another is to formulate a ‘vision document’; a document the UCSRN can refer to for any official communication to external parties. A final interesting development is the possible addition of not one, but two new University Colleges! These would be EUC (Rotterdam) and UCG (Groningen).


So, what kind of events is the UCSRN organising this year? For this semester, the Social  Committee is creating a new event: the Inter-UC Spotlight. The idea is similar to an Open Mic Night, but then with five different University Colleges bringing all their talented performers together, with acts ranging from music to improvisation, theatre to poetry and more. As is tradition by now, the event in Spring will be the Inter-UC Tournament, where the UCs compete against each other in the fields of sports and art. Hopefully UCR will take the Battle of the Bands cup home again, after winning it for two years in a row!


Sadly, our Dean will not win the Deans’ Debate this year, since this clash of titans has seen its best days. However, the Academic Committee now plans on organising a conference or symposium. It will be a platform for well-known, as well as starting academics to show their vision around a certain theme (to be decided still). Additionally, they want to set up an Inter-UC Journal, for all the brightest and most inspiring written academic work done by UC students, because the UCSRN finds it crucial that students get the opportunity to publish the research they do.


To conclude, it is safe to say the UCSRN has plenty in store for you this year. Curious what you can do for the organisation? They are always open to ideas and feedback. Keep an eye out for the statutes of the UCSRN; they will need to be approved by the RASA General Assembly!


Tessa van Hoorn, class of 2015, is an anthropology and politics major from Haaften, The Netherlands.

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