Parting gift for Petra de Weerd
Fund for first-generation students
“As a first-generation student in the 1980s, I felt the pressure to get 'good grades' and 'not to relax' – which amounts to nominally studying. At that time, the UT, and also my Engineering study, was really a man's world, and we the female students had to stand the ground to get equal opportunities. Hard work, no fun, no play.
Only later in the study did I see the value of extracurricular activities and development as a supplement to studying itself, and eventually graduated within 5 years. I became a student assistant and a volunteer as treasurer at the Development Techniques Working Group (WOT). Those activities have brought me a lot, but I could have gotten a lot more out of them.
For many first-generation students it was and is not common to do extra activities in addition to their studies; while these are formative. It was the dream of my fellow student Mirjam Bult when she left the UT in 2021 that all students got equal opportunities. I share that dream, and I like to focus on girls in STEM, as I once was one. Will you help make this dream come true? That would be a great parting gift for me!”
Prof. dr. dr. ir. Petra de Weerd-Nederlof
Studying in Twente is more than getting a degree. We are proud of our 60-year tradition of student activism. Our students manage the campus, are challenged in a board year for a club or association, participate in student teams, go on a study trip or internship abroad. This shapes them and gives them extra competences. To give all students of the UT the opportunity to have these important experiences, former vice president of the Executive Board, Mirjam Bult, started the first-generation fund as a parting gift. Students who are the first of their family to go to university are often less aware of the opportunities next to their studies. They also more often lack the financial support for these extra activities.
In concrete terms, we want to support first-generation students from this fund so that they can serve as a student board or participate in an excellence programme, study trip or international conference. Support that these students cannot expect from their own parents.