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Thirza is the new student member of the IB: 'I want to hear the opinions of less outspoken students'

Since 1 September, fourth-year student Thirza van 't Rood has been the new student member of the Institute Board at Cultural Anthropology. Her first task is to organise the elections for the programme committee. Her mission for the coming year is also to collect the opinions of less outspoken students. 'Not everyone feels immediately outspoken, but I want to get to know the opinions of students who are shy or perhaps afraid to speak out. They represent a large group. They have opinions and ideas about the programme too, and that input is very valuable. I think it's important for everyone to be heard.'

Who is Thirza?

'I am an active student. Two years ago I was on the Itiwana board and last year I started on the WDO board, in which I am still involved. I feel very involved in the study. On a personal level, I like to be creative. I just started drying flowers which I then turn into booklets or I frame them. I also like to walk a lot in nature. Last summer I went hiking in Luxembourg. I also like to try out new recipes. I like making things, being inquisitive, thinking of what goes together. And something completely different: I just started karate.'

Why do you think it is so important for everyone to be heard?

'The accessibility of participation is what I want to focus on. I myself have experience with social anxiety and selective mutism. Sometimes you don't dare say anything. My plan is to find out what works to ensure that that group of people who don't dare to go to a committee or lecturer are still heard. There are also students who don't dare say anything in whatsapp groups because they feel their issue is not important enough. But it is important that students feel they can state anything. That way, we can keep the level of education high and accessible for everyone.'

How did you approach daring to speak out yourself?

'In the first week of my studies, I found people I clicked with. Together with them, I did the Educom at Itiwana. It was an active group and I felt safe enough to push my boundaries. From within myself, I also had the drive to get more involved in participation, to try that out. Just facing my fears allowed me to push my limits comfortably. Being a student member of the Institute Board is another example.'

I hope students who are not so quick to speak up at first will come to me with their comments.

What is the programme committee for and who sits on it?

'The Programme Committee consists of lecturers and students from the Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology programme. They advise the programme board and faculty board on all matters related to education. All undergraduate and graduate students at CAOS can contact the study programme committee with questions, comments and ideas about education. To join the education committee, elections are held. For each year layer, there is room for one student to represent that year, so there are four students on the committee. The idea is that they are the ears and eyes of their year layer and can pass on what is going on. Until 24 September, students can stand for election. The elections will take place between 26 and 30 September.'

What questions can students come to you with?

‘Actually, with all questions, although there are several different committees for specific questions, such as the education committee. But I can raise issues with the Institute Board because I will regularly attend the meetings. I am really open to all student feedback, the positive and the negative opinions about the study and study experiences. I hope students who are not so quick to speak up at first will come to me with their comments.'

Wanted: student-members Programme Committee 2022-2023

Are you a CADS student and would you like to talk along about the quality of the education programme? Do you have good communication skills and would you like to be the link between students and teachers? Then apply as a student member of the Programme Committee before September 24!

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