Residents of Duivendaal thank Student Alliance Wageningen for all their support

“It was a long and exciting adventure”, said Nick Ligthart while sipping coffee at the office of Student Alliance Wageningen (S.A.W.) at the Wilde Wereld theater. “I am glad that the numerous discussions have finally led to a decent contract for the residents. The rent has only been risen to around €35 instead of the earlier planned €100, plus the hospitals have been retained. I am really relieved that Duivendaal is not going to be a kind of expensive student house, where everyone reluctantly lives only because of room shortage.”

 

Since November Nick has been involved in the rental contracts of Duivendaal. The residents made an alarm via Facebook; he invited the active residents to come together in his office. Lena van de Sman had a very pleasant experienced during the first meeting. “I was motivated to do something about the first contract, but I did not know where to begin. S.A.W. reassured us and advised us not to sign the first contract. Moreover, the meeting ensured that our frustration would be turned into a representation, which can be addressed.’’

Roy Toevank, one of the spokesmen for the residents, observed that S.A.W. made a difference in three ways. “First, S.A.W. advised us very quickly how any legal help and advice could be used, on one hand through HousingDesk, on the other hand through the national student union. In addition, the S.A.W. quickly got in touch with the people of the university and the municipality of Wageningen. Because of the permits and the sales these parties were also involved around Duivendaal. Finally, S.A.W. functionated as an intermediary and prepared the meetings, so that matters were dealt more professionally.”

Nick received generous compliments from Lena and Roy. They were both impressed by his constant willingness and drive to support the residents. ”It was a chaotic time, in which the residents were still in the middle of their examination period. Luckily Nick always showed up when something was wrong or when help was needed.”

Nick looks back with satisfaction on the cooperation with the residents. “We want to show that the S.A.W. stands up for the interests of the students. It is not always necessary to start protest action, because mediation (like in this case) is often more sufficient.”