Helping out with vaccinations is the new sought-after activity among students. More than 300 of them have signed up via 25 different student associations as volunteers for the vaccination center at Flanders Expo. Four students explain how they are helping to steer the vaccination of 1600 people a day in the right direction.
Arthur Claeys: “This way, I can also contribute to society”
A master’s student in psychology, Arthur saw the call for volunteers appear on the Facebook group of his student association. “My mum is a GP and is committed to the fight against corona. I can’t help her, but this way I can make myself useful and also give something back to society. I don’t have many subjects this semester, so I have plenty of time. It is very nice to accompany elderly people who are less mobile. They tell me their whole life story, ask me what I study and if I know their granddaughter (laughs).”
Line Baguet: “I want to show a different image to that of the partying student in St Peter’s Square”
Line, who is in the second year of her Bachelor of Psychology degree, also saw the request via the VPPK. “It’s very satisfying to do my bit. Students are often in the news as the party people in St Peter’s Square. With this activity, I want to show the good side. Twice a week, I work a full-day shift. I am happy to sacrifice my free time or lessons for that. It is also good to have some social contact in this way. The atmosphere is great, the doctors are very friendly and they immediately take you in tow.”
Jitske Willems: “I always did voluntary work, but now that it’s no longer the case, I’m putting myself to use here”
Jitske is in the first year of her Bachelor of Pedagogical Sciences. “It’s my first year in a new city. The contact through the student association is mainly online, but by cycling here together we get to know each other a little better. We are motivated to come and help out. You get free food, a volunteer allowance and sometimes a leftover vaccine if people don't show up. But I do this mainly because I want to help people. I always did volunteer work and now that the KSA, Oxfam, events and festivals have been put on hold, I’m putting myself to use here.”
Jade Van Goethem: “If nobody helps, we’ll be stuck with corona for a long time”
Jade studies pedagogical sciences and is happy to be there. “You can sign up for a shift via Excel. The slots fill up quickly; there is a lot of enthusiasm among students. Only the first to respond are allowed to come along. I think it’s important that the vaccinations run smoothly. If nobody helps, we’ll be stuck with corona for a long time. Today I’m transporting people in their 70s in a wheelchair to and from the entrance. This transfer is sometimes a challenge for them, because it is quite an uphill journey. Their gratitude gives me a lot of energy.”
Musical student association: "Every academic year we work very hard towards our concerts"
The Ghent University Symphonic Orchestra (GUSO) is a vibrant symphonic orchestra, entirely for and by students. During the academic year, the musicians enjoy playing and work diligently towards a sparkling double concert. We asked Liesel what makes GUSO so special.
"Student life is not just about drinking and partying"
Ut vivat, crescat et floreat: the student association SK Ghendt is 90 years old. The SK brings together 30 regional clubs, college clubs and pub clubs from Ghent and organises weekly activities for their members. The annual highlight? The commemoration of the occupation of the Gravensteen castle.
"We want to trigger students and make them form their own opinions"
There are more student associations in Ghent than might you think. Heard of Engage already? With their activities, they want to make you think critically about different social issues. Board members Hayat, Kezban and Yousra talk passionately about their mission.
These students prefer tea to beer
Ghent student life has a rich tradition. Among the more than 100 associations in our city, there are also some unique ones. Moeder Theepot, for instance, has been bringing student tea lovers together for 10 years.