If you compare yourself with others, You may become vain and bitter; For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time...

(Desiderata - Max Ehrman)

The MBO Pop-up store is a breeding ground for social diversity

“These are strange times; times when working and coming together at VU Amsterdam can no longer be taken for granted. I really miss the energetic and vibrant atmosphere with students and colleagues, especially the stories at the coffee machine or lunch table, the lively discussions, the unplanned meetings and the unexpected encounters.” “I've been working at VU Amsterdam for over 17 years now and I enjoy going to work every day. I find the tagline ‘Change your world’ to be both a challenge and an invitation to participate. I always try to be enterprising while doing my job. Social engagement is encouraged at VU Amsterdam, but should that only apply to our students and researchers? As employees, we too can make a contribution. We can come up with ideas that can be of value and that can make a change. This was exactly what happened to me when I read the strategic plan. Social diversity is an important theme in the strategy and is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. And all of a sudden, I saw it coming to life before my eyes at VU Amsterdam. So, I decided to make a video message for Mirjam van Praag.”

Elles Bandringa
Elles Bandringa

Elles Bandringa Management Assistant at the Department of Organization Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences

Elles Bandringa, Management Assistant at the Department of Organizational Sciences of the Faculty of Social Sciences, has the floor. She is a woman with great enthusiasm and a pioneering enterprising attitude. Her idea: an MBO Pop-up store on campus. Elles: “The moment knowledge and skills are combined, and VU Amsterdam students and secondary vocational education (MBO) students come together on campus, more social diversity is created. As peers, they can challenge each other and help each other with new ideas and feedback. It’s great that there is so much knowledge available here at VU Amsterdam, but we can’t really expect that everyone will go to university. I have noticed there is an unspoken taboo about this and that less ‘pride’ is associated with studying at an MBO. I really don’t think that is justified; we are all the same and need each other’s hands and brains. As soon as MBO students are able to offer their services on campus, new partnerships can be formed. How cool would it be if there were many more companies and shops on campus from which we could all benefit? An MBO pop-up store with, for example, a bicycle mechanic, a hairdresser and a tailor.” “Mirjam van Praag quickly put me in touch with Erik Boer from Entrepreneurship and we discussed the idea and possibilities with a representative from the campus organization. After the start of the academic year, we visited Sandra Lim A Po, education director at ROC Zuid and Pieter van den Bent, programme director for the hairdressing programme. They reacted positively and were also a bit surprised. They hadn’t expected this idea ‘from the neighbours’ at all.”

“On 24 November, we met again and came up with more specifics. In addition to the two people mentioned earlier, the Director of Operations, director of the Fashion programme, UV (Outer Appearance) and K&C (Art and Culture), manager of the Hair Care programme, manager of the Sport & Movement programme, and manager of the House of Events programme were also present.” “It is clear that they find the idea of combining knowledge and expertise very interesting and I’m really glad about that. You know, if you have an idea, you really have to do something with it, because together we can create something very special. As Cruijff said: ‘...because alone you can do nothing, and together you can do everything’. I believe in that. And if I can do this, so can you. So, don’t sit on your ideas or suggestions any longer, but come out with them. Entrepreneurship and an enterprising attitude are extremely important and inspiring, and also a bit infectious. Though that may be a strange choice of words in these times.”