On Thursday, in front of a packed audience at the Wilminktheater in Enschede, Anka Mulder, President of the Executive Board, called for action to improve the quality of life and sustainability in the eastern Netherlands. ‘We want to offer you a place to meet, where you can find our talented students and they can find you,’ she said as an invitation to the regional business community during the opening of the academic year.
After Anka Mulder and delegations from all the student associations and student unions were welcomed at around three o’clock by the day’s chair, Erik Dijkstra, she quizzed the audience on her message from the previous year and then started her speech with the fact that Saxion is at the start of its 2020-2024 strategic plan. It is an agenda in which the region plays a significant role. ‘The plan, which has recently been set, explains our contribution to the quality of life and vitality in the eastern Netherlands,’ she told the Saxion employees, students, and associates and guests from the professional field who were present.
Saxion wants to offer future-proof education based on the Saxion Educational Model. ‘Living Technology will continue to be our main focus, with a key role for learning together with the professional field, and ample attention for multidisciplinarity. It is important for students to feel at home, by becoming part of a community from day one and, after two years of structured studies, by being given increasing freedom to design their own study programme.’ Saxion is also strongly committed to applied research. ‘This is research that focuses on solutions. It enables us to ensure that you remain competitive, are able to work more sustainably, and can provide better care.’
Cooperation with Arizona State University
Another topic returning to the strategic agenda is the internationalisation of the region. Saxion is open to knowledge and talent from abroad. ‘In addition to educating students from our local region, we want to attract and retain more international talent,’ explained Anka, who announced later in the afternoon that Saxion would be collaborating with Arizona State University, which has been declared America’s most innovative university for four years in a row. ‘In dealing with social issues that are relevant both here and in Arizona, we will be focusing our joint attention on applied research in the areas of education, healthcare and technology. The university is very much mission-driven, as are we. It will be a very valuable partnership for our university of applied sciences.’
Anka ended her speech with a call to action to improve the quality of life and sustainability in the eastern Netherlands. ‘We can offer you a place to meet, where you can find our talented students and they can find you. A place where we work together to improve the sustainability of the construction industry, hotels and restaurants, your town hall or your football club, using green energy, smart grids and more. So feel welcome, come and visit us and submit your research question to us. Saxion is the place to be.’
Saxion Graduation Prize
As is tradition, the Saxion Graduation Prize was also awarded during the opening of the academic year. After a nail-biting announcement, the prize was awarded to Emma Hoogenraad, a student in Media, Information & Communication. With her thesis on stigmas attached to mental disorders, she beat Sujitha Ramkumar, a student in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and Amber Öztop, a student in Biology & Medical Laboratory Research.
After the opening, various concepts were presented in the Wilminktheater foyer. Some of the finalists of the Saxion Entrepreneurs Award were present, such as the winner, Anouk Tanke of Sassive, with her invisible lingerie and Jochem de Wilde with Cups 4 Clubs. Project groups from the Smart Solutions Semester also presented their smart ideas, including the Smart Future Gym, which was also briefly touched upon during the opening on the stage. These are all examples of businesses and talented individuals who work together to come up with a diverse range of solutions, but who all have one thing in common: they found one another at the Saxion meeting place.