TU Delft: Queen Máxima and Minister Dijkgraaf visit Delft University of Technology Reception Week

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High-profile visitors during Delft’s Reception Week (OWee) and Introduction Programme (IP) for new students: Her Majesty Queen Máxima and Minister Dijkgraaf of Education, Culture and Science visited the Activity Market and talked to students about mental well-being. Queen Máxima is honorary president of the MIND Us foundation, which is dedicated to the mental health of young people between the ages of 12 and 27. Student welfare is a subject that is also high on the agenda of both Minister Dijkgraaf and TU Delft.

During the annual reception week, new students get to know the campus, the city of Delft, student organizations and of course each other. Wednesday 24 August saw the activities market, where more than 60 different sports, cultural and social associations introduced themselves to the students. “During the OWee and the IP, students start building a vital social network; leisure activities and associations can play an important role in this. In the past few years we have seen that having to do without this has a negative impact on the well-being of our students,” says Rob Mudde, Vice Rector Magnificus and Vice President Education of TU Delft.

The OWee, the Reception Week, is the multi-day introduction for all incoming first-year bachelor students at TU Delft, InHolland University of Applied Sciences and The Hague University of Applied Sciences. For master’s students, exchange and transition students, TU Delft organises the Introduction Programme (IP).

During the market, Queen Máxima and Minister Dijkgraaf visited LGBT+ youth association Outsite, platform for students with a disability Student Onbeperkt (Student Unlimited), student jazz association Groover and football association Ariston. Afterwards, they spoke about the mental well-being of students with, among others, a student psychologist, a student advisor, a lecturer, the student official of the municipality of Delft and, of course, with students themselves.

The MIND Us Foundation, of which Queen Máxima is honorary president, is committed to bringing the mental problems of young people to the attention of the public and develops initiatives to increase the mental health of young people. A working visit like this supplies MIND Us with important input. Rob Mudde also joined the dialogue: “Students are under increasing pressure to perform in all sorts of areas and this can jeopardise their well-being. This is a problem that we can only tackle together and that starts with talking about it. In that sense, this meeting is also very important for us as a university.”

Minister Dijkgraaf: “The mental well-being of students is an important issue. I find the figures worrying: a lot of students struggle with mental problems, especially international students and bicultural students. We are going to focus more on prevention, such as making students more resilient and ensuring an inclusive and supportive study environment. We also see that being in touch with the educational institution and with fellow students, reduces stress and increases resilience. Moreover, this personal contact also makes students more inclined to raise the alarm if they are not doing well, and often helps them find support. Institutions of higher education are working together with student organisations on preventative measures. I have made €15 million available annually for this integral approach to student welfare for the coming years, with €1 million available as soon as 2022.”

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