Apeldoorn Dpty. Mayor Jeroen Joon Celebrates Wittenborg-Apeldoorn Integration
New Chapter for Wittenborg and Apeldoorn
“We meet here today to celebrate what is soon to become a part of Apeldoorn's emerging modern identity," said Deputy Mayor Jeroen Joon during his speech.
On Friday, August 26, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences hosted its Annual BBQ for staff and students. However, last Friday's occasion was unique to previous Wittenborg BBQs. This year, the event commemorated the opening of the Brinklaan building. All in attendance – including Deputy Mayor of Apeldoorn, Jeroen Joon – were treated to complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and a BBQ cooked up by Wittenborg staff members.
"We have been supported by many, many businesses, by the city government and by our friends... Everyone has chipped in, has made this possible. We're really grateful. This is a new chapter for Wittenborg," said CEO Maggie Feng during the BBQ.
Wittenborg was thoroughly privileged to host members of the surrounding Apeldoorn community, who seemed to enjoy getting to know the Wittenborg family.
The event opened with a speech delivered by Deputy Mayor Joon about Wittenborg and Appeldorn's future with one another.
"Internationalism... Is the Backbone of All Modernised Economies."
The speech delivered by Deputy Mayor Joon gave thanks to those who helped develop the Brinklaan building into the educational and office space that it has become. Furthermore, the speech praised Wittenborg's strategy to secure housing for all students entering this learning block, which included the construction of new eco-friendly dormitories.
"Those who arrive don’t have to spend their first weeks here in a hotel, in tents or on a stranger’s couch as they enter a new chapter of life,” said Joon.
The ability to house every incoming student is a unique feat that virtually all higher learning organisations across the Netherlands struggle with.
Lastly, the speech delivered by Joon highlighted the economic utility of diversity and inclusion policies, along with the arrival of foreign workers and students.
“All modern economies suffer exponentially when students and hardworking people, like many of you here, stop coming to support us with good labour, good ideas, good research and good faith.”
Joon highlighted that alongside Wittenborg, Apeldoorn will be able to make a name for itself within the Netherlands as a hotspot for entrepreneurship and sustainable economic research.
“I think it is a good thing,” said Linda, a former Apeldoorn neighbour, after Joon delivered the speech. “I hope there are more events like this where we can get to know each other.” Linda's friend, Herman, who lives just across the street from Wittenborg's Brinklaan campus, agreed.
“I am very happy to see all of this. We think it will be good for the neighbourhood,” he enthused. Other neighbours believed that the activity and foot-traffic generated by Wittenborg through the Amaliapark would also make the neighbourhood even safer than before.
As those in attendance shared beers, colas, grilled meat and vegetarian burgers with each other, the Wittenborg family and Apeldoorn community forged lasting ties together. President Peter Birdsall helped lead a round of Irish songs together with friends from Doetmaes, a local Irish folk singing choir, which created a jovial atmosphere.
Beniamin, a 17-year-old freshman student and new arrival to the Netherlands, was pleased with the event. “The meat is good, the people are great... Overall I feel very optimistic. I am having fun!” he said during the BBQ.
Several friendly Apeldoorn neighbours offered Wittenborg staff and students help with navigating around Apeldoorn, along with help learning Dutch.
“One of the neighbours – Paula – gave me her number and invited me over for a cup of coffee,” Bishal Bhandari, Communications Administrator for Wittenborg said on the following Monday. “She now sends me WhatsApp messages in Dutch, because she wants me to learn the language. She even includes a translation.”
The Wittenborg family is excited to develop deeper ties and a better understanding between itself and the Apeldoorn community.
Wittenborg betuigt een warm "dankjewel" aan alle buren die ons kwamen ontmoeten, evenals aan de Nederlandse instellingen die deze verhuizing naar de Brinklaan mogelijk hebben gemaakt. We kijken er naar uit om de komende jaren samen met Apeldoorn te groeien.
by Olivia Nelson