Mayor Makes Whirlwind Visit to Wittenborg and other Institutions of Higher Education in Apeldoorn
The new mayor of Apeldoorn, Ton Heerts, made a whirlwind visit to WUAS on Friday where he took time to chat to international students and meet with management. Wittenborg's main campus has been located in Apeldoorn since 2010 and maintaining good relations with the city has been one of its priorities.
Heerts' visit was part of a broader tour of institutions of higher education in Apeldoorn on Valentine's Day. He has officially been mayor of Apeldoorn for about two months and in his political career includes being a member of parliament.
Heerts was welcomed by Wittenborg directors Maggie Feng and Peter Birdsall, who said one of the things they appreciated about Heerts is that he has a background in education and thus a good understanding of the sector. Heerts has been serving as chair of the MBO Raad for the past 3 years and talked enthusiastically about education. One of his ambitions is to lift Apeldoorn's profile in the Dutch education sector.
On arrival at Wittenborg he met student leaders Terry Nana (who is president of the Student Representatives and from Cameroon), Allegra Zazzaro (student ambassador from Italy), Laura Serrano, (student rep from Colombia) and Salma Sanchez (student rep from Mexico). Also joining later was Professor Ron Tuninga, Wittenborg's Vice-President of Academic Affairs.
Tuninga reminded Heerts of the fact that international students can also be ambassadors for the city of Apeldoorn. "When you study in a certain place and have good memories of your time there, you will always have ties with it."
Birdsall told Heerts that Apeldoorn has helped Wittenborg tremendously in a political sense and he hopes this can be continued in terms of fostering relations with The Hague, the political heart of the Netherlands, including the seat of the Ministry of Education. He and Feng gave Heerts a summary of Wittenborg's history and its ambitions.
Students were overwhelmingly positive about living and studying in the Netherlands. Sanchez said she "loved Apeldoorn", to which Heerts replied: "Of course you do!". Zazzaro, who hails from Milan, said it was "a cosy little town". Heerts also made time to visit a class of master's students who all wanted to take selfies with him.
by Anesca Smith