Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news News News articles

Interview with Andrej Zwitter: Community spirit and compassion

21 March 2020
CF Dean Andrej Zwitter. Photo credit: Leonard Fister
CF Dean Andrej Zwitter. Photo credit: Leonard Fister

Stay connected to your community, avoid boredom, go out regularly and stick to a routine. Sounds logical, but how do you do it in practice? We asked Andrej Zwitter, who already set a good example by starting a Whatsapp-group for expats (and whoever else may be interested) in Leeuwarden, and aims to keep up to date with all Campus Fryslân students and staff at least weekly.

‘For expats or anyone else without a big social network, the current crisis can be an isolating experience. In the Whatsapp-group we share day-to-day things to stay social. It was the Iranian new year this week, so we’re learning new things as well!’ Andrej Zwitter, the Campus Fryslân dean, is doing the best he can to keep everyone connected. In addition to the Leeuwarden group, he maintains the weekly coffee chat with staff via Google Hangouts, and will be talking to all CF students in a weekly Q&A session through Blackboard.

Personally he is doing well. Although, after joining video calls from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., he has to admit he is a bit tired. ‘Especially after that Q&A session I feel even more appreciation for all staff teaching online! There’s a lot going on, answering the students through the mic while keeping up with incoming questions via chat,’ Andrej says. Still, he will continue to do this every week. Making sure everyone is safe and well, and knowing everyone’s whereabouts is vital to keeping the community together. ‘It’s difficult to predict how long the situation will be like this, so I encourage the students to do what feels good to them. If that means going home to their families, they definitely should.’

There’s positive sides to the crisis too. ‘I picked up my camera again, it’s a great opportunity to get creative.’ Trying out new things and going outside for at least one hour every day will help keep you sane. And when you do feel bored, there’s plenty of podcasts to listen to and books to read. Andrej recommends the podcast Freakonomics Radio, and the programme Voice Dream (‘It can read anything to you, even academic stuff!’). All in all, it’s a new experience for all of us. ‘But at least the whole world is in this together, so if anything, I hope the situation increases compassion.’

Last modified:21 March 2020 10.58 a.m.

More news

  • 31 March 2020

    Three UG top researchers receive ERC Advanced Grant

    Three researchers from the University of Groningen have been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant. These three researchers are Prof. Gerard Roelfes (Stratingh Institute for Chemistry), Prof. Leon Koopmans (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute) and Prof. Erwin de...

  • 31 March 2020

    In Science podcast: Q&A with Cisca Wijmenga

    In this special 16th episode of our In Science podcast, our guest is rector magnificus Cisca Wijmenga. She tries to answer some of the questions from staff and students about the corona crisis. The rector, Wim, Tina and Arjen discuss the impact of the...

  • 26 March 2020

    Professor Jacquelien Scherpen new ‘Captain of Science’ in High-Tech Systems and Materials top sector

    Thursday 26 March saw the announcement that Jacquelien Scherpen, Professor of Systems and Control Engineering at the University of Groningen, has been appointed as the Captain of Science in the High-Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM) top sector. Prof...