News of the week 46

What's happened in the past week? RUG tops dumbness ranking, tackling housing crisis, exam coaches pricing war and more.

RUG tops dumbness ranking

The ranking was thought up by the Platform Reforming Dutch Universities to address the cost and often nonsensical nature of developing university slogans. The RUG is now number one with ‘Born leaders reach for infinity’. RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens ascribed the ranking to differing tastes.

The choice for this slogan was decided during the lustrum year of the university as it related to the For Infinity campaign. The new master campaign is now fully underway with the slogan ‘Think Bold’. Everyone can vote online for the silliest slogan: the RUG has 134 votes. The winner will be announced in February.

‘Tackle housing crisis’

According to the national student housing monitor from Kences information center, 2,300 youths could not find accommodation in Groningen last academic year. The municipal council did not realize there was a shortage.

The report says that Groningen is second only to Amsterdam in terms of the most students living away from home, which strains the housing market. The Student and City party is encouraging the municipal council to address this. The report also shows that more students are staying at home due to the new loans system, which means the room crisis will sort itself out in the future.

Exam coaches pricing war

Capita Selecta has been the biggest provider of exam coaching for years, but their monopoly has been threatened by AthenaStudies over the past three years. Capita Selecta remains the most popular in Groningen, but AthenaStudies is catching up to their market share.

There is a price war between the two companies and both are fighting for contracts with study programmes and student associations. Three former partners have switched to AthenaStudies this year. In the end, it is not about the prices or contracts: both parties say the quality of the courses and pass rates are the most important.

Behavioral and Social Sciences heritage room

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social sciences is working on its own ‘heritage room’ which should open in the summer of 2016, although an exact date remains to be decided. The intention is to fill the room with artefacts and manuscripts which are currently floating around the faculty.

The room won’t just show unique pieces: it will also tell the history of the faculty with the help of a number of prominent professors. The idea came about during the faculty’s 50th anniversary. During that year, attention was given to the faculty, but they wanted to create something permanent.

Too few sick people for LifeLines

LifeLines is a research programme investigating three generations for 30 years and charting the course of chronic illnesses. They will be financially stable until 2017 and researchers pay a fee to use their data, but LifeLines is not yet able to finance its future.

The data is only interesting for companies after five to ten years of collection. They have established the BiKE center (Biobanking and cohort Knowledge and Expertise), but this is not enough: they need public support. A deficit of five million per year is expected between 2018 and 2023, after which they should have sufficient income.

Beginners underestimate risks of running

Among inexperienced runners, eleven per cent are injured within the first six weeks. That’s a considerable number, according to movement sciences researcher Bas Kluitenberg, who is receiving his PhD on Thursday.

Kluitenberg monitored the progress of 1,700 beginners who followed a course from Atletiekunie and discovered that lack of experience, age, high BMI and pre-existing injuries increased risk of injuries, particularly to knees, shins and ankles. Excessive training and relying on exercise apps also raises the risk of injury, but running for more than one hour per week can also offer protection.