News of the Week: 19 December–7 January

What's happened over the break? Funding for earthquake-proofing, toilet break ban, Korea Corner opens and more.

Funding for earthquake-resistant buildings

thumb-aardbevingActing mayor Ruud Vreeman has asked minister Henk Kamp for additional funding to make several university buildings more earthquake-resistant. The Bernoulliborg, Linnaeusborg, the to-be-built Zernikeborg and Energy Academy are top priorities. Funding for the safety measures is meant to come from Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij, the company responsible for gas extraction in the province.

UMCG, the Energy Transition Center, Wiebenga complex, Prins Claus Conservatorium and the under-construction Groninger Forum are also on the list. The buildings will be assessed by government specialists and NAM in January. The earthquake-proofing is expected to cost millions.

Toilet breaks banned

thumb-wcSecond-year psychology students are protesting a ban on toilet breaks during exams, claiming it violates their basic rights. In the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, hundreds of students went to the toilet during a Statistics III exam. Some visited the toilet multiple times, leading to distraction and suspicion of cheating.

Instructors are concerned that students may have whatsapp-ed exam answers to each other from the toilets. Now, during exams of two hours or less, students cannot take bathroom breaks without a medical excuse. Students are requesting a ‘plashalfuurtje’ – ‘half hour pee break’ – halfway through the exams.

Korea Corner opens

thumb-KOrea-CornerA donation from the Korean embassy and a contribution of hundreds of books made the Korea Corner in the UB possible. The Corner is a symbol of the collaboration between Groningen and Pusan National University – as a result of the collaboration, RUG students can now do internships at Korean businesses and institutions. From now on, six students can do internships in Korea.

Mark Stokreef, a research officer at the Korean embassy in The Hague, understands the investment. ‘It’s all to promote the national image of Korea in the Netherlands. It’s a form of public diplomacy.’

New RUG location in Drenthe

thumb-astronFollowing University Campus Friesland in Leeuwarden, the RUG is also setting up shop in Drenthe. At Astron – Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy – in Dwingeloo, a new master’s programme, Advanced Instrumentation, will begin in September 2016. Students will learn how to create precision instruments for use in space travel.

The University expects around fifteen students to enroll in the first cohort, according to NOS. 
It will be the first university-level programme in the province, and Drenthe hopes to attract more in the future. That prospect is being discussed at the RUG.