Former sorority members give a chair to the next generation
In the large lecture hall of CUBE building, the words ‘Alea Iacta’ are inscribed on two chairs. Former sorority members Marion Rutgers-Doggen and Claire Brentjens-van Gorp decided to adopt the seats. “If you are an alumna, it's a good thing to give something back to your university.”
Rutgers-Doggen has fond memories of her time as a student. “If you make great memories, you preserve the bond with your fellow students and sorority members. If you don’t, you lose contact in the next, busy phases in your life. You study at ages 18-25 and you grow into adults together. You share the fun, the struggles, and the ups and downs of love together and see each other day and night.”
As law students, the two co-founded the Sint Olof sorority ‘Alea Iacta’ in 1980. Brentjens-van Gorp: “We thought we could set up a sorority that was more fun than the existing ones. And we did. I recognize our original spirit in the current members: enthusiastic, committed, grounded in trust and friendship.” The sorority now has 110 members; thirteen of the current members live in a student house in the center of Tilburg. Lieke de Bruijn is a current member; she is writing her thesis for her Organization Studies Master’s program. She hopes to graduate this summer. “The anniversary meeting was the last large in-person event that we organized before corona hit last year. We came together with fifty women, and I realized that we were all 'Iactas': the identity is still there.”
I recognize our original spirit in the current members: enthusiastic, committed, grounded in trust and friendship
Scanning the hall
De Bruijn does not live in the student house but can often be found there, for instance, for the weekly meetings. She likes the gesture that the two former members have made in both adopting a seat. “It is a good initiative. When I got my Bachelor’s last year, I quickly scanned the hall, looking for their seats. I hope to take a better look at a quieter moment.”
Have a Seat
An e-mail from Tilburg University give Brentjens-van Gorp and Rutgers-Doggen the idea to participate in Have a Seat. Rutgers-Doggen: “After law school, I went to work at a bank in Amsterdam and became a mother of five. All of them are now studying or have graduated. In recent years, I have taken up my studies again, namely a Psychology Bachelor and a Culture Studies Bachelor, both at the Open University. Currently I also volunteer at a primary school in my hometown of Laren, teaching language classes. My children are studying in different cities. The e-mail came just after visits to Utrecht and Delft. I did not have to think long: this was what I was going to do for my university!”
Scholarships for students
Brentjens-van Gorp’s reaction was also enthusiastic. “It is great that you can help young people from all over the world to study in Tilburg. My Colombian daughter-in-law also took a Master’s in Tilburg. She was able to fund her studies herself, but not everybody is able to do that.” Have a Seat provides scholarships, among others, for scholarship students who want to take a Master’s at Tilburg University. Rutgers-Doggen: “I myself went on exchange to Cambridge and my children went on exchange, too. I think it is important for the development of young people.”
I did not have to think long: this was what I was going to do for my university!
When the ladies visited the campus in the summer of 2019, they were very impressed by the developments on campus. “Apart from the heat, because it was a very hot day,” Rutgers-Doggen remembers. “We saw restaurants and an Albert Heijn’s To Go. In our time, CZ 40 was the largest study space, but it pales in comparison to CUBE.” Brentjens-van Gorp: “It was really impressive. I was trilled to see how Tilburg University continues to develop. The campus is really nice, the atmosphere is pleasant, with all those students, music, and sports facilities. There is more coherence between the buildings.” Given the corona measures, student Lieke de Bruijn can only dream of that lively campus. “I hope that more will be possible at the beginning of the summer.”
In the foreground
“I think that Tilburg University should get more into the foreground, for instance, in news programs on television,” Brentjens-van Gorp says. “A lot is happening in the field of data, for instance, in the scientific Zero Hunger Lab program. The university and its alumni can be proud of that.” After law school, she moved to Belgium, where she had three children and started writing. In 2019, she presented her novel Flardentango in the building of Sint Olof. In addition to being a donor to Have a Seat and the Zero Hunger Lab, she is also a Friend of Cobbenhagen.
It was really impressive. I was trilled to see how Tilburg University continues to develop
The die has been cast
De Bruijn promises to discuss Have a Seat during the weekly meeting of Alea Iacta. “After my studies, I want to maintain a strong connection with the university as an alumna.” Brentjens-van Gorp: “We would have liked to have an entire row of seats with our names plus Alea Iacta on them. We haven’t quite succeeded yet, but we are going to approach our fellow sorority members again.” Alea Iacta est: the die has been cast. Hopefully more former and current sorority members can be persuaded to adopt a seat as well. On the map, the seats of Rutgers-Doggen and Brentjens-van Gorp are marked blue .
Have a Seat
The seats in CUBE connect alumni and students quite literally. Moreover, students can come into contact with the person who adopted the seat they have been sitting in via the Tilburg University website. The University Fund uses the money to support, for instance, top athletes so they can participate in international competitions, promising international students who want to take a Master’s in Tilburg but cannot afford to do so, and students who need a small financial contribution to finish their studies as a result of extreme, external circumstances.
Are you also interested in adopting a seat in CUBE?