Interview Sport&Cultuur – Raymond en Erik

‘The needs of young people’

Interview Upgrade Sports & Culture

Erik de Vos Facility Manager & Raymond Browne Manager Sports & Culture

TU Delft’s Sports & Culture unit is set to expand with new facilities such a third sport’s facility, multifunctional rooms, an innovation lab, a concept store, playground, office space and food & beverage facilities. After delivery in the third quarter of 2018 the range of activities on offer will expand so much that the moniker Sports & Culture will no longer be appropriate.

Erik de Vos is facility project advisor and account holder for, among other things, Sports & Culture. In this role he monitors the logistics and organisational matters new projects entail. Erik has worked at TU Delft for 31 years. Manager Sport & Culture Raymond Browne tops this though having worked at the university for 37 years. Bar a 10-year detour to HR he was always involved in culture and later on, sports.

Why this expansion and upgrade?

Raymond: “Due to the greatly increased interest in the activities. In 2005 that interest was considered too low for the amount of funds spent on the activities. We then started improving the range of activities on offer on the basis of the idea that sport and culture contribute to delivering ‘creative engineers with a sense of societal responsibility’”.

Erik: “This concerned both the accommodations and the programmes. We introduced AstroTurf, better gym equipment, good food and beverage facilities and loads more. We also listened to what students wanted. For instance, when American students indicated that they wanted to play lacrosse we started a club. This led to the number of annual participations increasing from 300,000 in 2005 to 1.2 million now. This is partially down to autonomous growth and partially due to the increase in the number of student over the period from 13,000 to 21,000.”

Raymond: “The downside of this success is that you start running out of capacity. Many sports clubs have stopped admitting new members and the freely accessible activities you reserve online have, in the past, been booked out in 25 seconds. Some students even wrote software to automatically book empty slots. The expansion is therefore very very welcome”.

What will the expansion and upgrade entail for students?

Raymond: “First off, the waiting lists will disappear. But we also studied our vision and have broadened our drive to ‘the needs of young people’. This means that themes such as Balance (in life), Going out, Society and Maker Culture will be paid attention to. This demands new cooperations. The new construction will make that physically possible. By connecting the two existing Sports & Culture buildings the programmes can also forge links. Furthermore, a central entrance hall will be created with a front and rear square that we refer to as the Playground. A third, large sports accommodation will be built onto the Playground as well as rooms for dance, body & mind, martial arts and meditation and a variety of multifunctional spaces. At the front a concept store will be set up where students can run their own retail business for a while. We will also set up an innovation lab where we will utilise and showcase the latest options in the field of digital production techniques such as 3D printing. The current Cultuurfoyer [cultural foyer] will become a sort of living room where students provide the programming. We will also consciously leave surface area unoccupied so that this can later be filled in spontaneously. Finally, we have the ambition to start a student farm with allotments, but also chickens, pigs, cows and goats.”

Interview Sport&Cultuur – Raymond Raymond Browne  

What will be the biggest challenges today and in the future?

Erik: “At the moment that’s keeping things going while we convert the facilities. The existing locations will be converted over the summer months in as far as possible. This will mainly cause nuisance to staff. Raymond and his team will be temporarily housed for a year, starting now. Afterwards, they will be provided with flex spaces”.

Raymond: “More flexible working is part of the new vision. This also means that staff will be given more freedom to decide on requests from students”.

Why should we be proud of this?

Erik: “Sport & Culture has a very clear vision of what it wishes to offer students. There is a very broad range of activities that contribute to personal development. This means the living campus will be substantiated in a manner unique in the Netherlands. Both with regard to hardware and content”.

Interview Sport&Cultuur – Erik Erik de Vos  


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