“Will it help us in the sustainability rankings?”

Last week the TU Delft Sustainability Community hosted a lunch lecture on how sustainable the TU Delft campus is. After all, the university talks the talk, but do they walk the walk?

From the data presented by Industrial Ecology student Siebe Trompert it became clear that the TU Delft has a long way to go in improving its practices in energy use, emissions, and building occupancy (1/3rd of buildings are vacant but still heated!?), while water usage on the other hand scored pretty high. There were a bunch of 5’s, 6’s and one 7 in there, but of the eight different themes that were scored, none were overwhelmingly spectacular. The framework developed by Siebe and his colleagues to gather and frame the data into scores from 1-10 seemed pretty solid, but they still need more data to complete the overview. And of course they want it to be reproduced every year, so we can see if and how the TU Delft improves itself. (Please add to the data yourself by filling out their student+staff survey).

After Siebe’s presentation, Mart Lubben, chairman of the national student sustainability organization ‘Studenten voor Morgen explained the “Sustainabul” ranking system through which Dutch universities are scored on their sustainability. Out of around 20 participating universities, ours scored very near the bottom. Ouch.

Luckily, this wake up call did not fall on deaf ears.

Two elderly gentlemen were present in the crowd and said they were heading up a new outfit at the TU Delft that will monitor and introduce new measures for making the campus more sustainable (Sustainability Manager?). Great move!
It just seems a shame that their first question to the speakers was, “Will following this framework for sustainability scores get us higher up in the ranking?” Asking whether the framework will actually make the university more sustainable in its practices would seem like a less cynical way of going about improving the university. But those are the signs of the times.


4 months of SG Academy and nobody’s lost their mind yet

After the first four months and 16 episodes I think we can safely say that the SG Academy has graduated from its trial period!


People get together and talk. They exchange information and opinions on certain subjects. There’s really nothing more fancy to it than that, but it works and it’s fun.

For a brief overview of the topics we’ve had and sources we’ve used so far, check out this pdf. Some of the highlights, which had seemingly nothing to do with the intended topics, include discussions about cannibalism, the (im)morality of first degree murder of other people in a lucid dream, and the theory that the entire universe is a simulation. And yet nobody’s lost their mind, yet.

Here’s a few quotes from participants so far, hopefully they can give you a better picture of what it’s about than I can:

“Personally I think that we as students should be able to talk openly about all kinds of philosophical subjects. Usually there’s a barrier to participating in such a discussion, especially if people think they don’t have enough knowledge about the topic. At the SG Academy I feel that all our opinions are accepted and that there is genuine interest in talking about them.
I recommend the SG Academy to broaden your horizon and feed your curiosity, while you’re sitting in the Matrix chair!”
– Setareh

“I’ve learned a lot and have been able to adjust my own opinions here and there. And as the slogan says, Anything Goes!”
– Cor

Eye in the triangle

Are We Missing the Big Picture in Delft?

How much time in your academic career have you spent discussing, debating, or explaining your own worldview with other students or staff? Had any fights, or perhaps breakthroughs because of it? To clarify, by worldview I mean your religion if you’re religious; your personal philosophy if you’re an atheist or agnostic; and in general, your ideology. The framework through which you think about the world, your place in it, right and wrong, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. You know; the big picture.


My guess is, not much time. At least, not in an institutional setting.

Which is why SG, together with students from half a dozen associations in Delft, has come up with a setting to discuss exactly that. The big picture. The following are the questions we intend to ask a small and diverse panel of students, recent graduates, and PhD candidates, during lunchtime discussion sessions for an open audience.

Worldview. What is your worldview? What effect has your worldview had on you as an engineer, and vice versa, what effect has your engineering education had on it?

Research/Work. Why are you doing what you are doing? How does your work fit in your worldview or ethics? Do you discuss the bigger implications and ethics of your work with people from different backgrounds? What are the consequences of that?

Freedom of expression and open discussion at the university. Are we missing the big picture in Delft? Are we doing enough to discuss worldviews critically and openly? (What is the purpose of the university, just to pump out able engineers or is there more?)

What we need to do now is to get a list of possible speakers together. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, atheists, agnostics, Baha’i, Sikhs, Satanists, materialists, philosophical engineers, you name it; a diverse group of young Delft engineers, preferably with some work or research experience.

I’m hoping that you can help out here, and look around if you know someone that we should invite. The main criteria are their age category (youngish, no older than say 32), and whether or not they are outspoken on the issue of worldviews, religions, or personal philosophy. If you have any tips or suggestions, please mail Klaas at k.p.vandertempel@tudelft.nl.

Once we have a good and diverse list together we’ll set a date for the first discussion and invite our speakers.

The TU Delta international section is going to devote a few pages to this topic as well. They’re publishing an article near the end of February on freedom of religion and freedom of expression at the TU Delft, so keep your eyes open for it.

Getekend: Repetities

Na succesvolle auditiedagen en een lang, en zwaar beraad waren Reinier Noordzij en Albert van Andel eruit: de acteurs voor de tekstrollen waren gekozen! Negen studenten en één docent kunnen zich gaan voorbereiden op hun rollen in de productie.

Op maandag 9 februari was de allereerste echte repetitie! Het script van Reinier werd goed ontvangen. Tijdens deze repetitie werd er vooral uit het script gelezen ,en gelachen, en probeerde de acteurs meerdere rollen zodat deze later goed verdeeld kunnen worden. Zo vormt Albert de acteurs langzaam tot de ideale oorlogsheld, de onzekere student, de soldaat, de verzetsstijder of geliefde. Vanaf nu wordt elke week een deel van het cultuurcentrum op de campus overgenomen door de nieuwe groep acteertalenten. Het stuk gaat zich vormen.

Getekend Repetities

Zoek je een bijbaantje?

Voor onze pool met flyeraars en poster ophangers zoeken wij nog studenten die wat bij willen verdienen. Studium Generale (SG) is er voor studenten van de TU Delft. SG wil bijdragen aan de academische vorming van studenten en aan het maatschappelijk debat over de rol van techniek en ingenieurs in de moderne samenleving, zowel op als buiten de campus van de TU Delft. SG stelt je wereld in een ander licht. Bezoek onze lezingen, workshops, debatten, films en documentaires over de meest uiteenlopende onderwerpen met bekende en onbekende wetenschappers, schrijvers, journalisten of politici, vaak op de scheidslijn van techniek en maatschappij en soms controversieel en altijd kritisch. Wij programmeren voor een groot deel op de campus in samenwerking met en bij de studie- en studentenverenigingen.

Heb je interesse of een vraag neem dan contact op met Studium Generale of bel 015-2785235.

Getekend: Audities

De theaterproductie van Getekend is in volle gang. Met een enthousiast productie bestuur bestaande uit studenten en drie gemotiveerde commissies zijn er al een paar hele mooie dingen gemaakt. In februari zullen de eerste repetities  plaatsvinden maar daarvoor moeten er eerst acteurs gevonden worden! Gewapend met posters en flyers, die gemaakt zijn door de designcommissie, ging de promocommissie bij alle verenigingen in Delft langs. Van studieverenigingen en cultuurcentra tot studentenverenigingen, niks was na hun harde werk nog postervrij.

Op de borrelvloer van deze verenigingen werd menig enthousiasteling gevonden die maar al te graag wilde auditeren om een plekje te veroveren op het toneel. Wil jij ook nog mee doen? Stuur dan voor 18 december een mailtje naar audities@getekenddelft.nl, en wie weet speel jij in mei wel mee in de grootste theaterproductie van Delft!

SG Academy

The SG Academy is a new initiative by Studium Generale to engage budding engineers in literature, philosophy, critical thinking, and a generally broader look at human culture through all kinds of media. Think of it as a modern book club, where a small group of (aspiring) intellectuals get together to discuss not just books, but writers, comics, art, movies, essays, articles, and documentaries.

Believe nothing Face Bob

The content will focus on everything from philosophy, to anthropology, cultural criticism, linguistics, logic, mythology, political ideologies, and metaphysics. Think Socrates, the Tao te Ching, Machiavelli, Marx, Zen Buddhism; the phenomenon of bullshit jobs; Banksy; the hidden meaning of your favorite Hollywood films; and other eye-openers.

Here’s how it works. When you sign up for the SG Academy mailing list, you will receive regular updates on the upcoming material, and the date and location where we will discuss it. Just RSVP if and when you want to join a discussion and you’ll get a confirmation. Discussions (and reading/viewing materials) will be informal and in English, led by Klaas from SG; the groups will be no bigger than 10 people, and we’ll get together during lunch breaks in the TU Library to chat. As a bonus, if you like, you can write about your thoughts and we’ll publish them on the SG website.

The objective is not to burden you with massive loads of reading or viewing material. Instead, we’ll take small bits at a time and use them to expand each others’ minds through in-depth analysis. Fun!

So here’s step one: sign up for the mailing list through SG program manager Klaas @ k.p.vandertempel@tudelft.nl

Tell us your name, what you’re studying, and briefly what your interest is as a human being in cultural and social matters.

Who the heck is Klaas?
Program manager at Studium Generale since 2010, Klaas graduated in 2002 with an IB diploma specializing in world literature, an honors Bachelor of Arts degree from the University Toronto in Anthropology, Political Sciences, and International Relations in 2006, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Utrecht in the Comparative History and Philosophy of Science in 2009. Apart from organizing and engaging in tons of mentally stimulating activities at SG, Klaas writes books on philosophy, the power of language, belief systems, and mystical experiences. His greatest ambition is to increase his intelligence, compassion, and wisdom, together with others.

OWee 2014

OWEE 2014 - 2 (1) Na vele zonnige jaren stond SG weer eens op een natte OWee infomarkt. In de koudste augustus in de laatste eeuw hebben wij ervoor gekozen om maar eens niet de nieuwe studenten naar SG te lokken met gratis speeltjes – zoals een bloempot met SG zonnebloem, of een SG fietslamp – maar met een interactief object die ze uitdaagde om na te denken en een mening te formuleren over enkele prikkelende (of stupide, hangt ervan af wat voor gevoel voor humor je hebt) stellingen.

Stellingen zoals “de overheid begrijpt niks van techniek,” “een kernramp of twee hoort erbij,” en “Aliens zijn hier op Aarde.”

Je kon kiezen uit een ja of nee antwoord, en dat vervolgens bekrachtigen door een groene of rode ballon op te pompen. Zo werd na veel pompbeurten duidelijk waar de meningen naar toe neigden.

En natuurlijk werd SG vergezeld door haar partner VOX Delft, die met een nieuwe poster- en flyeractie haar bereik onder studenten wil vergroten.



Job Application: the TU Delft Sustainability Community needs you!

For the last few months, SG has been helping students out to organize a TU Delft Sustainability Community, bringing together all the organizations in Delft committed to sustainability and ecological awareness. So far, the list includes Smart Campus, Students4Sustainability, Ecolution, SHIFT, Passie voor bouw, Energy Club, Delft Social Impact, SHS, and Climate City Campus.

To keep growing after the summer, the community needs an institutional structure and a coordinating body. This body would also require an advisory committee, funding, a physical space on campus, etc.

This summer,  a 3-month part time project is available for one student to put together a plan to institutionalize the TU Delft Sustainability Community. You will be working with FMVG, Sport & Culture, Valorisation, and ‘Synergy’ partners (e.g. Library, Aula) at the university. The position will most-likely be funded (confirmation to be received soon).

Consider this a ‘job posting’, and an opportunity to form the future of our community. At the same time, it does NOT commit you to chairing/coordinating the community beyond September, 2014. At this point, your work will be submitted to the TU Delft Executive Board and committee of advisors, after which a decision will be made to formally establish the Sustainability Community within TU Delft. Please send your ‘motivation/intent’ to take on this task to smartcampus@tudelft.nl

Lessen uit Frans de Waal’s “De bonobo en de tien geboden”

Lessen uit “De bonobo en de 10 geboden”

  • Moraliteit zit deels in onze bouwstenen verwerkt, dus laten we ook oog hebben voor onze natuurlijke sociale instincten zoals empathie en samenwerken.

Het is altijd interessant om te horen wat mensen van onze activiteiten vinden. Lees via deze link een verslag van Frans de Waal’s lezing op 27 mei 2014 over “De bonobo en de tien geboden,” vanuit een verassend perspectief.

Met dank aan Iris van Loon, YP redacteur gebiedsontwikkeling.nu en projectleider bij Sport&Cultuur van de TU Delft