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1. Construction Activities on Campus

Maria Montessori Building

The biggest accomplishment of 2020 was the completion in November of the Maria Montessori building, the new home of the Faculty of Social Sciences. It is the first energy-neutral building on campus, thanks in part to solar panels and the connection to the hybrid energy network. The building consists of two parts connected by a bridge. Additional trees will be planted outside to compensate for the (small) felling of trees and the felling that was necessary for the renovation of the Berchmanianum.

New Entrance to the Erasmus Building

With its new entrance and foyer, the Erasmus building has been revitalised as an icon of the humanities. The entrance connects to the Refter, which was renovated in 2019 and includes a new terrace with a view of the Berchmanianum. Two additional entrances were added and the staircase in the hall was moved, making the garden room more suitable for lectures. The lobby has new workplaces and the lifts have been renovated. A study will be carried out to find new accommodation for the building’s two main occupants: the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies. This study will be made in combination with an investigation into the use of the Erasmus building, which may then become vacant.

With its new entrance and foyer, the Erasmus building has been revitalised as an icon of the humanities.

Digital Testing Facility

In 2020, the Comeniuslaan 6 building was turned into a 300-seat examination location for digital assessment. Comeniuslaan 4 will follow in 2021, with 600 seats. Examinations still often take place in the sports centre, which requires a lot of extra work to set up and dismantle and which has sub-optimal internet. But digital assessment is becoming increasingly popular, and the harmonisation of the annual timetable means that all students now have examinations at the same time. That’s why more space is needed. Digital assessment offers many advantages, such as less revision work for lecturers. In addition, new forms of assessment will become possible, such as writing a commentary about a video. Many students also prefer it: they can now type faster than they can write.

Flexible Buildings

The university aims for a more flexible use of its spaces, especially to meet the growing demand for study places. The restaurant in the Huygens building has already been redesigned as a multifunctional space for eating and studying.

The expectation that staff will work from home more often after COVID-19 has also had an impact. As a result, the strategy for the campus, which was completed before the pandemic, is being reviewed. Wilma de Koning, Vice President of the Executive Board, wants to be prepared for more working from home and more online education. “If this is indeed the trend, we will probably need other spaces on campus in the future. But students and staff members must continue to meet each other, even in the future. We will remain a campus university.”

‘Students and staff members must continue to meet each other, even in the future. We will remain a campus university’

- Wilma de Koning