Campus relocation update (17/11/’19)

Dear fellow University College Utrecht alumni,


We are sure that by now, the news that UU is selling UCU’s campus has reached most of you. However, further information beyond the initial newspaper article has not been very forthcoming. We have therefore been in contact with several other parties therefore been trying to clear up the picture.


First of all, it is important to remark that the sale has not actually been made yet, and so the decision is not yet entirely definite. The College van Bestuur, the executive board of the UU, however has made its intent clear, and the URaad has given its approval. The College, being the students, staff, management (or alumni), have not been consulted and had no part in the process. Only as recently as the spring of 2019, management was asked for their general opinion on a wide menu of options, including a version of the one currently in favour that they empathically advised against.


Secondly, the decision to sell campus seems to be mainly cost-driven. The wider university has too much overhead, and there is a government-mandated maximum percentage of 15% of costs to be spent on housing that it is currently exceeding. UCU and its campus are one of the worst offenders, besides the remaining inner-city buildings that the UU considered inviolable. For the entire campus, these housing costs amount to some ~4-5 million euros per annum, of which UCU takes up about 1.5-2 million euros per year. In all this, the UU is not considering the intangible value the current campus offers to UCU.

Another argument the UU is putting forward is the limited possibility to make campus more sustainable. Any measures taken would certainly prove very costly, so it is considered better to move campus off the balance sheet entirely and build anew. One argument against this line of reasoning is that the offending buildings are monumental and cannot be demolished, so that selling them would merely shift the burden of redevelopment and renovation to a buying party.


Thirdly, there are some complications a prospective buyer would have to face up to, and it remains unclear what kind of parties would be interested. The minimal asking price singing around is ~30 million. No high-rising buildings are permitted on the site due to its proximity to the adjacent Army Headquarters, and the protected lines of sight prohibit any new buildings being constructed. Furthermore, the original campus buildings are monumental, and cannot be adapted from the outside. Something similar holds for some of the newer buildings on campus, which are still under architectural licence and cannot be changed without the architect’s approval. Another complication is that the UU doesn’t actually own all of the property on campus. It has the deed to the land and possesses most of the non-residential buildings. All student housing, including the upper floors of the academic buildings, is owned by Lekstede. UU has a lease contract with them that can be cancelled on a yearly basis. The (very high) rents for rooms on campus pay only for Lekstede’s housing costs, not for UU’s housing costs. These are covered solely by tuition fees, and indirectly by government contributions.


Details of a proposal for a new campus are few and far between, and it is very unclear what UC would get back in return for giving up its current location. So far, the UU insists that they are committed to a residential campus that combines living, teaching and studying in one place. For these plans they have a ~30 million outlay in mind. This figure is reserved for the academic spaces of the development, while they would look for an external partner to construct residential areas. Proposed is a total land area of about 5.000m2, significantly less than a football pitch and less than a quarter of the current campus. This seems to preclude a setup like the present one with open areas to meet in, and suggests one should rather think more in the direction of something like LUC’s single tower, combining living and teaching in one building, near The Hague central station or AUC’s buildings at the Amsterdam Science Park, where they have several residential housing blocks plus a separate academic building.

Although other neighbourhoods (such as the Jaarbeurs-area or Kanaleneiland) have been mooted, the most likely location for UCU to move to is de Uithof, also called Utrecht Science Park. One possibility is to place it close to the International School that is to open there. Prof. Anton Pijper, the director of UU’s executive board, has suggested the building might take a U-shaped form with an internal courtyard facing the Amelisweerd forest on the outskirts of de Uithof. Although UU has promised to hear UCU’s preferences and wishes, it is unclear how much leverage there is to place any demands if they choose to go down a different path.


We see it as unlikely that a version of these current proposals would be able to adequately preserve UCU’s unique identity and allow it to prosper. Whatever its deficiencies, the campus is the most obvious point of distinction UCU has with respect to the zoo of University Colleges, 12 in number at last count, that have sprouted in recent years. Although in principle UCU’s strengths are independent of its location, they are intrinsically linked to the characteristics of the campus it currently inhabits that are incredibly hard to replicate elsewhere.


What remains to be investigated is how to react to these plans. An alumni petition protesting UU’s decision has now amassed about 1500 signatures, an overwhelming response offering a clear sign of displeasure and anger considering that the alumni body now consist of some 3000 souls. Irrespective of what will happen, it would be hugely beneficial to make it plain that we, UCU’s alumni, feel strongly about this and have useful insights to contribute to the debate. There are several areas to explore:


– media: it is important to have our message heard – this can include approaching the university, local and national media.


– real estate & renovation: getting an idea how expensive the current campus would be, what renovations would cost, and what development opportunities there are there. Also, it would be good to get a figure for what a new campus with similar residential setup would cost


– politics: we could help by approaching the members of university, local and national political bodies to tell them of our point of view and try to influence proceedings


– relocation wish list: in case the relocation becomes inevitable or is even made desirable, then what would our wishes and preferences be? The more concrete such ideas are, the more likely it is that UU will listen and take them into account.


– …?


We hope to form committees to investigate these and other areas and direct efforts. If you have some expertise in any of them and can contribute, or know anyone who might, please do get in touch.


At the moment, the information above is all we have managed to gather. If you happen to be aware of further details or have illuminating insights, you can share them with us and the alumni community by posting on facebook or reaching out to us at


Meanwhile, we will do our best to keep you abreast of any further developments if and when they occur. We would encourage you to stay in touch via facebook  and LinkedIn. Furthermore, we would welcome all the help we can get on the board to deal with these issues. We still have a few positions on the board open, and are generally willing to be quite flexible in distributing tasks.

UCAA board

Newsletter Spring 2016

Newsletter header

Welcome (back) dear alumni!

Here we are again with another UCAA Newsletter; we are trying to use our other mediums such as Facebook and LinkedIn to keep you posted about the whereabouts of our community; and you have also been very active in responding to our events and calls, that gives us extra motives and incentives to continue our work.

Like always most of our work is behind the scenes: We facilitated the publication of the 10th edition of the Post magazine despite all the financial barriers, and it was not only “bigger” than the previous editions but it was also published on higher volume and sent to a selected number of companies and your parents, namely those who are currently residing in the Netherlands to show them a glimpse of what we – as the alumni – are doing and the money they spent on our education at UCU has not all gone to waste. We are very proud of the Post magazine and we would like to thank the editorial board of Post for all their work throughout these years.

We are following through the Strategic Outlook which we shared with you last year (to be found here). Our annual report (to be found here) is approved by UCU Management Team and our audit is conducted with transparency. We are very proud to have lowered our overhead costs to less than 10%; and this is very much in line with our strategy for our financial sustainability; in the same path we have approached external sponsors for Post and our other activities. Over 2015, the board worked tirelessly to sustain the other aspects of our foundation: we have shifted the structure of the organization from “individual-based” to “position-based” meaning that the activities of every section is “continued” after the departure of the person holding that position rather than being “invented” again. As a volunteer-based organization this was one of our biggest challenges over the years.

As of Spring 2016, we are rolling out another step of our strategy for financial sustainability: we are promoting and encouraging the members of the community – aka YOU – to become a donor for UCAA. As of Spring 2016 our events are only free of charge for UCAA donors (and the recent graduates i.e. the ones graduated in the last 5 years). As explained in our Strategic Outlook, we need to diversify our resources and your contribution is an integral part of our bigger plan.

We also would like to thank two of our departed members namely Esther Kieft (’11) and Thijs Olthof (’14) who contributed significantly to our growth. And we are welcoming two new board members: Tycho Sikkenk (’12), who filled the treasurer position and Lot Wagemakers (‘11) as the new events coordinator.

We all look forward to the coming year full of events and new ideas.

Your UCAA Board


UCAA PubQuiz, 9th April
Same as every year, we are bringing you a PubQuiz! Come and join us in the UCSA bar on the 9th of April for some fun with old friends!
You can come with an already formed team (up to 5 people) or just join a team on the spot!

Changing your address in our records!

Have you been receiving our Alumni magazine the Post? Every half year when the Post is published, a number of copies are returned to us as undelivered. Please forward to us your current posting address at and we will take care of the update!

20160308_PostMagazine_call-for-content_v2 (2)

New Board Members

We are welcoming 2 new board members as of January this year! Somaye Dehban (’07) is joining us as Chair and Tanya van Goch (’12 ½) as PR/External Relations Coordinator.

Somaye Dehban ('07)Somaye: “I cannot think of any other institution that has influenced my life as much as UCU has. When I entered UCU in Spring 2005, I was an Iranian leaving her country for the first time and when I threw my cap in the air (well, I did not have one as I wore sort of an Iranian costume) at graduation in 2007, I truly believed I am on my way to becoming a world citizen. This is the second time that I am on the UCAA board after holding the PR/External Representative position for 2.5 years between 2009 and 2011. This time I joined the board since “I have a dream”! I want the UCU alumni to have more opportunities to network and learn from each other; I want UCU alumni to also support the current and prospective UCU students in one way or another and most importantly I want to have more fun with YOU!”


TanyaTanya: “What do you think of when someone says “UCU”? I think of a great place that generates fun memories and lasting friendships. This is why I wanted a “good excuse” to be able to return to campus once in a while and help alumni stay in touch, cheesy as it may sound. So I joined the UCAA Board and was able to combine this with a growing interest of mine: PR /communications. A graduate of 2012½, I’m currently enrolled in the MA Global Criminology program at the UU.”


Special thanks to Luisa Kühlmann and Indra Spronk for their efforts and contributions to the UCAA board!


Always wanted to be chair? This is your chance!

Are you an excellent delegator, a brilliant public speaker and a dazzling negotiator? Are you looking for an opportunity to prove yourself? This is your chance: the UCAA is looking for a new chair!

As a chair, your first responsibility is the proper functioning of the board. This includes chairing meetings and knowing exactly what needs to be done, but also finding new board members when necessary. Secondly, you’re in charge of maintaining the official relations with UCU, and the student organizations UCSA and ASC. In this position, you will be representing the UCAA with a speech during UCU’s graduation ceremony twice a year. Finally, the UCAA’s short- and long-term strategies are in your hands.

Is this you?

  • You have experience being part of a board; chair or management experience is even better.
  • You have a vision and you’re able to convey it.
  • You’re well-organized and you like to take initiative.
  • You graduated from UCU and still feel connected.
  • You’re able to attend meetings in Utrecht both during office hours (with UCU staff) and evening hours (with the board). Living in or close to Utrecht is a plus.
  • You’re available for about six hours per week, working from home or the UCAA office on campus, starting from December 1.

In return, this position will give you:

  • Valuable experience in chairing an organization on the border of education, including professional contacts with the UCU management.
  • Appreciation from over two thousand alumni and a chance to contribute to campus again.
  • An excellent addition to your CV.
  • A motivated and fun team to work with, consisting of alumni ranging from the class of ’06 to the class of ’13.
  • A small financial compensation every year for your time and effort.

Does this sound like something that you are cut out for? Send your CV and a short motivation to before Monday, November 16. For more information, contact Roeland van Beek at the above email address or via 030–2539858.

New board member!

We are happy to announce our new board member, Januschka Veldstra (’13)! Januschka will be working as Events Coordinator and will be busy organizing many exciting (and new) activities for you. We are looking forward to working together, so stay posted!

Our Chair Kiran Coleman has left after three dedicated years with UCAA. We wish him all the best in his new adventures!

Who is currently on the board? Check the “Board” page right here!