Over the past years I've gotten involved with a number of associations and organisations that I'm still connected with. As far as I'm concerned, this page is some sort of shout-out to those organisations that are doing awesome things and have helped me gain some invaluable skills.
The JWG (Youth Association for Astronomy) is a Dutch country-wide association that has the goal of bringing science (and astronomy and astrophysics in particular) to children and young adults. A group of enthusiastic people organise all sorts of things including summer camps, lectures and support at relevant events of other like-minded organisations.
I've joined the JWG as a kid somewhere around 2006 and have been a member ever since. I went to most of the camps available to me when I was the target audience myself. When I was in middle school I spent some time organising small things for my local chapter of the association. When I became to old to go on the camps myself I was invited to organise one of the main summer camps and I've been doing that since 2012.
Proto is the study association for Creative Technology and Interaction Technology at the University of Twente. Since its inception in 2011 it has grown to over 700 members of which 120 actively participate in running the thing. It has very close ties to the studies and several people from the association are actively involved in improving education through panels, evaluations and feedback. Besides that they organise a number of educational activities including workshops, lectures and study nights. Finally they organise lots of social activities.
For me Proto is synonymous for my time at the University of Twente. Even though my master had another study association, Proto remained my home base for over eight years. In the 2013/2014 academic year I took a year off from studying to join the (full-time) association board and learned a lot of team and social skills trying to help the then-young association mature into adulthood. In 2015/2016 I teamed up with a number of fellow students to organise a number of large activities for the 5th birthday of the association. One of these is still my favorite activity to date: laser gaming in the main lecture hall of the study. Between 2012 and 2020 I was happy to be a part of the IT committee for the association, automating lots of tedious work including financial transactions, a point-of-sale system for food in the association room and stuff like their website and e-mail. Over this period I've acquired and refined most of the skills that I now use in my professional work. It's safe to say that that IT committee, and the association on general, was as important (if not more important) for my development as my study was.
The Kick-In is the introductory period of the University of Twente. It consists of one and a half week in which new students are getting started with everything they need to know before starting their studies. They are introduced to the university campus, the city, all associations and there is a three-day study-specific program as well. For most students, the Kick-In is the start of many friendships and even years later many students are still involved with the Kick-In, organising activities for first years or guiding a group of first years as a "do-group parent".
Besides participating in my own Kick-In, I've been involved with the Kick-In since 2012. I've been a part of the group that develops the Kick-In logistics system between 2012 and 2015, but mainly I've been part of the Media crew. The Media crew follows the students throughout the Kick-In pulling long hours documenting activities and parties. At this point, for me the Kick-In is a 9 day vacation with friends where we pull all kinds of stunts to get the most amazing pictures to share with the participants.