Win 1,000 euros

How would you like to be DUB's campus columnist in 2023?

campuscolumnist 2023

DUB's campus columnist is a student or employee who regularly writes about matters related to the university and the experience of studying or working at UU. To name but a few examples, they can write about looking for accommodation, the mounting gas and electricity bills, inappropriate behaviour in the classroom, the ups and downs of student life, or the challenges of writing a thesis. Teachers' ever-increasing workload, hybrid education, the pursuit to make UU more sustainable, the pros and cons of open science, and the appointment of teachers on a permanent contract are also topics the campus columnist can write about. 

The panel of judges is hoping to see candidates write about university life in an amusing manner, while still getting to the heart of the matter. They love seeing a refined sense of the English or Dutch language with a touch of humour. Candidates are encouraged to not shy away from giving their honest opinions, and they should strive to surprise the reader.

DUB has two campus columnists, one for the Dutch page and another one for the English page. To participate in the contest, you must choose one of the languages. The competition is open to all UU students and employees. The entries will be anonymised so that the panel of judges doesn't know who sent each column. The two winners will be writing a column every two weeks from January onwards.

Last year's winners
The new campus columnists will be succeeding current columnists Leonie van Bruggen and Chandni Shyam. Leonie van Bruggen is an associate professor and a senior member of staff at the department of Radiology from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. This is the second time an employee fulfils the role of campus columnist on the Dutch page. In one of Van Bruggen’s columns, titled A New Generation, she invited former students to reminisce with her about their education and her role as their tutor. She also often writes about the relationship between humans and animals, the topic of her most recent column.

Chandni Shyam is a student from India who has just graduated with a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology. In her first column, she wrote about not being able to attend her classes at Utrecht University in person due to the Covid-19 pandemic, comparing her relationship with the university to a long-distance romantic relationship. Last spring, she finally managed to come to Utrecht and accept her diploma in person. She spent the following months trying to find a job in Utrecht but that didn't work, so now she's going back to India. 

Three nominees for each language
The panel will choose the three best entries in Dutch and the three best entries in English. These finalists will have their entries published on DUB ahead of the announcement of the two winners, which will happen on DUB’s New Year’s gathering.

In addition to writing columns, the winners will get the Erik Hardeman stipend (1,000 euro each). Hardeman used to be a columnist on U-Blad, the print magazine that preceded DUB. He wrote about university life in a sharp and original way, portraying the perspectives of student associations, the university’s boardroom and the Institute for Raetho-Romance languages and cultures. His columns had venom and humour. After his departure, the search for someone who could talk about the university in a similar way was on. This role has been filled by the campus columnist since 2012. 

All students and employees connected to UU on January 1, 2023, are eligible to enter the contest. So, students that will graduate in 2023 are also invited to participate.

How to participate
Send in two columns about the university and/or university life no later than December 1. They should not exceed 500 words each. The entries should be sent to

Who is in the panel of judges this year

  • Mia You is an associate professor in Modern Literature and a poet. She wrote the bilingual poem Proverb for the 2022 Poetry Week on behalf of Unesco’s Utrecht City of Literature. Talking to DUB about the poem, she pleads for more multilingualism and a creative approach to language. Her new book, which is going to talk about her own integration process in the Netherlands, is set to be published in both English and Dutch. 
  • Boban Braspenning is a comedian who is going to perform several times in Utrecht in the upcoming months. This is not a coincidence, considering Braspenning studied Public Administration and Organisational Sciences at UU, followed by Master’s degrees in Applied Ethics and Communication, Policy & Management. In 2021, Braspenning won both the panel and audience awards at the Groningen Student Cabaret. He has also written a children’s book about banking.
  • Samuel de Weerd just obtained a Master’s degree in Energy Science at UU. He was a campus columnist nominee last year and wrote several blog entries for DUB after that. His opinion piece I refuse to get vaccinated out of principle because I'd rather work on a healthy future generated a lot of controversy and discussion in the university community. After that, he joined DUB as an intern for three months, a period during which he went on a quest to find the person who best represents the average student at UU.
  • Stephanie Helfferich is a project leader for the Public Engagement programme, which analyses how to build more bridges between the university and society. Prior to this position, she worked at the University Library to make research stories more accessible to a broader audience. Helfferich studied Philosophy of Art & Culture at the University of Amsterdam.
  • Ries Agterberg is DUB's editor-in-chief. Having studied Dutch Language & Culture at UU, he's published several poetry collections and a short novel.

The prize
The winners will get a stipend of 1,000 euros each to write columns every two weeks for an entire year.

Do you have any questions about the contest? Don't hesitate to ask. Just send an e-mail to our editor-in-chief, Ries Agterberg: