Proposal to move student boards from Pnyx to Parnassos

Pnyx, the city centre building that currently houses 36 student boards. Photo: DUB

Director Marieke van Merriënboer of cultural centre Parnassos wants to collaborate more often with students and scientists of Utrecht University. This is one of the ways she wants to increase the sense of community. One of her proposals is to move the student boards, who have to vacate the Pnyx building, to Parnassos. Parnassos is currently already the home of numerous cultural student associations, and Van Merriënboer sees various possibilities for intensifying the collaboration between students by housing the Pnyx boards in Parnassos.

Van Merriënboer says so in an interview with DUB, which was held on occasion of the 25-year anniversary Parnassos is celebrating this month. In the interview, she thinks about the future of the cultural centre.

Daan Warnas, chairman of the Pnyx committee, says all student boards would unanimously prefer to have a home in Parnassos instead of having to move to Utrecht Science Park. The university has its eye on a building at the Princetonplein for the 36 student boards. Fourteen boards are, however, refusing to move there (link in Dutch, ed.). “But we’re super enthusiastic about Parnassos. Everything the building in De Uithof doesn’t have, Parnassos does. It’s accessible for people with disabilities, it’s in a visible location, and it’s a location students are already familiar with. Another big advantage is that so many things are organised for and by students in Parnassos, and that it has a bar where you can meet each other. It would also be interesting for us to collaborate with Parnassos.”

The Pnyx committee, which had heard about Van Merriënboer’s proposal, has since contacted Parnassos and the student members of the University Council. Warnas is currently working on a letter to be sent to the Executive Board, to plead for the move to Parnassos.

But before the Parnassos building could house the Pnyx boards, the university board would have to find an alternative home for the international students who are currently living in the building at the Kruisstraat. Sixty international students are currently living there, in thirty rooms; the students all share their rooms with another student. Van Merriënboer wonders whether it’d be possible to renovate Pnyx to become a housing location for internationals, or to sell it and use the earnings to create an alternative living space. Or that perhaps they could move to De Uithof, where a new student housing high-rise building is being constructed.

The students of the University Council have since been informed about Van Merriënboer’s idea. They feel the alternative housing in De Uithof that’s been offered to the boards is currently sub-par (link in Dutch, ed). Student council member Vincent de Haes: “We would think it’s a positive development if the student boards of Pnyx could move to Parnassos. We also see possible benefits to a closer connection. We’re currently looking within the university at what the possibilities are. We do think that Pnyx can only move to Parnassos if it’s not at the expense of the number of rooms for internationals. So we need an alternative for that.”