Sharing Days: ‘Not everything is about donating money’

One of the glass treasures soon to be exhibited at the university museum. Photo: UMU

Following in on the footsteps of American universities, which hold the so-called Giving Tuesday in October, Utrecht University is looking to establish a similar concept.

Suzan Engels, one of the organisers of this week full of charitable activities, says there are a few differences between UU's event and the American one: “In the United States, Giving Tuesday focuses more on fundraising, but we're not only focused on that. Rather, we strive for connection and inspiring each other.”

“We’re hoping that Sharing Days will become a well-known concept at UU. That could mean we would organise fewer charitable activities throughout the year, focusing our efforts on this week instead. That way, it would be easier to garner attention for it.”

An interactive and hybrid programme
Students, alumni, staff, friends, donors, and residents of Utrecht can all contribute to – and be a part of – the interactive, hybrid programme.

Organised by UU and the Utrecht University Fund, the event has something for everyone. The activities include an outdoor movie theatre in the botanical gardens, which can be visited in the evening of May 18, and an Incluusion meeting on May 19 where attendees will listen to refugees’ stories. There are activities planned for each day of the week. The proceeds of the outdoor movie theatre will go to the emergency fund to help Ukrainian, Russian and Belarussian students affected by the war in Ukraine.

Glass treasures
On Monday, May 16, the Utrecht University Museum started a fundraiser for the restoration of a scientific collection of glass models that’s unique in the Netherlands, as well as for the exhibition of these artefacts when the museum reopens in 2023. Called Blaschka models, these delicate glass pieces depict marine animals. They were created by father and son Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in 1883 at the request of UU professor Hubrecht, who wanted to use them in his Biology classes. With the crowdfunding, which received the title Pareltjes van glas (glass treasures, Ed), the museum hopes to raise 45,000 euros. Paul Lambers, curator of the museum: “This collection is unique in the Netherlands and can only be viewed in Utrecht. Soon, everyone will be able to admire them and see how well-made they are.”

Donating time
“It’s not all about money,” reminds Suzan. “For some events, all we’re asking for is a little bit of your time.” Those short on money can still make a contribution by donating their time: for example, you can spend an afternoon geo-referencing old maps of the remarkable Blaeu collection. This event is taking place on Tuesday afternoon, May 17. You can help compare old maps to current maps to indicate changes throughout time.

Interested? Please find the full programme here.