EUniverCities logo

Students win three of the five City of Ghent “Jong & Wijs Awards”

Students win three of the five City of Ghent “Jong & Wijs Awards”


Published on 5 April 2023

Share this: Twitter,etc
Students of Ghent University and Artevelde University of Applied Sciences won three out of five ‘Jong & Wijs Awards’ of the City of Ghent. The awards are presented annually by the City of Ghent to persons and organisations in Ghent who are working on child and youth-friendly initiatives. “The Jong & Wijs Awards show more than ever that youngsters are building a youth-friendly city themselves,” said Deputy Mayor of Youth, Hafsa El-Bazioui. Students in Ghent care about the city where they study, which is demonstrated by the fact that three of these awards were won by students.

The ‘Studentenstandbeeld’ award, for groups of students who dedicate themselves to others, was won by the role model project of Ghent’s higher education institutions. The students involved in the role model project visit secondary schools to talk about higher education, their choice of study, their successes and obstacles. They aim to give pupils a good idea of what higher education is like and inform them about living in lodgings, what to expect on the first day at the faculty, and from lectures and exams, plus the existing support systems, etc. The role model project hopes to eliminate any barriers for future students and thus offer them the support they need to start their higher education.
Ariyana (20), who studies law at Ghent University, talks about why she visits secondary schools as a role model: “I could have used a role model when I had to choose what I wanted to study after my last year in secondary education. I wasn’t born in Belgium and my parents couldn’t help me with the questions I had. I had to figure out a lot on my own. I knew I wanted to go to university, but I didn’t know if I could handle it. That support and motivation would have come in handy for me.”

A second award – ‘Babbelbeker’, which focuses on the mental health of youngsters, was won by the Epione project, a chat line for students – run by students, where they can have a chat for free, and anonymously. A group of Ghent University students started this chat line during the pandemic, when many students were struggling. This group of students responded to a great need on a completely voluntary basis and without any resources. Since then, the chat line has developed into a collaboration between the Ghent Student Council, the City of Ghent and all Ghent higher education institutions.

‘Projectpluim’, an award for projects in Ghent, was presented to the ‘Jeugdwerking Watersportbaan’ project. In this project, students of Artevelde University of Applied Sciences worked on their bachelor’s thesis in the Ghent high-rise neighbourhood Watersportbaan, a vulnerable neighbourhood without any form of youth welfare work. Previous research had shown that youngsters in the neighbourhood needed “a place of their own”. During the thesis project which involved 12 students from Artevelde University of Applied Sciences, this ‘place’ became a reality, with a youth centre being set up and attracting around 25 youngsters on a regular basis. At the end of the thesis, the students also met with the Deputy Mayor of Youth to discuss the vision for youth work they had developed during their project.