Striving for a fair and sustainable world requires equal rights and opportunities for all. When it comes to local policy and action to support diversity and inclusivity, the Maastricht University is a frontrunner in Europe. As a European university with a global outlook they are aware and proud that their strength lies in diversity. Having installed a Diversity & Inclusivity (D&I) office for 5 years now, tangible results can be measured by a dedicated team of four staff members and five student assistants. Over these five years, 75,000 euros per year has been awarded to almost twenty D&I projects submitted by communities of staff and students. One of the submitted grants has now led to the rise of an D&I event upcoming in spring 2023 in Maastricht, the student-led conference WICKED.
The Interfaculty conference WICKED intends to make space for marginalized voices that are frequently forgotten. The initiative is powered by a community of university students, staff and external stakeholders. The event will take place 15th of April 2023 and will be organized in inclusive, diverse, and interdisciplinary teams from different faculties.
Anton Ulaska is one of the co-founders and coordinators for the Wicked- interfaculty conference as a student Global Studies. ‘WICKED – the interfaculty conference supports and strengthens the ecosystem for a more inclusive and diverse community in Maastricht University,’ says Anton. ‘We facilitate meaningful connections and break the silos of disciplines to bridge voices to exchange knowledge and establish new alliances. This we believe is vital, when we want to address complex problems such as sustainability and mental health that overstep conventional boundaries of disciplines. We are excited to be at the forefront of creating this momentum in Maastricht University.’
Local initiative with cross border impact
The D&I Grants, all-gender toilets, lactation rooms, several staff and student networks, events and conferences, and Maastricht University (kids) Summer Camp are very visible results of what Maastricht University does. Other projects are less visible to everyone and are often part of a bigger picture and multidisciplinary: inclusive recruitment strategies and sustainable employability, digital accessibility, tailor-made training courses, and workshops, increasing diversity in casework, and coordinating projects such as Actions Against Racism at Maastricht University.
Ophélie Hue works at the D&I Office as a Junior Policy Advisor and coordinates the D&I grant process. ‘I’m proud of what has been achieved by means of the grants. We see a large impact of our actions, not only nationally but also internationally. Maastricht also holds the management office for the YUFE Alliance, which is a collaboration of ten European universities. We are implementing a similar grant process at YUFE as we have in Maastricht, which will increase outreach and aims to allow groups from across the alliance to bring forward new initiatives. This way we are able to make an impact cross borders and pave an even broader path for equal rights and opportunities for all. ‘