Bo Croonen

Local Goal Getter Bo Croonen - in harmony with the neighbourhood

Anyone who links the term “society” with the promotion of socializing will be pleasantly surprised when reading this article. This week we spoke with the Local Goal Getter Bo Croonen. She is the president of the student association Amphitryon of the Hotel Management School Maastricht. Together with the board and the members, she has raised the concept of society to a higher level. In her position, Bo seamlessly translates academic knowledge on hospitality into practice, thereby realizing many SDGs with the entire team.

An association for everyone

Bo tells that from the start Amphitryon prides itself for being a mixed association, for both men and women, unlike many other student associations. Everyone from the Hotel School is welcome in this society, without distinction. For example, they are currently working on the first LGBTQ+ event to confirm their commitment to gender equality (SDG#5). This event revolves around gender neutrality and they strive for a major impact on this much-discussed but still fragile matter.

Striving for sustainability

The association has a “sustainable committee” that strives to make the operational side of the association as sustainable as possible. For example, they have replaced the use of disposable cups with reusable cups. In addition, they’ve made a plan for creating a vegetable garden as a local source of ingredients for cooking. Another initiative called upon all students to reduce the central heating boiler from 80 to 60 degrees. In addition to the cost savings that it entails, this action has a beneficial effect on the environment as well. With a waste disposal campaign, they also help ensure a clean and pleasant neighbourhood. On top of that, they have scheduled a clothing swap action as soon as the circumstances allow this again. Based on a webinar, the participants will be introduced to many aspects that go wrong in the field of sustainability in the sector of the clothing industry. Participants will also have the opportunity to exchange their own items of clothing or donate them to charity. All these actions are clearly part of the strive for sustainable communities (SDG#11) and sustainable consumption and production (SDG#12). And the donation of clothing meets the target of reducing poverty (SDG#1).

In addition to this operational side of sustainability, Bo and her team, in collaboration with an architect, are elaborating plans for the construction of a new energy-neutral building in which the club will be housed in the foreseeable future. This initiative will be a major step towards affordable and sustainable energy (SDG#7).

Bo Croonen

Completion to quality education Hotelschool

The student association also has an education committee. If a student needs tutoring, this can be arranged through this department. Likewise, the help of this group can be invoked when looking for an internship or a workplace. In addition, master classes are given wherein former members share their know-how about the application process or drafting a curriculum vitae. Based on these initiatives, the high-quality education of the Hotelschool is further strengthened by the collaboration between first-year students, older students and the alumni (SDG#4).

The international committee stands up for the integration of international students. A Dutch student is linked to an international student via the ‘buddy system’. For example, thanks to the efforts of the Dutch students these foreign students can be introduced to fellow students or fun and useful spots in order to feel at home more easily and quickly. The aim is clearly to reduce inequality (SDG#10).

Commitment to charities

Amphitryon’s PR committee is mainly concerned with organizing events for charities. For example, they have organized a sponsor run to raise money for combatting and treating Lyme disease. In addition, a walk was organized for a weekend school in which more than 500 euros were collected. The cancer fund has also benefited from donations from the association. Amphitryon will soon organize another funding for the cancer fund through the 555 challenge: run 5 kilometres, donate 5 euros and nominate 5 people to do the same. The burnt down fisherman’s house in the neighbourhood received a nice contribution tool after a collection campaign. Furthermore, Amphitryon recently contributed to the Voedselbank. The students took roots in front of the Jumbo supermarkets in Maastricht and collected 75 crates of food and bread to donate to this charity. Through this initiative, Amphitryon has actively contributed to poverty alleviation (SDG#1). Every year they organize a day for the activity centre “de Kanjel” where they take in tow the disabled people of this organization. That way they can relieve the health care providers.

Bo Croonen

Through strict sanction regulations, Amphitryon strives to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible, in and around the society. Bo recognizes the need to ensure that everything proceeds as harmoniously as possible with the neighbourhood, whereby respect for the needs of each party are central. At the end of a party, for example, she ensures that students take up posts at various places in the residential area to give the partygoers a rest if necessary. She also regularly engages into direct talks with the neighbourhood to inquire about the experiences and concerns of the local residents. Based on an open dialogue, there is an active strive for a peaceful community (SDG#16)

Partnerships

As a student association, Bo also stresses the importance of building partnerships to achieve goals (SDG#17). In addition to the partnership with the neighbours and sponsors, the collaboration with the Hotelschool and the campus is vital too. She states that since the school, campus and Amphitryon are all located together, it feels a bit like living on an island, apart from the city. This makes it very important to tackle every issue inside and outside as fast as possible, to promote harmony. For example, the sports committee has forged many partnerships with all kinds of Maastricht sports organizations, such as the football and hockey club, the tennis club and the golf course. The chairman thus emphasizes the importance of the physical and social well-being of the students, which has become even more acute in these times of corona (SDG#3). The partnership with the neighbourhood is, for example, shown by their annually recurring contribution to the organization of the Christmas market.

Bo Croonen SDGs

Bigger picture

Based on the above, Bo proves how her generation is ready to make the world a better place through numerous initiatives that go far beyond the original field of action of student associations. Through her commitment, she tries to convince her environment and the wider world to always keep the ‘bigger picture’ in mind. In doing so, she wants to make everyone more aware of looking beyond their own personal interests. She emphasizes that serving the interests of your fellow human beings ultimately makes you a happier person.

Iact4Maastricht Bo Croonen

Text: Jennifer Timmermans & Anna Hermans

Photos: Séverine Louf

Editing and Design: Linda Vecvagare & Lars Wingerath