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Interactive symposium OpenUp wins Van Bergen prize

Not one, but two initiatives won this year's Van Bergen prize. The prize was awarded during the university's Diversity symposium on 22 January. One of the winners is OpenUp, an interactive symposium on coping with stress and fear. Students are invited to tell their stories. The Hague Campus' study advisers came up with the idea and are organising the first OpenUp symposium on 27 February. The Van Bergen prize is a yearly award for initiatives that bring Dutch and international students together.


OpenUp! is an interactive symposium about stress and anxiety. How do you deal with it? ‘Life can be overwhelming for students. Stress has become part of students’ academic life, irrespective of country, nationality, or culture,’ says Ignacia Levy Barros, study adviser BSc Political Science. She and other study advisers and coordinators from Leiden University Campus The Hague have noticed an increase in students struggling with stress and anxiety.

With the OpenUP! symposium, they aim to not only break the silence, but to encourage students to support each other and empower them to take ownership of their feelings and mental state.  Vice rector magnificus Hester Bijl will open the symposium and philosophy professor Bas Haring will share his wisdom about the meaning of (student) life.

Stress to impress

The event will include the screening of Stress to impress, a short film that focuses on study-related stress, choice overload, dealing with disappointments, and the influence of social media. The film’s creator, Sanne Kooiman (24), will discuss these topics with the audience, and students will share their experiences during an ‘open mic session’. ‘We hope to break the taboo around mental health issues by discussing this in a safe setting,’ says Levy Barros.


The event will be held on 27 February at Leiden University Campus The Hague. More information and registration

Van Bergen prize

The Van Bergen Fund, which organises this competition, is named after Joris van Bergen, former member of the Executive Board of Leiden University. The prize is awarded annually to an individual or team at Leiden University with the best idea for bringing together Dutch and international students. The jury is made up of students and staff, and they assess the entries based on their innovative nature, their scope and their feasibility. More information on the Van Bergen Prize.

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