Let's come together to support our residential community in difficult times!
Energy costs have increased tremendously, but students are not eligible for government support in the Netherlands. LUC students living in the Anna van Buerenplein residence (AvB) are facing a 80 Euro/month increase in costs in 2023. For many students this will lead to financial hardship; they have no financial buffers. Some will not be able to eat three meals per day anymore, or they will have to skip class in order to work.
At LUC we pride ourselves on being a community. So this is the time to come together, and make sure nobody is left out in the cold!
With the LUC Energy Solidarity crowdfunding, we aim to help as many students as we can with 40 Euro/month for the duration of 7 months initially.
What can you do?
Please consider a donation to the fund. Many people in our community (staff, parents, alumni) receive government support to offset their energy costs, but not our students. Help our community and show solidarity with our young and ambitious changemakers.
On this platform you can create your own crowdfunding page for the LUC Energy Solidarity Fund. Start your own action and collect donations for the fund. For example by organizing a bake sale, doing a sponsor run, a second hand market, etc. Anything is possible!
“I fully support this collective action. It is important that we stick together as a College so that no-one gets left behind. Our students are doing a tremendous job to cover these extra costs by themselves, but that is not enough on its own. Thank you for donating to this fund and for being a part of this community response.” Prof. Giles Scott-Smith, Dean of LUC
Energy costs are paid by students as an advance payment. Due to the steeply rising costs in 2022 and next year, the university had to raise the advance by 80 euros per month per 1 January 2023. This amount will be assessed again in the summer of 2023. If prices have decreased by then, the advance payment can also decrease. Also, in August the second year students will move off-campus. However, students have no financial buffer to wait for costs to decrease. This is why support is urgent now.
The AvB building is heated with an ATES using the heat from a groundwater source. There is no natural gas in the building, but the price of heating is tied to the price of natural gas. Therefore, prices at AvB are also rising. The AvB building is on a shared energy contract. The students are mostly under 21 years of age. Therefore, residents currently do not qualify for government support.
Residents are now doing what they can to keep energy costs low in the building by keeping their heating low and saving on electricity. Since rooms are not individually metered, this is a collective action, and the results are hard to predict. Especially for students who are struggling to finance their studies, this is a very hard situation.
LUC currently provides financial support in the form of partial tuition fee waivers to 29 students: 17 residents on campus and 12 third years living elsewhere in the city. Many of these students are already working hard to finance their studies at LUC. A lot of students are internationals, for whom it is not easy to find jobs. The LUC program is demanding and getting delayed in the program will also lead to more costs.
With each 280 Euro raised we can offset half of the extra energy costs for one student for 7 months. This will be paid to them as a gift. We will focus on the 29 recipients of LUC’s financial support program, since we already have assessed their financial needs. We will assess the energy cost situation of the students not living at AvB individually.
The minimum amount we want to raise for the Energy Solidarity Fund is 8000 Euro. LUC is able to contribute the first 4000 Euro from the LUC Fund. The LUC Fund is dedicated to the support of students who are not able to afford to study at LUC. From January-August, all donations to the LUC Fund via the normal donation page will also be channeled towards the Energy Solidarity crowdfunding page.
With the rising energy costs, all students face financial challenges. If we raise more than 8000 euros, we can help even more students!
'I have to work more and focus less on studying'
Some highlights of the LUC experience so far are having an interdisciplinary course that enables me to explore my multiple interests across many majors. I also like the opportunity to have the option of many extracurriculars, although I wish some more of the extracurriculars were more accessible (they’re expensive).
The rising cost will impact my studies as I will have less personal time to relax or focus on my studies. I will be working more. Since the heating prices have gone up, my parent has asked me to cover the difference between the old and new heating bills. So instead of resting this winter break, I decided to take a small job for a couple of weeks to get that money to help cover the bill increase over the next couple of months.
It is important for the LUC community to support students with rising energy costs because LUC cares about its community and has a duty to live up to its name. Leiden University’s slogan is Praesidium Libertatis – Bastion of Freedom. It is even stated on the website “Leiden University attaches great value to freedom of spirit, thought and speech.” However, no student can be free to achieve their own highest personal and academic abilities if bound by something as hindering as class struggles. If one student suffers in LUC due to something so basic and necessary as energy crisis issues, then we all suffer as a community.
Juna, Cuban-American, She/Her, World Politics major at LUC
'As a community we should support each other'
A highlight of my LUC experience so far is the tight-knit community we have. It allows me never to have to go through something alone because I know other people in the building experience it as well. LUC provides many opportunities, which I also immensely appreciate, such as the courses offered, the committees, etc.
The rising energy cost mostly affects my parents, because I’m immensely lucky to not have to pay for everything myself. In that sense, it does not impact my studies in a drastic way. I could stretch and say that since my parents are paying even more than they already are for my uni and housing, this may raise their expectations for my ‘success’ at uni.
To me, it’s important for the LUC community to support students with the rising energy costs because such action would reflect exactly what LUC stands for. Our community is composed of many different people, with many different financial landscapes, and we should everything possible to ensure that those who are less privileged financially can still enjoy studying at LUC, without needing to work more hours just to be able to pay rent and eat correctly.
Cécile, France, She/They, World Politics major at LUC
'The energy costs create anxiety and stress now and for years to come'
I am a Dutch student which means I have access to student loans. I use my loan to pay for my rent, living expenses, and most of my tuition (my parents contribute 1000€ per year out of 5000€). I also work and so far this together has gotten me through, although financial concerns and anxiety about paying next year's tuition have been a big part of this past one-and-a-half year. While I have access to the money I get as loans, I will have to pay it back with interest, in the future. This brings even more financial stress to me since I know that at some point I will have to pay back huge debt. The increase in energy prices is just added stress.
I am working full-time second half of the winter break and during the academic year, I work as much as I can without it affecting my academic performance too much. While all of this makes me believe support would bring me a lot of peace, I know the loans are an option as access to money that some other students might not have.
Anonymous, Dutch, She/Her
The Energy Solidarity Fund is a joint initiative of LUC students and staff. The student group includes the members of Money Matters, a student initiative working to increase awareness about socio-economic diversity in our college, and to find solutions for students who face financial hardship at LUC. Several residential assistants are contributing too; they work to create a welcoming and inclusive living environment in our residential building. Staff members include the members of the Steering Committee of the LUC Fund and staff with an interest in socio-economic diversity, inclusion, and social justice.
Leiden University College is a residential, interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Sciences bachelor program focused on Global Challenges. Our first and second year students live on campus at the Anna van Buerenplein in the center of The Hague. Third year students live elsewhere in the city.