Amsterdam saw the festive launch of the new Mechanical Engineering Bachelor course. A unique collaboration between VU University Amsterdam and the University of Twente. The nearly 60 students who joined the course last September are now all on the brink of completing their first semester. The conclusion was in true ‘mechanical engineering style’: the students attempted to cut a thick PVC pipe with a homemade construction; symbolic for cutting a ‘ribbon’.
Professor Mirjam van Praag, chair of the VU Executive Board, opened the gathering with an inspiring speech in which she referred to the collaboration between the UT and the VU as ‘the best of both worlds’.
Pieter Roos (location director of this new programme) then addressed the audience: “First of all, many thanks to the students. It takes courage to enrol in this new and pioneering programme. “Not making friends here is difficult”, we heard you say in September. We value your positive attitude and constructive feedback during our interim evaluations, especially as you also have to deal with study and exam pressures.”
“The second thank you goes to the lecturers, both from the UT and the VU. You are the experts in the various courses and disciplines, you are the role models for our students. You were tasked with pioneering, getting used to teaching in a new environment, overcoming practical issues, travelling through the country. This is true for the lecturers of the first semester and for the lecturers of semesters to come.”
“And my third thank you goes out to all other staff members involved in this programme, from both the VU and the UT, who have all gone above and beyond to make all this possible. Here we go, in no particular order: education offices, planning teams, accommodation, enrolment and internationalisation, marketing & communication, finance department, coordination team, all secretarial support, curriculum design, examination board, programme committee and - last but not least - the people from the workshop.
Mechanical engineering in Amsterdam is not just any BSc programme. It involves people from different backgrounds, who study and work together in various roles to learn from each other while they progress.
The following semesters include topics that are significant to both the VU and the UT: manufacturing, sustainable energy technology, maintenance and technology for healthcare. As far as research goes, there is a future for the collaboration between the UT and the VU. There are plenty of opportunities to align with the world of engineering, both in Twente and in the Amsterdam area.”
As part of the final presentation of the first project, a competition was devised where eight student teams presented their own steel constructions. The project objective: use a construction to dismantle the old pipeline network in the North Sea. The competition involved cutting a PVC pipe with a diameter of 5 cm, which turned out to be no easy feat. Just one team succeeded in cutting the pipe immediately, using a steel construction resembling a pair of pliers. Great work, but the main aim was the learning effect of applying theoretical knowledge in practical situations, and of course: working together in a project group. The jury finally selected the object that had a great design principle and above all, an ergonomic look. As well as a prize for the best realisation of the equipment, there was an audience award and a prize for the most complex design, awarded by the Newton study association (see images for more details).