Although it might surprise, TINT is almost as old as the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e), with its roots in the nineteen-fifties.
TINT has Christian roots but developed over the years into an inclusive, international, and multi-religious organization. Students from different backgrounds find a safe place at TINT and inspiration to explore their personal development, life questions, and spirituality. This is how it all began.
In 1957, during the first years of TU/e - back then called the 'Technische Hogeschool' - a student chaplaincy where Christian students came together to meet and pray developed. The chaplaincy started providing church services in De Kapel (The Chapel), located in the Eindhoven city center. From here, a network of different Christian communities began to form, which later turned into ESK or Eindhoven StudentenKerk (Eindhoven Student Church). Did you know that SSRE had a prominent role at the start of ESK? Yes, SSRE already existed back then and was the association for reformed churchgoing students!
By the end of the seventies, international students became a part of ESK's scope. For years, students from Eindhoven participated in the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) conferences to share their experiences about religion, culture, traditions, and life as a whole.
Then, in 1980, ESK moved to the student center 'De Bunker'. Built to house all kinds of services for students in Eindhoven. The three student associations were housed there, and the cultural associations. Later on, ESK found new housing in the old 'Verrijzeniskapel' (Resurrection Chapel), now known as the Domus Dela church. Check out page 7 of this (Dutch) Cursor magazine from 1993 that names several of the activities that were organized back then.
Over the years, ESK became a space for religious students who did not feel at home at more traditional churches, slowly transforming ESK into a more open religious community. The central values became:
- viewing someone as a complete person (holistic view)
- acting and activating (or empowering) from passion
- having an open dialogue with people who think differently (active pluralism)
- reflecting on one's own identity
This growing openness and social involvement brought many non-students to join ESK and leave behind the ongoing divisions amidst churches in Eindhoven.
Within this increasingly heterogeneous group, two different needs became clear:
- Students needed support and a safe place to explore their life questions;
- Ecumenical (or all-inclusive) believers needed more unity and harmony between different Christian beliefs.
To attend to those needs, the ESK board decided to divide the efforts between De Kapel and the newly named TINT.
De Kapel focused on the general Eindhoven community linked to the Christian religion and the ecumenical view. TINT developed into an organization supporting religious and non-religious students with their life questions.
Because of that, TINT started providing a more modern style of pastoral care focused on emotional, social, and spiritual support. Through life coaching to students from over 90 nationalities and with various religious, cultural, and spiritual backgrounds. Despite the differences between individual students, most of the challenges, needs, and dreams are very similar. For that reason, the core goals of TINT developed around creating room for life questions and community building.
On December 15, 2016, TINT officially became an independent foundation while staying a close partner of De Kapel. Alongside the life coaching support, TINT started to organize more workshops, events, dinners, and other gatherings to support students in Eindhoven. Moreover, these events were opportunities to raise awareness and start conversations about student well-being, study-life balance, mindfulness, and personal identity. Life coaches are often still student chaplains and provide pastoral care. TINT is here to help Dutch and international students go through the most impactful stage of their personal development.
The expertise within TINT has increasingly been acknowledged by TU/e staff & students. TINT moved to the TU/e campus, and staff started to ask TINT to collaborate and provide advice on student well-being and integration. TINT also helped creating and guided the former religious and spiritual umbrella organization Credo, to bring all the religious associations together and create more space on the secular university that TU/e now is. Furthermore, TINT is active in the Student Wellbeing Network (SWeN) and the current umbrella organization FISO. Also, student associations' boards have been requesting group workshops on interpersonal relationships to empower them to help their peers. Slowly TINT is also starting to become more visible to students from Fontys.
Thanks to the separate developments of TINT and De Kapel, TINT was able to spread its wings. Margit van Tuijl (life coach/student chaplain) stated this very accurately.
"Due to those spread wings, we became more visible. We widened our reach; we became a bigger part of the network on the TU/e campus. For example, by guiding spiritual umbrella organization Credo and being part of the Student Wellbeing Network. And we want to continue to follow that course."
Our work to empower students seems to be effective. After Credo, students expressed that they found the need to run their own umbrella organization. Not only around religion and spirituality but diversity, internationality, and identity as a whole. This way, the students helped TINT grow its perspective and step more into its pastoral role again: supporting the umbrella organization and its members in finding their identities and prospected place in this world with confidence.
As we are ever-evolving, just like the Eindhoven students we guide, our aim is always to listen to the students' needs and provide support with personal development and life questions related to the philosophy of life, meaning, spirituality and identity. We look forward to discovering where this rich history and current developments in the (student) world may bring TINT for years to come.
Source: De Kapel 40 jaar oecumene 2021