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Empowerment: the power to be who you are

This is a revised version of an article that has first appeared in Samen 09-2020

 

At the beginning of July 2020, the TINT team and TINT board were finally able to physically meet again after the lockdown, of course, with the necessary social distance. How nice it was to really see and speak to each other again in person, after all the online meetings in the previous months. For some team and board members, it was even the first time that they had actually met each other, due to the changing of the guard. Therefore, we started the evening with an introductory game: on the basis of a chosen image, stories were shared about what motivates you to work at TINT. A fun way to get to know each other better and inspire each other at the same time. I myself had chosen the image of a sunflower: it is a deep wish of mine to help students to bloom, to shine, to be themselves and to show their true colours, whatever flower they are. At the same time, I also long to show myself in the work and to use my qualities to the fullest. 

 

This desire to help students to discover their strengths and to develop as human beings ties well with the path that we want to continue at TINT in the coming years. TU/e has also asked us to contribute to the awareness of students with questions such as: How can TU/e form a hospitable community together, in which everyone - regardless of cultural origin, sexual orientation or religious beliefs - can be themselves? What does that mean for your own identity and how do you see your life? The word 'empowerment' has often been used in this context: it is about helping students to develop skills, so that they can grow in connection with themselves, others, life and (for the religious students) with God. TINT would like to (continue to) make a contribution to this awareness-raising process.

 

Working on awareness, connection, and sense of purpose among students is of course not something that only happens in Eindhoven. It is good to learn from our partner organisations in other student cities as well. Recently, a Dutch book has been published entitled 'Zinzoeken en zijn*' (loosely translated 'The search for meaning and being'), in which the stories from twelve student cities - including Eindhoven - are shared. It is a good way to show to all interested parties some insights into how the student ministry works on increasing awareness and ideological "empowerment" of students. If you want to know more about our partner organisations in the Netherlands, you can also visit this website.

  

 "Empowerment" is important for all people, no matter where they live or what their background is. This makes me think of the famous words that were written by Marianne Williamson and quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech as a president of South Africa:

 

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

 

It’s my wish for the campus that this can be a place where everyone feels welcome to be yourself and to shine as who you are. It’s by all our different colours that the TU/e community will find its richness and beauty.

 

 

Margit van Tuijl

Life coach at TINT

 

*Zinzoeken en Zijn: 12 interviews over het belang van de werksoort studentenpastoraat. Walther Burgering, Lianne van Dijk. Uitgeverij: Fortmedia Uitgeverij, 2020. ISBN 978-90-77219-82-9.