Optimism plays a key role in 100 years WUR

Published on
September 7, 2017

The grand opening of the academic year was devoted to the role of optimism in science and the celebration of WUR’s 100th anniversary.

Is optimism in these times still warranted? This is the question Louise Fresco, Chair of the Executive Board, posed on Monday 4 September during the opening of Wageningen University & Research’s academic year.

At a time when dark clouds seem to be gathering, science continues to offer hope of a brighter tomorrow. Nevertheless, ever more people seem to be putting their faith in fact-free politics and their own experiences rather than in cold, hard figures. If science wishes to continue serving as a foundation for optimism, new avenues must to explored to reach people.

This exploration process was the theme of the opening ceremony. Matt Ridley presented his vision for optimism and science. Then, using a very relatable story, three young WUR scientists showed what science can offer society.

With the celebration of WUR’s 100th anniversary, a crucial bridge to society was spanned and the positive contribution science is making was highlighted. In the final portion of the opening ceremony, Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol highlighted the celebration of WUR’s 100-year existence.

“We are not celebrating this achievement for just one day (and in this sense, we are not modest), but rather over eight months.” He briefly explained the programme that will include symposia, art exhibitions and activities around the world for staff, students, alumni and their relations. Mol also spoke about the chance to donate money to the campaign Share your story, support a project.

“This will be a special year, which we will remember for a long time.”

Over drinks afterwards, everyone had the option of sharing a wish or memory on a wish tree in The Spot in Orion. “That WUR can continue communicating its ideals and creative solutions for a sustainable food chain now and in the future. In the Netherlands and far beyond”, someone wrote. A beautiful and optimistic goal for the coming jubilee year.