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'Introduction'

This year's UIT (Utrechtse Introductie Tijd: UIT '99) theme was'The Challenge', but it might as well have been 'The Record'. Atthe Neude, on 12 August, nearly 1100 UIT '99 participants succeededin breaking the Guiness Book 'Life Mosaic' Record: they formed ahuge paper UIT'99 logo. The number of first year students waslarger than it had been for a number of years: 2100 new studentswere introduced to student life in Utrecht.

Rooms

Students are willing to pay considerably more for a room nowthan they were five years ago. A poll conducted to find out thepreferences of future lodgers shows that fifty per cent of thosepolled could afford rents between 400 and 520 guilders, at least100 guilders more than five years ago. Another striking differenceis the more pronounced preference for private facilities. Thenumber of students prefering their own kitchen or living room hasdoubled since 1994. Three times as many students would like aprivate shower. Most students still prefer living in the citycentre, in a room of at least somewhere between 10 and 16 m2. Onlythe lucky few manage to find the perfect room at once and thedemand for rooms is as high as ever; there is a permanent shortageof about 1500 rooms in Utrecht.

Bèta studies

Reduce the educational capacity of Mathematics, Physics andChemistry. Such was the advice given to Education-Minister Hermans.These disciplines are too small to be independent: one professorfor every three students is a waste of money. As the number ofbèta students is not likely to increase in the near future,the educational capacity should be reduced, especially as thesesmall disciplines have insufficient manpower to keep up with newscientific developments, it was alleged. Hermans, however, opposedthis view and has suggested the universities should come up with aplan of their own first. The six universities concerned agree withHermans and fear an even larger decrease in the number of studentsif the advice is followed through.

Health advertisements

In order to increase the effect of their messages, publicrelations officers in the health care system should more often turnto product aimed television commercials. In his PhD thesis 'Healthon Television' Bob Fennis argues that well-meant generaleducational campaigns are less effective than specific jointventures with businesscompanies. He gives the example of asuccessful campaign by the American Cancer research centre NCI morethan a decade ago. In cooperation with cornflakes producerKelloggs, the NCI succeeded in convincing large numbers ofAmericans of the benefits of a breakfast with a high fibre content.This strategy would work in the Netherlands as well, Fennisthinks.