Giving something back to teaching and research
In the US, donating to your alma mater is the most usual thing in the world. But here, too, thousands of Leiden alumni donate funds to teaching and research at their University. Thanks to their support, scientists and academics are able to work on pioneering research in the areas of health, security, sustainability and other societal themes, and talented students and young researchers have the chance to achieve their ambitions.
Student member: a different way of giving something to yourself
Safiya van den Berg is a student of Political Sciences and Crisis & Security Management. 'Student membership of the LUF is actually another way of giving something to yourself. The five euros that you pay every year goes straight to the study programme or student association that you choose. What I particularly like is that you can also opt for the Mandela Scholarship fund, that gives students from South Africa the chance to study here. Not only that, the LUF can be a great help with grants, internships and different activities. A nice extra is that you also get a discount card to use in local shops. No, I didn't hesitate for a minute about beecoming a student member and giving something back to the University.'
Donating: the importance of science
Lizi Xia studied Biopharmaceutical Sciences in Leiden and obtained his PhD based on molecular pharmacology. He has been working for several years now at the Bio Science Park in Leiden. 'I had a phone call from by a student on behalf of the Leiden University Fund asking whether I would consider donating to the LUF. I knew straight away it was something I wanted to do. I know from experience, of course, how important science is and how science contributes to society. That's abundantly clear in the current corona crisis. I also think universities receive too little government funding. Having just become a father, I'm convinced of the importance of a good education. Those were my two main reasons for donating to the LUF. One thing I notice is how well LUF treats me as a donor. I donate to several charities, but none of them keeps me as informed as the LUF. They put a lot of time and effort into involving me in what they are doing.'
Keyholder: learn, earn & return
‘I've known about the LUF since I was studying Civil Law,' Oldrick Verloop explains. 'The Mara Foundation, which took medicines and medical equipment to Yugoslavia in the nineties, was located in the same building as the LUF. Just like Telders Book Support, in fact, that I was involved in and that took academic material to universities in the Baltic States. When I came back to the Netherlands three years ago, after spending twenty years in countries like Cameroon and Switzerland, I still felt a very strong connection with Leiden. It's the place where I did most of my personal development - academically too - and where I met most of my good friends. That's how I got involved in giving something back to the University. Learn, earn & return is something that's much more common in other countries. The LUF appeals to me because of its broad outlook on freedom and scientific thinking, and its positive approach and impact have so much of value to offer. As a keyholder, I want to make my own contribution to that.'
Named fund: a good pupose for your money
Prieneke van Hoeve set up a fund for astronomy research. 'I've always been fascinated by astronomy, even though I studied sociology myself. I always kept up to date with new developments; I took courses and became a member of the Astronomical Society of Harare, in Zimbabwe. So it's not that strange that I decided to use my money to start a fund for astronomy research.' I live with my English husband partly in the UK. He studied at the University of Cambridge, and it struck me how normal it is there to give something back to your alma mater. I really like that.' Discussions with the LUF and the Leiden Observatory gave me the idea of doing something to support PhD candidates with their research. 'The fund hasn't been going very long, but it gives me a lot of satisfaction. I appreciate how I'm involved in the activities of the fund: I even have a say in the selection of the PhD candidates who may benefit from the fund. My husband and I were given an extensive tour of the faculty, which really brought home to me just why I am doing this.'
Bequest: it gives you a feeling of satisfaction to make a contribution
Nora Stehouwer: ‘I was a student in Leiden from 1970 to 1975, and I had a really good time here: they were very formative years for me. Not only did I enjoy the freedom and new friendships, I also absorbed a wealth of knowledge (though there were times when it cost a lot of effort) and learned what it's like to take responsibility. I have very happy memories of that period, so I decided to do something in return for the University. Via a good friend, I got in touch with the LUF and became a keyholder. I've also included the LUF in my will. It's very satisfying to make a contribution to scientific developments and to give young people the opportunity to study. The LUF keeps us informed about things and often organises inspiring events where we meet with young researchers - at the moment online. This gives me a feeling of personal involvement that I think is important if you're a donor. I really want to call on everyone reading this article to make a contribution to the LUF: you'll get an awful lot back if you do.'