VUB and ULB students join forces with Brussels organisations for virtual weKONEKT.week

On the programme: Masterclass with Waad Al-Kateab - martial arts evening - digital dance party @AB - pop-up workshops - virtual dinner with home delivery - and more

During the weKONEKT.week from 29 March to 2 April, students from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) will be joining forces with organisations in Brussels. Together they want to make a difference for Brussels and its inhabitants. Along with partner organisations, the students will develop projects and organise activities for the general public. There is also a series of guest lectures on the programme related to various course subjects. It’s Brussels as a living lab, in corona mode. Because of Covid-19, all the activities will take place online. Students’ commitment and wellbeing are the connecting threads throughout the weKONEKT.week.

Committed and connected

The student entrepreneurs of The City is our Playground and the Green Team will roll up their sleeves for mind-blowing virtual and pop-up slam poetry workshops on the theme of water, digital arts and digital drawing lessons in architecture and nature. It’s all by and for students.

In a unique masterclass with Syrian filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab and journalist Rudi Vranckx, students of communication sciences will discuss the role of war journalism and Al-Kateab’s documentary For Sama.

Our academics show how engaged science can be. With the KVS and the Risicovechtplatform Vlaanderen, VUB experts explore the potential of martial arts, the Artificial Intelligence for the Common Good Institute dives into AI and all its complexity, and in collaboration with Bruzz we launch the podcast Antipode with a series of fascinating conversations.

Wellbeing in corona times

Thanks to the enthusiasm and support of Resto Henri in Brussels, among others, some 100 students will be seated at weKONEKT tables. In small groups at the virtual VUB campus in, they look back on the past months and look ahead to a shared future. What lessons can we as a university and society learn from this pandemic? By doing so, the students immediately make their mark on VUB’s student policy.

There are walks, bike rides and kayak expeditions too. Because sport and exercise are more important than ever, students get the chance to stretch their legs. Through the various sports activities, they will discover the rich history and architecture of Brussels.

Then, a ray of hope for student life at the university. As is customary, the Thursday before the spring break is a big party. Because of Covid-19, it can’t take place on campus this year, so student associations Limburgia and Campina looked for an alternative. The result was an online dance party with the Ancienne Belgique. Here, too, the students’ social commitment comes into play, because the theme of the party is hip-hop from the 70s, 80s and 90s and the underrepresentation of female artists. Jorn Jens Denayer of Campina: “With weKONEKT, I hope to help students find each other again. Many students have little social contact and we want to give them back a sense of belonging and a form of social contact.’

Thanks to a cooperation with five other urban engaged universities from the EUTOPIA European universities network, the weKONEKT.week also has a European dimension.

“In co-creation with our partners in Brussels, and with VUB and ULB students, we ensure that even in these extraordinary times, as many interactions and initiatives as possible can take place. During this virtual edition of the weKONEKT.week, our students have planned exciting activities for their fellow students and the general public. The programme also includes local and international guest lectures within the framework of various programmes. Meetings between students and with their lecturers is and remains very important.’ - VUB rector Caroline Pauwels

As an urban engaged university, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel strongly focuses on partnerships with other Brussels, Flemish, European and international organisations and universities to create a socially engaged educational offering. VUB thanks its more than 150 partners who make possible. Special thanks go to the Flemish Community Commission, Innoviris and the Humanist Association for their support.