VUB students roll up their sleeves at UZ Brussel during second lockdown

VUB students roll up their sleeves at UZ Brussel during second lockdown

To reduce the pressure on hospital staff during this second corona wave, the UZ Brussel and VUB launched a large-scale appeal to their students to volunteer temporarily in the hospital. In record time, more than 430 VUB students applied. In addition, the internship of the first-year rehabilitation sciences and physiotherapy students was transformed into voluntary work at the UZ Brussel and elsewhere.

Most of the 437 students who have applied so far are studying medicine, pharmacy, nursing, biomedical sciences, psychology and physical therapy. However, a quarter of the students are not taking any medically related training. In the meantime, 150 students have been hired to transport patients, distribute meals, deliver orders or help patients stay in touch with their families.

VUB medical student Pieter De Rop has already worked some shifts. “When the appeal was launched, I did not hesitate for long to apply,” he says. “With a few fellow students, I was responsible for the contact between the patients and their family members. We updated the patients’ families about their condition every day and tried to set up as many video calls as possible so that there was some social contact between the patients and their families. This corona wave is of course far from over, so I would like to call on everyone to continue to look for ways to do their bit and get involved.”

Internship gives way to social engagement 

As a result of the strict corona measures, many planned internships were unable to take place, such as those of students in the first bachelor year in physical therapy who were due to work at a disability sports club. They were instead able to do voluntary work at the UZ Brussel or another care institution in their neighbourhood. The students also had the chance to take part in healthcare-related initiatives within the Warmest Week fundraising drive.

“It is absolutely heart-warming to see that our lecturers and students are committed to all those affected by the coronavirus by coming up with creative solutions in this difficult period. The theme of our Academic Opening was ‘The World Needs You’, with the aim of becoming a university that assumes our social responsibility more strongly than ever. Our teachers and students have clearly understood this!” says VUB rector Caroline Pauwels.

Click here to learn more about volunteering at the UZ Brussel or hear Pieter’s full testimony.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas and actions based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.

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Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society. 

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