#2 / Thuis Wageningen

Our current society faces complex challenges in which technical innovations can no longer offer the solution alone. Social innovation is an answer to this, as a new way of working, thinking and problem-solving, whereby the innovation is often more bottom-up or organized and the dilemmas are looked at more with a social outlook. After all: people influence each other.
In our learning community for these students, in which both alumni and the professional field are actively involved, we learn and work with these complex issues of the new economy, where win-win for all parties, the quality of life, the social contribution is just as important as financial profit. Below you read one of the initiatives of our young social innovators. Why do they contribute to the quality of life? #WHYNOT

THUIS is popularly referred to as the living room of Wageningen. After graduating in 2015, Elsje van de Weg started this initiative together with Tutku Yuksel. In the meantime, they have grown into a platform, workplace and meeting space where they share materials, knowledge and talents. Elsje:

“The Thuis community is a collection of different people who have one thing in common: they, and/or their organization, can make a difference for a sustainable and connected city.”

Together with the municipality, politics and the residents, they discover and give their hands and feet to the ideas of the participation society. In the activity agenda, you can find things like meals with saved food, a 50+ study circle and brainstorming about local issues. A good example of the latter: due to government cutbacks, more ‘confused’ people are staying in the public space. They get more freedom and less care. This also causes a nuisance in public space more often. They also experienced this at THUIS. And instead of calling the police, they now call the specific local party for it. During such a brainstorming session with all the local parties involved and the municipality, it was decided to develop new policies and it made all connections between the necessary parties stronger.

As a graduate student of the Social Innovation track, Elsje sees that there are many creative initiatives taking off today that are trying to change current systems by looking at the world of tomorrow. Elsje:

“With the founding of THUIS, I would like to take my own role in this transition.”

She enjoys working on topics such as community building, new economy, co-creation and citizen participation.

Curious? This is the site (also in English): https://thuiswageningen.nl