Published on: 27 November 2018
Written by: Ilse Akkermans


As you can tell from the CogBlog records, Sander has always been an active member of CognAC. Not that long ago he was interviewed as AI-star ( But now he is the Chair of our board, the CogBlog had the honour to interview him again!


So, Sander, how is board-life uptil now?


It’s a lot of fun, the first two months I still had to get used a bit, but that’s always the case. Now everything is going along and the weekly tasks go a lot quicker.


For the people that don’t know you yet, could you give a short introduction about yourself and your position within the board?


Sure, I am Sander, I am a second year AI-student here. I come from Bussum, which is between Amsterdam and Utrecht, that’s also why I immediately got a room here in Nijmegen. Well, immediately… after living in a caravan for 2 months. Finding a room took a while. For the rest, I do weekly yoga, I like racket sports, a bit of dancing in the club, going to the movies or hanging out with friends.


Do you still have time for that outside your board year?


I make time, I don’t have time haha, but that’s ok, you just need to take your rest every now and then. Because there’s always something to do, it is not as if you will have time at a certain point. For example, I thought I would have time this week, so I planned dinners with people and now I find out I don’t have any time left.


So what do you do within the board?


I am the Chair, so I guide and prepare the weekly board meetings and GMMs, I have a lot of meetings outside of CognAC with other associations, within Kompanio, Olympus, SOFv, and NSVKI (respectively umbrella association of Social Sciences, umbrella association of Science, umbrella association of all study associations in Nijmegen, and AI associations in the Netherlands). It’s quite vague actually, I do a lot of stuff that differs per week. I manage the board. I have the entire overview, stuff like yearplannings but also personal stuff like personal meetings to see how everyone is doing. And there are also a lot of new tasks to be done.


Why did you choose this function?


I didn’t actually, I got it assigned.


What were you going for in the first place?


Chief of Education, but I think this function fits me good. Being a Chair came up in the first interview and that’s when I noticed that there are quite some Chair tasks that I like. I like to manage everything and also to see the bigger picture via meeting up with other associations.


And that’s mostly Olympus and Kompanio?


Yes, that’s where Science and Social Sciences-associations belong to, which we are both part of, sometimes we meet up with the faculty board as well. And with the SOFv, that’s for all study associations in Nijmegen. Also, with the AI associations in the Netherlands we meet in the LOKI.


What do you like most about being the Chair?


I think all the contact you make with people, I have already met so many other boards and as a Chair you can go to all the other associations which enables you to see the bigger picture.


Is this Chair position also something you would like to do in your future career?


Maybe, I really do not know what I am going to do in the future. If it is going to be research or commercial, I don’t know. But it might be something I will do in the future. I notice I take organisational roles upon me more often.


Outside of your board year, do you do any committees?

Within CognAC am in the PC and still in the AlmanaC. The AlmanaC started halfway last year and it continues until the end of this year.  I am also in the Pink Week Committee of Dito! We organise the Pink Week (13-17 May 2019) at the campus with all kinds of activities for everyone and rainbow decorations throughout the campus, for representation of LGBTQ+ people. And I am also in the BetaBossesWeekendCommittee to organise a weekend for the Science boards.


Last year you did other committees as well right, like the Monopoly Committee?

Yes indeed, next to the AlmanaC, I did the Monopoly Committee, the SC, the DisCo and the 1C, which eventually turned into the 1MCA. With the 1MCA we had a valentine’s day auction, we raised a surprisingly big amount of money for charity. Last week I finally turned in my last auction buy: I went to the movies with Aline and Aron, it was fun. This year I wanted to leave room for the members to be in the committees so I just looked which committees still had room for members. Besides, there is already so much to do, it would be a shame if I could spend less time on the board because of committee work.


When I take a glance at all the pictures on the wall of the board room there is one specific picture that captures my attention.

Wait, is that a picture with a cow?


It is, that was at the board weekend, with the XXVII and XXVIII board we went away for a weekend to make the “board-transition” official, It was somewhere in Germany. At some barnyard which had a petting zoo. There’s a picture of me with rabbits, there were like 20 or 30 of them. And there was a friendly cow and I think there’s also a horse… there it is, with Pleun and Jorrit.

(If you want to see the pictures we were talking about, I advise you to peep through the boardroom window)


You made plenty of pictures I can tell


We’re heading in the right direction.


I guess it is a good way to get to know each other, weekends like that, did you already know the other board members well before becoming a board?


I only knew Jorrit well, The rest I knew but not like I do now, I got to know them a lot better during weekends like this …


Here, the recording died, sadly. Luckily, Sander was kind enough to redo the rest of the interview with me.


And we are back!


Yes! We were talking about the board and how you got to know them.


Yes, we do all kinds of nice bonding activities. Like Sinterklaas which we will celebrate together. And we are going to have dinner together before the CognAC evening later this week.


A lot of boards have slogans, but we do not have them at CognAC, right? If you were to make up a slogan for this board, what would it be?


Probably something that has to do with efficiency. Because we really aim to do things efficiently. Like not having board meetings of 4 hours with long discussions, but instead have a meeting in one block and then afterwards work on the points we discussed to get as much done in a short period of time.


And do you have any big changes in mind for CognAC or will you follow the path the last board paved?


By all means we will continue with all the great things last year’s boards did. But we also have our own new policy plan of course in which we write what changes within committees and CognAC in general and such. We wrap up the entire privacy thing that started last year, for example making sure everyone filled in their privacy form. Especially people that registered before this year.

So if you didn’t hand it in yet and registered before this academic year: DO SO!
For the people that didn’t hand it in yet: you got a mail about it, maybe it’s in your spam box.

For the rest, we will decide upon a corporate identity for CognAC and there will be some changes to the website. Because we want to digitize more. Also, we will streamline the amount of activities more this year as previous year was a lot, and we will organise a Career Week (12-14 February 2019). Not sure if I mentioned everything but I think I got the main points. Anyway, everything is on track which is nice.


You also told me that you’re working on something new outside of CognAC?


Indeed, I am working with the study associations of Olympus to set up a Student Of Support (SOS) network. A SOS is a student where you can go to for questions or to tell your story and perhaps that person can redirect you to the right instances. It should be low threshold so that if you don’t know who to go to or if you do not dare to go to a student advisor, then you can go to this person. In this manner we hope that people reach out for help more easily. It going great now, the recruitment of Students Of Support will be send out soon

(It is out now, check your email or the CognAC website)

So if you’re interested or if you have a question about it, feel free to ask me. The project will start somewhere around February/ March. If it turns out to work within the FNWI, we will see if it is also an option within the Faculty of Social Sciences.


That’s great! Another thing I was curious about: Will you be walking the Vierdaagse again this year?


Well… I have a strong sense I will do so. If I can find the time to train I will.


Yes, finding the time is the bottleneck I think?


Last year I didn’t walk it because I wanted to see the other side of the event but I was standing on the sideline with my sister and we both felt that we really wanted to walk it again.

So, if I find the time to train for the 50 kilometres I will, I walked it 6 times before but the training is necessary because I walked the 50 km 2 years ago and that wasn’t entirely painless, so I want to avoid the pain.


If you are going to walk it I (and I guess a lot of CognAC’ers) will be there to support you!

Nice, I really hope I manage it.


So, then we get to the famous last question, do you want to do a shoutout?


A shoutout to all the lovely members and the other board members, actually they’re also members, so shoutout to all the lovely members.