Jasmijn Westerhof – HoA

Jasmijn Westerhof, chairwoman of S.D.V. Chassé

My name is Jasmijn and I study Applied Physics at Saxion. I have been a member of S.D.V. Chassé for two years now, and have been the Chairwoman of the association for almost a year. I have also been very active at study association Arago, where I still visit activities regularly. Next to this, I have done a board year at Green Team Twente, where I was a full-time member of the electronics team.

What can you tell about your activism of the cultural associations and other associations?
In my first year at Chassé, I wasn’t active at all. I really loved the atmosphere in the association, but didn’t know a lot of people there. And then of course Corona hit, and I was too shy to join any of the online lessons or activities. When I was asked if I wanted to do a board year, I was hesitant at first, but later I was like “why not?”. I already loved the vibe in the association, and it would be a great way to get to know more people and have something to hold on to during this pandemic.

I have been quite active at study association Arago. In my first year, I joined a committee that organises a dinner for about a hundred people. This was so fun to do, that I joined many more committees after that. One of those committees was the Kick-In committee of Applied Physics (the KITN). I wasn’t a student at the university anymore by then, but the association and the staff always welcomed me with open arms. It was really great to be able to welcome those first-year students and be able to show them how fun life as a student in Enschede can be.

While I was in the KITN, I realised I really wanted to do something bigger than just a regular committee, so in my third year I joined Green Team Twente. There I worked on building the electrical system of our hydrogen car for a year. This was really fun to do, and I made some great friends and learned a ton about not only electronics, but also how it is to work together in such a big team for a full year. In the end, all of our hard work really paid off, because we not only became European Champion, but also World Champion, something no team before us had been able to achieve!

What can you tell me about your cultural background?
When I was in primary school, there was a very small theatre group which I joined for two years. I really liked pretending to be someone else, but it was mostly just about having fun with a few of my friends. When I went to high school, I couldn’t join the group anymore unfortunately.

Luckily, my high school had an arts programme. In the first three years of high school, I had an extra arts course for two hours a week, in which we did a lot of various things. In my first year of high school, I wrote a play together with a friend of mine. It was a modern day version of Romeo and Juliet, in which Romeo’s parents owned a snackbar and Juliet’s parents were some kind of health freaks. I really loved being able to put my creativity into such a project, and see the things that were in my mind come to life.

Why did you join a cultural association?
I didn’t necessarily join a cultural association because of the culture part. I had tried out a few sports before, but never really felt like they were something for me. I had seen the Chassé girls dancing in their pretty outfits during my Kick-In already, and I always really loved dancing in my room to my favourite music. A friend of mine actually tried to convince me to join the ballet association, but I didn’t like that very much, but it did give me the final push to try out Chassé. It took me a few years, but that’s when I finally found out what I love doing!

What moment would you never forget about a cultural event?
I think that moment is still to come, hahaha. The past year has not really been an event-filled period, but with our board we always worked very hard to try to arrange as many dance lessons as possible. I am also part of the Show Committee of Chassé, and this year we organised a corona-proof alternative to our show. We have made a movie, which will be premiered this Friday! I haven’t been able to perform in a dance show before, but I think it will be so great to finally see the end result of something that I’ve worked so hard on for a year already, and to be able to share it with all my friends and family.

What do you think of the culture at the University of Twente?
I think the cultural community has a great atmosphere. Everyone is welcome and so nice to each other. It’s great that we have a cultural umbrella, Apollo, to represent our needs just like the sports association have. The university has something to offer for every student, even if they don’t know it yet.

Do you still dream of something to achieve with culture?
I always felt like culture was something for very artsy people, and not just your average Joe. At the beginning of my board year, when introducing myself to people, I also told them that I’m not really a cultural person. When I got asked to do this interview, I was also afraid I wouldn’t be able to tell much of an interesting story, but when looking back at my life, I realise that culture has always been very present in my life, I just didn’t realise it.

I would love for more people to view culture as something more ‘normal’ and not something for weird hippies or very rich people. If you look at sports for example, that gets heavily promoted and subsidised by the government, while I believe that culture is also a great way for people to express themselves and improve their (mental) health.