Can you explain what the programme Water Management is about?
I believe Water Management is about sustainability. It is about resources and then especially about the most important resource; the base of life.
What is the most interesting part of this programme for you?
For me the most interesting about the programme is how to use recourses most efficiently and how to come up with creative solutions to uncomplicate the problem. Because we have many problems and some techniques do not work and I always like finding out new ways to try and connect different chains and systems and finding creative solutions to the problems we face.
You are now in your fourth year. What are your plans after finishing your Water Management studies?
I want to start my own sustainable fashion line. That is the plan.
Going into the fashion industry is quite a leap from studying Water Management, is it not?
You might think that, but I disagree. Because water management is a huge part of every production chain that we have, in anything. Especially in clothes. Your t-shirt or jeans take ten thousand liters of fresh water to manufacture. We cannot validate that anymore. Also, water management is not just about water. It is about sustainability, about the ecosystem and how the ecosystem functions. Fast fashion ruins that as well. It pollutes rivers worldwide, destroys fishes, local economies, the donation of clothes that we have, causes massive problems in third world countries and destroys the clothing industry there. There are just so many aspects that are integrated in this problem. So I do think it is part of water management.
Your project for the Honours Programme is also about sustainable fashion. Can you tell us more about it?
Something people just do not know or pretend to, is that the fast fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world after oil. For our project, we want to make people aware of this issue, because only with knowledge we can create change. A documentary is therefore the perfect medium to show people what is really going on and create a change in awareness. Also, I want to use the documentary for my own sustainable clothing company to create awareness and show transparency.
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In the documentary we not only show all the problems that the fast industry is creating, but also a solution. We have spoken to people who are already making a difference: pioneers, people who are on top in the sustainable fashion industry and even students. We realize that for some it is hard to stop buying new clothes altogether, but at least you can try to decrease at least something as impulse buys. That is why we finish off with a do-it-yourself in which we show how everybody can change their daily life in small steps to become more sustainable. Of course these steps are doable for everyone, so everybody can make a change.
You have a great interest in sustainability. Is that why you chose to study an environmental study?
I have always had an upbringing in which sustainability was part of the day-by-day conversation. My dad has been always pretty aware and involved with sustainable corporations, such as rechargeable batteries, the first solar lamps, etcetera. That is indeed why I chose for an environmental study. But my first choice herein was another study, namely geology. I always liked nature and found it interesting how the earth was formed.
Then why did you make the switch to Water Management?
Geology itself was interesting. However, the University does not give a lot of practical examples in how you can apply the theory to real life. Because of the lack of practical information, I felt like I would not be well prepared for the future. That is why I decided that I rather study Water Management, which is an applied science.
Why did you decide to study at HZ?
Since my English is better than Dutch, I wanted a study in English. HZ was one of the only universities of applied sciences that provided the programme Water Management in English. Still, I first had a look around Vlissingen before I applied. Just to see if I would like it here.
And what did you think of Vlissingen?
I thought it was really cute. I remember coming here that first time and I walking around the beach. Everyone was so friendly and approachable. It was then that I knew I would feel right at home here.
How do you like studying at HZ?
HZ is quite small compared to what I was used to. I first thought it was kind of like a high school. The upside is that the teachers are more approachable and the classes are smaller. I also like that you get to know your fellow students and even students from other studies. And what I like most of all is that you get a lot more practical application of all your knowledge to real life situations.
For your minor you went abroad. How was that experience?
During my minor I had a really good time and learned a lot. I went to Canada and studied at the University of Waterloo for five months. There I followed five courses from different years in the department of geology, arts and environmental sciences. During my time in Canada I lived with a host family. That was really nice and it helped to really integrated in the Canadian culture. I even went skiing. Oh, and I ate a lot of poutine, a typical Canadian dish. That was so good!
Why did you opt for the Honours Programme?
To be honest, the study programme did not give me enough challenge with the material itself. Plus, I am very ambitious and wanted something more. Since I want to start my one business, I really wanted to work on a project in which I was fully interested in.
What would you say to students who are considering applying for the Honours Programme?
Do not underestimate the Honours Programme. It is basically a whole other study next to your own. Personally I have spent more hours on my project for the Honours Programme then on my courses for Water Management. I can honestly say that it has been the hardest part of my study experience, so you must be driven and really motivated. Also, choose the right people to work with. Thankfully I had a great group and we complimented each other really well. That made the experience so much easier.