The RUW Team

RUW has 3 coordinators and 2 board members. The coordinators organize the awesome events of RUW with the senior coordinator end responsible. While the board consists of a chair and a treasurer, working on the vision and policy of RUW to support the coordinators, promotion, (financial) administration and networking.

Iris van Hal (Chair)

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Hi, everyone! My name is Iris and I will be taking over Mark’s position here at RUW. I just finished my bachelor’s in Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University and with the start of this academic year, I decided to dive even deeper into science by starting a double masters degree in Rural Development & Innovation and Forest & Nature Conservation. Recently, I started noticing a shift in my way of thinking. I always have been a critical student, but now it becomes clear to me that there are many possibilities to expand this to a broader environment. I decided that RUW would be an amazing opportunity for me to explore my own potential while simultaneously trying to improve the quality of science and education here in Wageningen and beyond! To achieve this, I will focus on the rebranding of RUW, our presentation and wider notoriety in society. Next to that, I will keep track of our progress and keep RUW going, as steady as we go now. I am very much looking forward to getting started and work together with the rest of the team. Hopefully, I get the pleasure to meet you at one of our next events, or just come by at our office!

Kevin van Diepen (Treasurer)

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Hello, my name is Kevin, I’m RUW’s treasurer. Currently, I am enjoying a lot being a student at the Wageningen UR. In September, this year, I started the third year of Climate Studies, in which I focus a bit on meteorology, and other courses I value. My ambition within RUW consists of two components. The first is to develop practical skills in terms of finance and administration. I am motivated to get myself involved with this and really get the engine going (again) of this foundation. Questions related to this are; “how to handle money?” and “what comes with it?”. In this, I hope to support the overall team, by working on some structure behind the scenes. Second, for me, is also just the pleasure of working in a team, and I relish the idea of working as a group on this foundation. I am taking things easy with my study, making it possible to really have the time and attention for the things I ám doing at school, and the things in my free time. I plan to continue with this nice balance for some more time here in Wageningen :p  Being active with RUW is one of the nice things I can do now in my free time, along with having a side-job in a hotel, some sports and whatever ideas I have.

David de Winter (Senior Coordinator)

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Hello People. Meet me: David. And realize that you have just found your hermano for exciting and engaging educational activities.  Since my start at RUW as a junior coordinator I’ve helped host multiple events on multiple themes; tiny houses, presentation and storytelling skills, alternative education, sustainability, climate change, science, etc. This has helped me grow a lot as a facilitator of educational activities; an area in which I want to grow in even more, but I’m also starting to get a little too comfortable in. Therefore, I’m actively looking to expand my comfort zone by exploring the possibility of transformative education (and how it relates to science). This ambition is central to both my thesis project, internship(s) and work for RUW, and consequently, I hope to encourage anyone with transformative ideas or transformative ambitions to contact me (

Lisa Freitag (Junior Coordinator)

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Hey, I am Lisa, junior coordinator at RUW since last summer.  I am currently finalizing my master in Forest & Nature Conservation. During my study and while wondering around other places, I became fascinated by the human-nature interaction. How and why do we treat nature the way we do, does that make any sense and how could we do this differently? The past year I was coordinator of the Green Active Network in Wageningen, where I enjoyed a lot thinking about ways to connect people to strengthen the ‘green movement’. I would like to continue with this mindset within RUW, and am looking forward to organizing events where people can meet and have meaningful and inspiring discussions.

Therefore, my first activity (together with David) of the new academic year will be a World Café aimed at exchanging personal experiences and thoughts about working in science. With ideas that come up during this evening, we would like to organize some follow-up evenings, more focused on one theme. Besides reflecting on science in the broad sense, I also want to use my experience in nature conservation and in sustainability, preferably while bringing different groups of people together. The concept plan of designing an alternative destination plan for Ppauw, together with students and neighbours would be a perfect fit.

Personal goals for the coming year at RUW are to get more experience in organizing events and working in a structured organization (how to efficiently work together basically). I would like to see more of how to structure and steer an organization from a management point of view; so that everybody involved can develop themselves and deliver good work. I would also like to become more confident in talking in public to ‘important people’. Lastly, I am very much looking forward to working together with a team of enthusiastic and inspiring people and I would love to learn from their expertise good idea.

Thais Varella (Junior Coordinator)

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 13.08.00Hello! I’m Thais, a junior coordinator of RUW. In the past 7 years, my life changed quite a lot! I worked from consultancy projects in Amazon to working with the Dutch embassy and consulates in Brazil, to even having my own company, Biofilia, working with circular economy and energy transition. I have degrees in Environmental Engineering and Business Administration, and now I am currently studying a master’s degree in Urban Environmental Management in Wageningen. In my spare time, I enjoy running, traveling (a lot!) and being around nature and sun as much as I can. I love to work on projects where results can be shared through social learning, media, reports, and platforms, and this will be my biggest contribution at RUW! Hope to see you around!