The RUW Team

RUW has 3 coordinators, board members, and volunteers. The board consists of six persons: Chair, Treasurer, Commissary Internal Affairs, Commissary External Affairs and a Secretary. The board works on the vision and policy of RUW, supporting the coordinators, promotion, (financial) administration and networking.

Also, there are three coordinators employed. There is one senior coordinator and there are two junior coordinators. The coordinators organize the awesome events of RUW.

Furthermore, RUW has volunteers that like to facilitate a variety of activities. These activities include organization of single events, putting up posters, designing posters or flyers and assisting during events. Volunteers are also most welcome to help us host the yearly foreign excursion at the beginning of July (Dutch: ‘Buitex’

Mark van der Poel (Chair)

Hi there! I’m Mark, the chair of RUW Foundation. I am a polyglot who loves to unravel the many layers of the planet’s biosphere and explore the three pillars of sustainability: environment, economy, and society. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in International Land and Water Management and am currently doing a Master’s in Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University. I focus on water systems dynamics and global change issues that have widespread effects on the earth’s natural resources. Together with the team at RUW I aim to facilitate discussion and spark the minds of students, teachers and the broader interested public through organizing workshops, lectures, fascinating debates and other activities related to the themes of RUW Foundation. I hope to see you at our next event!  One love,  Mark

Maria-Franca Dekkers (Secretary)

Hi There! My name is Maria-Franca Dekkers and I am currently the secretary of the RUW Foundation. I am following the master of both Plant Science and International land and water management. I have always loved to do extra activities besides my study because it broadens personal development, my perspective on my own study area and on interesting political and sustainable debates. Luckily in Wageningen there are so many interesting opportunities for extra activities, almost too many 🙂 I believe that RUW is a great and critical addition to the network of green organizations in Wageningen, and I am happy to be able to assist the board and coordinators in organizing many more interesting and meaningful activities. I am looking forward to meeting you there!
Shakzoda Umarova (Treasurer)
Hi everyone! My name is Shakhzoda, a Master of Environmental Science student. I graduated the Tashkent Financial Institute as a bachelor and my specialization was Financial Management. Currently, I am working on Payments for Ecosystem Services. Together with being a student, I am doing volunteer work as a treasurer of RUW foundation. I found that this organization is pretty small but functions well for our surrounding community. The activities provided by the organization are interesting and worth to participate. Coordinators: Erik-Jan, David, Anna and others always are full of enthusiastic ideas in their mind. About board members, I found Maria-Franca and Mark as good friends of mine and think they can be seen as future leaders for our community. Many thanks for them welcoming me to the team and kindly assisting with my new job.
 Erik-Jan van Oosten (Senior coordinator)
EJfotoHi, I am Erik-Jan and RUW Foundation’s senior coordinator. As a recent-graduated MSc. Urban Environmental management at the Wageningen University I’ve learned that sustainability is, despite being a universally accepted and applauded goal, something we have surprisingly little consensus on. In my opinion, we do not discuss the bigger picture of sustainability enough with each other. This is where I’ve been working on at RUW foundation: widening and deepening the debate on this essential topic.
My ambition is to collaborate with other the green organizations, especially by strengthening the Green Active Network. There are just so many interesting aspects of sustainability that deserve an event (degrowth, resilience and ecological economics to name just a few) that I see many possibilities to keep the increasingly overhyped concept of sustainability interesting and fresh. Please contact me if you are interested in collaborating or follow me on twitter to join the debate!

David de Winter (Junior Coordinator)


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 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 sustainability). This ambition is central to both my thesis project, internship and work for RUW, and consequently, I hope to encourage anyone with transformative ideas or transformative ambitions to contact me. Another long-term ambition of mine is to host a series on the ‘state of science’ at the WUR by engaging with the intricate philosophy behind scientific practice, and delicate societal relations of scientific institutions.

Thais Varella (Junior Coordinator)

Hello! 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 lectures, debates, reports, and platforms, and this will be my biggest contribution are RUW! Hope to see you around!