'Tis the season for heart-warming stories. Earlier this month, the TU Delft alumni office put together packages of Sinterklaas candy, or snoepjes as they are called, and shipped them off to former students around the world.
The packages will be opened by former university students at Sinterklaas-borrels being held internationally, all through December.
Events kicked off on December 2, 2016 at bars in Beijing, Copenhagen and Shanghai, with Shanghai hosting the largest gathering of 36 attendees.
Not only were these events a chance for alumni to get together and reminisce about their time at TU Delft, they were also a networking opportunity, open to people interested in studying or collaborating with the university. Some events are also hosted in collaboration with the three other universities of technology and bring together members of the Dutch Engineers Alumni. The party now continues in Boston, Goteborg and Istanbul with events lined up in the coming weeks.
"We have a lot of international alumni chapters and have heard that they are always enthusiastic about getting together. We were brainstorming about the kind of events we can host, it was around October or November last year, and someone mentioned Sinterklaas. It just clicked," said Renske Vugts, Marketing Manager Alumni, TU Delft.
The boxes sent include pepernoten and other typical festive candy. As a pre-holiday get together with a slice of nostalgia for the Netherlands, these borrels might just mark the start of an annual tradition.
With a strong alumni community, the university also hopes to create an international network that it can tap into. "Alumni are the ambassadors of our university and it is important to us that they have a positive feeling about the university. Of course, we hope to foster multiple equations with them. Maybe they can arrange student visits to their companies, or return as mentors or guest speakers. They are also important to us to help with recruitment in their home countries," said Vugts.