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The grand TOPOS yearbook launch event

Article by Ian Witte

On Wednesday the 29th of May, the long-anticipated TOPOS yearbook took place in Onder de Linden. We would like to thank all who visited, and hope everyone can indulge themselves in the 120 pages of knowledge and inspiration this yearbook offers. Have you missed the event, and would you still like to receive a free copy, don’t be afraid! You can either pick one up in the Hok of our study association Genius Loci in Wageningen, or contact us through to request a copy be delivered to your address.

The TOPOS 2023 yearbook. I can’t even describe the joy I shared with the rest of the committee to finally reveal the collection of what has been well over two years of hard and dedicated work. It hasn’t been a particularly easy feat to get TOPOS off the ground again. As many of you may recall, TOPOS has been a long-running committee within Genius Loci, which slowly died out over the previous decade. Although some attempts at revival were made, none got the committee off the ground, until the general member’s meeting of Genius Loci (ALV) in February 2022. However, this catalyst finds its roots in a small personal story that dates back to a few years earlier.

Team TOPOS guarding the entrance to the launch event

It was September 2019. I was still a ‘sjaars’ at the time, as I had just gotten out of high school and was immediately shoved behind the college desks. Because I had missed the AID that summer, I had also missed the introduction to Genius Loci. The whole world of the study association was a complete new mystery to me, but that did not hold me back from diving right into it. With full enthusiasm, I attended my first ALV, only to be drowned in the most puzzling names I had ever heard. Acquisitie, Buitelhucht, Kasco, NGPS, W.C.-B.R.I.L. – I had no clue what everyone was talking about all the time. So, I raised my hand, and asked if the board could explain what each of them meant.

Our treasurer, Erik, indulging himself in a delicate glass of prosecco

Disappointment could be heard across the entire room. Months later I still heard people complain about that stupid sjaars who stalled the whole ALV because the board had to take the time explaining every single committee that was brought up during the meeting. In the end, the ALV had overrun for so long that Forum management came to tell us that the building was closing.

Our chairwoman, Shanna, gives her speech in the great hall of café Onder de Linden

When we reached the WVTTKs at the end of the meeting, one of the older Genius members among the audience thought it would be fitting to test my newly acquired knowledge on the committees; he asked me to explain to him what TOPOS was about. What I did not realize at the time, was that the hampering revival of TOPOS played out as some kind of meme. So, the ignorant sjaars that I was, responded to him, “I don’t remember exactly, but that does not matter because they are not relevant anymore”. The whole room lay flat in laughter, but I just sat there, not understanding what all the fuzz was all about.

Everyone was excited to see all the publications hidden behind the yearbook’s cover

Flash forward two years later, to a conversation I was having with one of my greatest friends in the programme, Laurens. We chatted about that first ALV, and the comment I made about TOPOS there. As commissioner of internal affairs at Genius, Laurens had actually read a little into the history of TOPOS and told me that he had the ambition to bring the committee back to life.

Tobias refreshes himself with one of the many draft beers on tap in the café

I hadn’t spoken with Laurens about TOPOS after our conversation. But then, at the end of the ALV in February 2022, when the WVTTKs were announced, Laurens’ ambition for TOPOS suddenly popped into my mind. I raised my hand and asked if his ambition was still running. Although Laurens hadn’t looked further into it, our chairwoman, Shanna, then raised her hand too. And as more hands followed, we were certain. The committee was reborn that night.

Laurens is happy with the new decoration for his bookshelf

The TOPOS committee has grown considerably after the evening of its revival. Where we once started off with only five members, the committee now balances around twelve members. Shanna and I are the only members remaining from the initial team. We cannot express our gratitude for those who helped create the format we have now – a platform for students, by students, where we can spread knowledge and inspire one another – including podcasts, and even excursions. Thanks to their contributions, we were able to publish our first article since 2018, one year after reviving the committee.

Hilde knew that it is important to take a break from all the hard reading and decided to replenish her energy under the delight of a bitterbal

And now, one additional year later, we have been able to collect all publications from the three themes in 2023 into the very first yearbook since 2016. Again, something that could not have been possible without the hard work of the team responsible for acquiring our fantastic sponsors, and certainly not overlook the team designing and assembling this astonishing yearbook. Lastly, we should also thank the members who designed and arranged our sleek TOPOS t-shirts.

Teachers Paul and Gerrit-Jan attended the event too

We were excited to see that so many students and teachers visited the launch event, and could not wait to see what the committee had been working on behind the scenes for so long. If only those who were there during the 2019 ALV could have been there, witnessing how TOPOS has finally successfully returned to life after being treated as a laughing stock. Needless to say, TOPOS in the old days achieved an astonishing quality that is hard to match. The committee is committed to keeping the quality up for the new generation of readers and writers, with plentiful new inspiring articles and activities that build toward the yearbook of 2024 and beyond. Personally, I can’t wait to see what the future will bring, and hope all of you will accompany us on this awesome journey!


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