History Vereniging van Studenten in de Plantenziektenkunde

Vereniging van Studenten in de Plantenziektenkunde
The Vereniging van Studenten in de Plantenziektenkunde (Association of Students in Crop Protection) was founded by several students in 1964. The goal of the association was: Stimulating the interest for and enlarging the insight in the crop protection with all  its applications. This was not an official association from the start. The first board was even formed  a few months after the foundation. The members, also known as “plantenziekers” (those who make plants sick), would slowly, but surely start calling the association ‘Vergifmenietje’, which is a pun that says “don’t poison me” with the  name of the plant “vergeet-mij-nietje”, the Dutch name of the flower (Myosotis species). The pun refers to the use of chemicals to control  plant pathogens and plant pests.

In the early years of the association, study-related movies were watched together as well as discussing trendy topics. It was even a tradition to watch these movies after a General Meeting was held, to attract more people to  the meetings. Members also received an automatic membership on the study-related magazines ‘ Gewasbescherming’ and the ‘NJPP’, which is also known as the Netherlands Journal of Plant Pathology. The association was not very active at the start, as many  students were more active in political associations  like WSO (Wageningse Studenten Organisatie) and WASTRA (Wageningse Studenten Raad) than in study-related associations.

Four years after its foundation, in 1968, regular activities started being organised. The first activity was a football tournament tied in with a drink. The same year the concept of coffee tables was introduced. These were organised lunches where students, lecturers and professors had conversations about education and science. Contact between students and staff members really improved that year and all staff members were invited to attend student-organized activities including the General Meetings. This was also the year in which the association designed her own logo. It is a leaf with a nematode (Nematology), a virus (Virology), a fungus (Phytopathology) and a lady bug (Entomology), which represents the different Laboratories and organisms the students dealt with in their study.

The first logo of the Vereniging van Studenten in de Plantenziektenkunde.

In 1974 the first ‘Mama Ochlo’ was distributed. This was the official magazine of the association. The name was derived from an Inca goddess ‘Mama Occlo’, who was seen as mother and the goddess of fertility in the Inca mythology.

In these years the number of students studying crop protection was growing steadily, but in 1980 the numbers increased dramatically. The number students becoming member of the association grew a lot too, but they weren’t active members. Some people even called it the dark years of the study association. Many of the standard activities had to be stopped, because there weren’t enough people to organise them and even the board consisted of  just three members for several years.

According to the 1989 almanac, the association started to become more active again in 1986. Ironically the number of students studying crop protection had gone down again, but many new activities were organized. One year later the graphic designer of the department designed a new logo. The idea of the different Laboratories being represented on the leaf was the same, but it was decided to make the logo a bit more abstract. The new logo was also printed on sweaters that were sold to members. In 1988 the first General Meeting in years was held.

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, members wanted to write an almanac, but they lacked the money and needed sponsors. To ask for sponsoring legally the association had to become a registered organization, because as you might remember the association started unofficially back in 1964. The members wrote the statutes for their association and became officially registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. This is when the members realized that the association was founded with another name than ‘Vergifmenietje’ and thus decided to officially call it the Vereniging van Studenten in de Plantenziektekunde (Association of Students in Phytopathology). A short while before the almanac was finished (Koppensnellers, 1990) members realized that the association was a year older than they previously thought, resulting in the almanac being a year too late for the 25th anniversary.

Just two years after appearance of the almanac the study association had to merge. The number of students had decreased dramatically and the study as well as the association had to merge with that of the plant breeders to form Optima Flora. 

The second logo of the Vereniging van Studenten in de Plantenziektenkunde.

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