During this event we will look back at three years of #IBelong by sharing what we have collaboratively done and learned to improve sense of belonging in a disruptively changed context. Changes erupted due to Covid-19, due to the prevalence of global social movements against racism, sexism and hetero-sexism, and due to the existing inequities in access and persistence in higher education. We have learned what sense of belonging means to students and university lecturers in different regional and national contexts of the consortium partners while also learning from other contexts by colleagues working at universities in the Global South.

Furthermore, we will be moving forward by sharing new conceptualizations of the tools and instruments developed by the #IBelong consortium, introducing ideas and outcomes of other relevant EU funded projects such as #MultInclude, E-Include, Connecting our Future, Students-4-Students practices of other regions and the urban context.

We are keen to provide a platform with this event to capture your thinking and experiences on how sense of belonging can be improved to make higher education more equitable, more diverse and more inclusive for students and  staff and what this means to research, practice and institutional policy.

This Inclusiveness Meetup is the final  #IBelong Multiplier Event. This event was organized by ECHO, Center for Diversity Policy and Erasmus University Rotterdam who is the coordinating partner of #IBelong.

Event Type: Inclusiveness Meetup – #IBelong Multiplier Event  

Date: 14.12.2021, Tuesday

Time: 10.00 – 15:00 CET / 9:00 – 14:00 WEST

Location: Online. No registration fee.

Hosting institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam and ECHO Center for Diversity Policy, The Netherlands

The project #IBelong – ‘Towards a sense of belonging in an inclusive learning environment’ aims at improving the experiences and outcomes of students from diverse backgrounds (including, but not limited to migrant students and first-generation entrants) through creating a more inclusive learning environment in higher education.





First Part: Looking back

/9.00-9.20 GMT

Welcome and opening

Professor Dr. Semiha Denktas, Chief Diversity Officer at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands


/9.20-10.10 GMT

#IBelong partner discussion and reflection

The aim of this session is to appoint what three years of #Ibelong yielded in terms of (attention for) diverse students’ sense of belonging in higher education, the importance of meaningful interactions between students and staff and among students, and the inclusiveness of higher education learning
The #Ibelong team will elaborate on its experiences in the sustainable implementation of #Ibelong interventions, including chances and challenges when switching to online education.


Mary Tupan – Expert Centre Diversity in Higher Education, the Netherlands
Liz Thomas – Edge Hill University, UK
Marieke Meeuwisse – Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Miriam Lotze – Osnabrück University, Germany
Sofia Marquez da Silva – University of Porto, Portugal

Moderator: Ivana Stanojev, Knowledge Innovation Centre (KIC, Malta)


/10.10-10.15 GMT

IBelong Videos

/10.15-10.55 GMT

The importance of sense of belonging for student success.  

Panel session with two students and two staff members who participated in #IBelong, reflecting on the importance of sense of belonging in higher education.


Amina Koric, EUR

Joshua Pätzold, UOS

Staff members:

Kim Ouwehand, EUR

Aike Dias-Broens, MSc, EUR

Moderator: Ivana Stanojev, Knowledge Innovation Centre (KIC, Malta)


/10.55-11.00 GMT

Closing morning session

/11.00-12.00 GMT

Lunch Break

/12.00-14.00 GMT

Second Part:  Moving Forward

/12.00-12.45 GMT

Impact of Covid-19 on sense of belonging.

Synergy session between #IBelong university partners and other universities and programmes on how we navigate in challenging times to create sense of belonging in online/ hybrid education.


Dr. Sofia Marques da Silva, #Ibelong partner, University of Porto, Portugal –
Inma Rodríguez-Ardura, professor at Open University Catalunya. Partner EU
funded project E-Inclusion
Katja Urbach, founder and director of Arbeiterskind.de, a national program
aiming at first generation students in higher education in Germany

Moderator: Prof. dr. Liz Thomas, Edge Hill University, UK


/12.45-13.00 GMT

IBelong Videos

/13.00-13.50 GMT

Sharing ‘power’ with students

Engaging with students from programme design to programme implementation to make education more inclusive while taking the needs and contexts of students’ lives into account.


Daphne Leenders, student-assistant Pre-Academic Programme, EUR
Rumeysa Unal, student UvA, Chair of the board of Diversity Talks and participating in a student lead Students-4-Students project
Floris van der Meer, student VU Amsterdam, Boardmember Student Association FAM and participating in a student lead Students-4- Students program
Darren Lord, student Edgehill University, active in the #IBelong project EHU

Moderator: Arundathi de Saram, ECHO


/13.50-14.00 GMT


By dr. Marieke Meeuwisse, #Ibelong project leader