STAR of the Month May: Joep Beliën

Hi all,

I am very flattered for being chosen as the STAR of the month! Thank you very much.

Today is May. The month in which the weather starts allowing all kinds of spontaneous ideas for stuff to do while you try to stay productive and hand in the last assignments or prepare for the last exams of the year. I like May.

This year as a STAR board member, this characteristic of May is still present. Me and my roommates decided to throw a party last night, just to celebrate life. And it was, described with a word all this years active members will understand, a “total escalation”. This morning, way too early and completely hungover but greeted with the odour of Mays flourishing nature I cycled my way to the STAR office with a big smile on my face, like I’m doing for almost a year now.

May is the month in which the new STAR board is recruited. Almost ten months ago I applied for the board and my life is a roller coaster ever since. I got chosen as the Information Processes Manager and Vice Chairman of the 38th STAR board and my May has never been so beautiful. Please, let me try to explain a little bit about how I am experiencing this year.

I exchanged my easy going life as a student for a life with very large amounts of responsibilities, challenges, growth, new friends, fun and many many other things. When my year began, the development of the Erasmus Recruitment Platform just started (, an extension of the Erasmus Recruitment Days and the largest project STAR has ever done. I had to, without any knowledge of developing, manage this project. It was among other things my job to manage the relationship with the developing company, decide what functionalities were important enough to spend money on, comprehensively test everything that was developed, keep an eye on the overall project and manage everybody involved in the launch. For example, we invented step by step a scheduling algorithm to schedule the 2800 participating students of the Erasmus Recruitment Days. The extent and impact of the decisions you suddenly have to make was for me unimaginable. And the weird thing is that you just do it. You suddenly have got responsibilities and autonomy you will not encounter until far into the beginning of your career. An unbelievable learning experience if you ask me, and this is just one example.

The far most beautiful part of this all, is that you do nothing alone. Besides the Supervisory board that is always standby to help you and share its expertise or the many trainings that are already planned for you, there are eight other students going through a similar experience. Never have I ever worked so closely and intense together as this year with my fellow board members. Moreover, the many drinks, trips and other social activities gave us memories to cherish forever. They have helped me grow on a personal as well as on a professional level. I got eight new friends for life, and I know they think the same.

It is difficult to grab the experience and emotion of this year in a few words. I know that I’m having the far most awesome time of my life and that I’m far from ready to choose my successor and hand my position over. At the same time, I wish everybody the same experience I’ve had.

Although I could go on for hours, there are new projects like the Erasmus Recruitment Platform on which I am going to work right now. Later today I will grab a beer with the men of the board, enjoy a warm evening May is known to give us and be grateful for everything this year has given me.

Joep Beliën

Information Processes Manager & Vice Chairman

38th STAR board 2015-2016

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