The closing event of Eurekaweek with The Night of the Songs got underway with a minute’s silence in memory of a medical student guide who died suddenly at home on Wednesday night.
No connection with Eurekaweek
A subsequent enquiry found no connection between his death and the Eurekaweek events. In consultation with the students involved, the university decided that the festive close of the introductory week could proceed as planned.
Prior to the minute’s silence, the president of the Eurekaweek committee, Laurens Coumou, briefly addressed around two thousand students present in the Laurenskerk.
Comforting fellow students
EM reporter Floris Hager was at The Night of the Songs: “It took a while before the church quietened down, because not everyone was aware of what was going on. Along the side of the church, there was a ribbon, behind which the distraught friends and fellow guides of the dead student comforted each other. The minute’s silence ended with applause from the whole church. Most of the students behind the ribbon left after the minute’s silence,” according to Hager.
The Eurekaweek committee was extremely upset, observed guide Esmeralda de Zwart (History student), who was at the front with her group when they were confronted with the sad news. “We’d all been really excited, but when I heard the news, the atmosphere became very subdued. It took a while before the party spirit returned.”
Affect on Eurekaweek
Head of student services Joop Matthijsse supported the students involved and explained why the university had decided to allow the festive evening to go ahead: “Although there’s actually no connection between the death and Eurekaweek, everyone involved in Eurekaweek was affected: the student was a guide, so someone who had worked hard for Eurekaweek. He was part of a close group of medical students. You have to address that. After talking to his fellow students and the Eurekaweek committee, we therefore decided that we would go ahead, but that we would remember him.”
Besides the minute’s silence, the music when the band came on stage and started to play was also adapted to the circumstances. The usual honouring of the Eurekaweek committee at the end was also a more sober affair.
The students involved will receive counselling and support within the Medical faculty, says Matthijsse.