Most of the Rotterdam student associations have seen a slight fall in the number of new members. RSC/RVSV is the only association to have attracted many more new members than the total who joined the two segregated fraternities last year. This is thanks to the merger, says the fraternity.
After the government abolished the basic student grant and Erasmus University introduced the ‘nominal is normal’ regulation, the associations were concerned about a possible decline in their memberships. This has not yet materialised: there has been a very slight fall in the number of members, but due to the big increase at RSC/RVSV, the total number of members of fraternities in Rotterdam has risen by 2 percent.
We’ve had a record number of registrations, says Nathalie Morales Campo, vice-president elect of RSC/RVSV. “Our goal was at least 300 members.” That was the average intake (130 women, 170 men) per year in the fraternities in previous years. This year, we have 343 (160 women, 183 men). This is the first mixed year since the merger. “We feel that this has added to the appeal of our association,” Morales Campo explains.
The vice-preses of the Rotterdam Student Fraternity (Rotterdamsch Studenten Gezelschap (RSG)), Maud van den Eijnden, is delighted with their 114 new members: “A great number.” Navigators Student Association Rotterdam (NSR) has 81 new members this year. “This is the maximum number we could take this year in terms of capacity,” says preses Peter Jos Lock. The merger between the RSC and the RVSV hasn’t affected Laurentius as yet. The association is happy with its 195 new members, ten fewer than last year.
Because of the ‘nominal is normal’ regulation, the associations thought that more students would only join up in the second or third year of their study. A survey conducted by Laurentius among their new members showed that around ten percent of their new members were not first years, says the Laurentius preses, Mirle Buurma.
Among the other associations, more students only join in their second or third year. At RSC/RVSV and NSR, forty percent of the new members are freshers, while at SSR they constitute 30 percent of the new members.
Six Belgians at the corps
The number of international student members joining the associations is not always recorded. At RSC/RVSV, ten international students joined this year, including six Belgians. No internationals joined NSR.
There has also been a slight rise at national level, according to the National Chamber of Associations (LKvV) in a press release. A total number of 9,864 new members joined the 47 associations affiliated to the LKvV. Last year, there were ‘over 9,800’ according to the LKvV.