“I am very pleased”, says a beaming Amber Schothorst (21), incoming chair. Because of the traditional party of the night before – at which the media were not welcome – her eyes are puffy while she is roaming the association house. It smells like beer and detergent.
In a business-like and somewhat nervous manner, the recently graduated former economy student shows EM the way through the depths of the nearly empty association house. “This is the association’s old library,” the chair to be states while she knocks on the door for admission. A handful of first years are sitting behind a laptop, working on their application.
One of them is Wobbe van de Pas, who is 18 years old and currently starting the EUR’s Economics study programme . His sister was already a member of the association and she recommended that he take a look. “I like the vibe around here: I have been at the association house every day this week and became a member instantly,” he says somewhat laconically.
Van de Pas did not hear much about the incidents that came to light earlier this year, which included a student suffering a head wound and having to be taken to hospital. “You hear the occasional story, but I haven’t had any strange experiences,” he assures EM. Schothorst listens at an appropriate distance and nods affirmatively.
The entire week, Van de Pas was flitting between the association’s introduction week and the ‘regular’ Eureka Week. “Apart from student association members, I obviously also wanted to get to know my classmates,” he continues. Van de Pas believes that there is a clear difference between both events: “The Eureka Week is mainly about the activities, the Entreeweek is more about socialising.”
Similarly, Noortje Hopstaken (20) did not hesitate long before signing up with the association. “I am already happy with my choice; I had a great week, with a barbecue and boat ride, among other things. And a lot of parties, of course!” These were mostly held at concert venue Annabel, in order to prevent public nuisances.
However, Hopstaken is aware of the fact that the ‘infamous’ Introduction Weeks of her new association are still ahead of her. “A period of hazing rituals is not always just ‘fun’; I am keeping that in mind. I just want to see with my own eyes if the negative allegations that are presented in the media, are true. I think it’s not all that bad,” she says, encouraging herself.
Business Administration student Wieger Lutters (20) shares Hopstaken’s opinion and calls the television broadcast of research programme Rambam ‘exaggerated’. “They showed fragments that were only ten seconds long. That’s not enough to base your opinion on.” Lutters does not take the broadcast and the EUR’s subsequent measures seriously.
He was at the association house the entire week and explains why: “Because of the traditions, the loyalty between members, the social aspect… and the fact that the association is now mixed, of course!” After singing his new association’s praises, he leaves for the ‘medical area’ – a small room of only a few square metres – in which members that are studying Medicine will examine the association’s latest ‘addition’.
Number one priority
In the meanwhile, Schothorst emphasises that – even though she thinks that the independently organised Entreeweek was a success – re-establishing ties with the university should be a number one priority. She has set her sights on an Entreeweek in collaboration with the Eureka Week for next year.
In a short response, a press officer for the EUR states that they are not surprised by the success of the independently run Entreeweek, referring to “similar cases in other student cities, such as Delft and Groningen”. In these cities, the suspension of ties between the student association and the university similarly did not have a significant influence on the number of new members, although the associations in Delft and Groningen were (for the most part) present during the regular introduction weeks. In Delft, the student association was only excluded from the information market and the parade.
The EUR is open to talks, but emphasises that it will obviously only take stock after the period of hazing rituals. Schothorst remains adamant: “We will soon be evaluating how the first weeks of the new academic year went. It is important to rekindle our relationship with the university and win back trust.” For now, it remains to be seen if that will be possible and, if so, within what time frame.