At the entrance to the terrace, we receive a warm welcome. “Can I see your IDs please,” asks a jolly young man in a suit. He immediately puts on his sunglasses: “I don’t mean to be rude, but I only had three hours’ sleep last night.” Wearing an 18+ wristband, we’re allowed into the Laurentius terrace on Infirmeriestraat. It’s busy, and the music is loud: here the new academic year is being celebrated in style.
According to president Tristan Gayral, it’s no wonder that the terrace is so full: ”The society and the number of members continue to rise. Every year, we have to consider how we use our rooms so that everyone fits in.” During a tour, we get to see all the bars and party rooms. The old pill factory that houses the society has plenty of room to accommodate all the members. Upstairs, there’s an area where new members can enrol. The serious note among all the fun: ‘It’s obviously very sociable, but it’s also about the opportunities you are given here. Personal development and your career are important to us,” says Gayral.
Its popularity was apparent last night too. At around half past ten, the room was nearly full, and there were still three hundred people queuing outside. The admission policy at parties is clear: only 18+ are allowed in. Gayral: ”In the past, we’ve tried to comply with the alcohol policy using wristbands, but it just didn’t work. Sometimes, a seventeen-year-old still managed to get hold of a beer.” To prevent that happening again, the rules have been tightened.
In the Smulpaep (dining room), the scraps of food on the empty plates show how busy it’s been. At Laurentius, the first years were being served hamburgers today. “Of course, there’s a vegetarian option too, because lots of people want that.” All the first-years with their green backpacks have now disappeared. Perhaps they’re saving their energy for the end of Eureka week. Understandable, because the party’s been good here.
Donut with your beer
The terrace resembles a festival site. To still those hunger pangs later in the evening, there’s a food truck where you can also get burgers or a delicious donut with your beer. Incidentally, beer only costs one euro here. The EM photographer barely avoids a beer flying through the air, and the techno blasts through the speakers. As we start to get crushed together in the crowd, we feel it’s a good moment to leave. However, the party looks set to continue – the hangover is a problem for later.