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The door of the stately building on Mauritsstraat is open. In the association building, Preses Jelle Mooij explained how he ended up at Societas Studiosorum Reformatorum-Rotterdam (SSR-R) in 2016. “The people at SSR really appealed to me. It was great fun here and I thought the building was stunning. I really felt at home. For me, this is the place where I feel the daily stress just slip away.”

Familiar smell

A feature of SSR is the clear fraternity structure. “A match for a fraternity is made within a few months.” There’s also an ‘every face is a familiar face’ feeling, but you can still always meet new people. “With over 700 members, we’re a medium-sized association. If you have a cohort of 300 to 400 new members each year, it becomes too much.”

And yet, they’re certainly just as studenty as the others. “I don’t want to mention beer immediately, but when former members arrive they immediately recognise the smell.” Nevertheless, he wouldn’t describe the association as only about ‘banter’. “We are a diverse club.” And finally, tradition is important. “A few times a year the ‘hiha-ongemengd’ happens. Then the unmixed fraternities start pushing and pulling (brassen) the mixed fraternities out of the bar.”

laurentius eurekaweek terras foto Fabienne Hoogendoorn (6)

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Unmixed fraternity

Marco Pastors, Director of the Nationaal Programma Rotterdam-Zuid and former Alderman, knew that he wanted to be a member of something during Eurekaweek in 1983. “I was the first in my family to start studying, and to me it seemed really handy, great and sociable to be a member. That’s when you learn about student life; otherwise studying is just a continuation of your adolescence.”

SSR was the association that most appealed to him. “The association building in centre of the city, in that beautiful building on the canal; I thought that was great.” He also liked the structure of the association. “The fraternities with year groups meant that you immediately have seniors around you. That was really great for your study, for instance for summaries.” He found it a huge advantage to have a mixed association but an unmixed fraternity. “The women were great during the week, but at the weekend it was fun to go out with a group of men and see what happens.”

Welcoming and open

Pastors’ fraternity travelled every year to Domburg. “We were welcomed by the Mayor at the town hall there every year for dinner. Both our flag and the Rotterdam flag were raised then. We discussed the previous year with each other, after which we had a mussel-eating party with plenty of beer and jenever.”

He’s doesn’t have intensive contact with former members. “But I do have friends that I see sometimes, and then it’s just like old times. And people from my generation have become Trustees that I come across during my work. That does create a bond.” How would you describe SSR? “A true student association atmosphere, but really welcoming and open with a diverse group of people.” RSG alumnus Maarten Struijvenberg agreed: “SSR was somewhere between us and the rest. You could go there for a beer.” Did Laurentius alumnus Dennis Tak ever consider SSR as an option? “No. I wasn’t impressed by the association building.”

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