Actually, Martijn Scholtens wasn’t interested in student associations. “I didn’t have any friends who were members, and I had a somewhat one-sided image of banter and getting involved with committees.” As Christian he came across Navigators Studentenvereniging Rotterdam (NSR) for the overnight stays during Eurekaweek in 2014. “At that time I really enjoyed drinking beer and getting high, and a Christian association seemed to be a boring club, full of pious, holy people.”

But every night when he came home, he found he had great discussions and experiences at NSR. “I believe that God leads us. For me, my belief was something that was separate from the rest of my life, and at NSR I discovered how I can lead the life that God has in mind. My drink and drug use wasn’t judged, but was questioned with consideration.”

nsr terras eurekaweek 2019 maandag foto Amber Leijen (5)

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Show your love

That’s a really important feature of the Navigators. “Drinking isn’t the main point here. We have a bar and there are parties, but if you drink too much and misbehave, we’ll talk to you about where that behaviour comes from.” With 300 members, there’s a strong personal approach. “We’re radically different from other student associations. ‘Show your love’ is a lesson from Jesus that is key for us. If someone appears to be falling by the wayside, it’s up to our members to support them.”

A rather physical initiation

Nevertheless, there is an initiation. “It’s also a rather physical one. But we pray in advance that they discover that God is good. We also don’t use the harshest leaders for this.” Other physical matters are actually discouraged. “We have no precepts, but we live from a Biblical conviction in which sex before marriage is discouraged. We believe and actually discover that within marriage is when sex comes to full bloom.” He recently married a co-member. “There are around five NSR marriages per year. We also help members to work on their relationships.” That’s something they also like to discuss with people from other associations. “We have just one closed event per year. We want to be known as a place where people can say what they want. It doesn’t matter which tie they’re wearing, we’ll embrace them with love.”

Maarten Struijvenberg remembers NSR as being an open club: “A nice place with no nonsense.” RSC alumnus Vincent Karremans also liked to visit the Navigators. “I met a good friend there that I still see now; he was the Preses there.”

Immediate click

“It felt like coming home”, stated CU/SGP civilian council member Christel Monrooij, who became a member of NSR in 2013. “There was always a casual atmosphere at the association building, and I felt an immediate click with the people. As well as friendships for life, NSR really helped to shape what I consider important in life. For instance, I learned to really ask someone how things are going.” She’ll also be getting on the NSR wedding boat soon. How would she describe the association? “The right balance between beer and Bible.”

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