RSG Preses Fleur Doolaard is absolutely convinced: “Everyone is welcome and can find their place here.” She slept at a Rotterdamsch Studenten Gezelschap (RSG) house during Eurekaweek in 2015. “The atmosphere and the people made me come back every evening.” She wasn’t immediately planning to become a member, “but after being here for four days, it felt like a logical choice.” What does she think distinguishes RSG from other associations? “Equality and freedom. As first years, you’re allowed to do just as much as the seniors. And you can make whatever you want of your membership. If you’ve not been for a while that’s fine and we’ll always say: ‘great to see you again’. “We’re a really close-knit club.” As medium-sized association, RSG has 450 members and quite a lot of committees: 33. “From the association magazine to learning to organise party evenings.”
Whereas the association used to have an alternative image, she feels that this is no longer the case today. “Over the years, RSG has changed a lot. In the 1950s we still had a strict initiation, whereas in the 70s there was a free and loose structure. Today, we’re a contemporary association, with an atmosphere and image created by its members.” What would she say to Laurentius alumnus Dennis Tak, who found that RSG came across as ‘a little fusty’? “He should come and visit. He’ll see that there’s absolutely nothing fusty here.”
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The association is the only one in Rotterdam without an initiation. “We get to know each other at a really great camp. It’s a completely different approach, but the goal is the same.” For alumnus Maarten Struijvenberg, now Alderman in Capelle aan den IJssel, this was an important reason for him to choose RSG in 1996. “I thought an initiation was just nonsense. Maybe some people find it fun, but it was nothing for Maarten.” He also really enjoyed the atmosphere in the association building. “Not too much fuss. And I really liked the music. Not the Dutch top 40 that you get at the rest of the associations, but also live music with guitars.”
He found RSG to be an ‘open’ and ‘welcoming’ club. “Really down-to-earth but still studenty. I find all that finery amusing. But without all that nonsense you have as first-year student; if you became member, you were equal.” He enjoys looking back on his time as a member. “As well as being fun, it was a kind of internship for later life. I’ve kept quite a lot of friends, and my year on the Board was one of the best years ever.”