Students are still entering the Aula as Tom van Gogh, vice-chair and program manager, opens the session with a promising statement: “At STAR, we give you the opportunity to learn, to grow and to excel.” He asks all the students to grab their phone and join the Kahoot quiz. Not having a wi-fi connection is no excuse, because you can text 96EUR to a special phone number to receive the password.

The quiz is the common thread throughout the session. “STAR is the largest study association of Europe,” is the first statement of the quiz, and the audience gasps in surprise when it turns out to be true. STAR has over 6,500 members, and the membership only costs 15 euro for the whole bachelor. “We offer so many discounts that you have earned your contribution back after one block,” says Van Gogh. Other questions of the quiz concern the 450 annual events, the numerous trips throughout the study program and the RSM Star Case Club, which is a club that works together with professionals such as EY and Deloitte to solve business cases.

Sparta marsch

The second part of the session focuses on how well the new students know Rotterdam. Almost all students know the mayor of Rotterdam and the meaning of a famous Rotterdam saying: ‘Did you pee in your bed?’ (‘Hebbie in je nest gezeken?’), which means that you got up early.

However, not every question is answered correctly. For example, did you know that the real name of the Koopgoot is Beurstraverse? Not many students in the audience did. The musical knowledge of the students is also tested through various famous Rotterdam songs. Luckily, a lot of students recognise the famous Rotterdam song ‘Allermooiste Rotstad’, and football fans start cheering and clapping when the ‘Sparta Mars’ comes on.

Kortingen

Upcoming business administration student Mark considers the quiz a smart move by the organisers. “In that way, it becomes an interactive session. I think that’s way better than just listening to someone talk for 45 minutes.” He is going to sign up for a membership at STAR. “I’m not sure if I will become an active member, but a membership is always useful for the discounts.” Master student Ahrim, from South-Korea, has a few remarks on the session. “It was mostly focused on incoming bachelor students, so it would have been nice if they had provided a bit more information for master students. For example, I know that STAR visits a lot of companies, so a bit more details about that would have been useful for me.”

Matthijs van Kesteren, commercial relations manager of the STAR board, is still slightly disappointed with the totally different start of the academic year. “Normally, we would organise barbecues, drinks and other social gatherings during the Eurekaweek. That was unfortunately not possible this year.” Because of the coronavirus and the extra restrictions, the plans of STAR had to be adapted in a short period of time. “Not fun, but there is no one to blame and we will try to make the best out of this situation.”

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The Aula is only partly filled due to the necessary 1.5 meter distancing measures. Image credit: Aysha Gasanova