As is the RSG student association. Last year during the inauguration period – the time when first-year students become official members – the Scottish International Church in Rotterdam was filled to the rafters with hundreds of enthusiastic members. However, RSG could not ignore the corona measures this year either and a creative solution had to be found. “That’s why the board went to visit the members at home,” says chair Mathilde Lones. “The inauguration was literally held on their doorstep this time.”

Those members who were not physically present were also able to enjoy this special day. “We had arranged an interactive livestream and a radio show where members could send in requests for songs.” There was no huge party this time around, but it was a successful day all the same. “It was still very special.”

Two rowers instead of four

skadi roeien op anderhalve meter corona covid-19 2020 (EM)
Students kept a metre-and-a-half distance from each other in Skadi’s boats as well. Image credit: Gilles Luyendijk

Skadi has also revised a lot of its activities. Some of the rowing training can still take place on the water. However, the association is running into problems as a result of the measures. “Previously, four of us sat in a boat that now has two people in it,” says chair Floor Ruttenberg. “But the boat is really too heavy for two people and some rowers are experiencing back problems now.” Given that Skadi has huge grounds, first-year students were still able to get to know each other safely out in the open air.

In addition, the association tries to be as sociable as possible with the help of online get-togethers. “For example, we organise bingo sessions or a game of Thirty Seconds. The beer tasting via zoom was also really cool.”

EM TV 3 december

Rewatch the EM TV episode

EM TV: How student associations organise their rituals corona proof

How do student associations adapt during the pandemic? In this episode, Mathilde Lones…

'Rituals should be meaningful'

SSR-R has chosen to postpone its most important traditions. “We treasure our rituals, and we want them to keep on being meaningful,” chair Scott Wentzel stated. Wentzel believes that online variants are no substitute for them. “But if restrictions are eased, then our traditions and rituals will go ahead as much as possible.”

A number of traditions have been adapted. Integration Day, the day when all the new members are together for the first time, did not take place at the pub as it traditionally does, but in the Nieuwe Luxor, at a proper distance from each other. The association also organises weekly quizzes and zoom drinks so that members can enjoy themselves as much as possible.

More applicants than usual

A lot of student associations, including RSG, saw the number of applications soar this year. Mathilde: “First-year students most likely thought: We don’t have much opportunity for personal contact on campus, so we should look for alternatives.”

SSR and Skadi also saw the number of members increase this year. “But because of corona, we have limited capacity inside the building,” says Ruttenberg. After all, all members have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. “That’s why we admitted the same number of people into the association as in previous years. That’s actually a pity. But we have chosen quality over quantity.

Hardly any physical activities

Physical activities remain limited at all three student associations for the time being. Nevertheless, empty rooms are being used here and there. “We have been open for committees, for one thing,” Wentzel explains. The rooms at RSG are also partially available. “The meeting room is used by our members to study in,” says Lones. ” A few people sit there every day. At least they don’t have to sit in their own room all the time and they can have a chat with board members.” Skadi’s indoor space is mainly used for training practice. “The room is full of rowing machines for ergo training,” Ruttenberg adds.

Despite the numerous online activities, first-year students will regrettably still have to wait a while before they can fully experience student life. “The new generation doesn’t know any different, but of course they are familiar with the stories of past years,” Wentzel notes. “They do know how things could be.” However, as far as Lones is concerned, plenty of students are getting something worthwhile out of being members this year too. “It’s important to stay connected with each other, especially in these times.”


Read more

Student societies may not be able to host outdoor seating areas during Eurekaweek

Normally, student societies create temporary outdoor seating areas during Eurekaweek.…