Calls, e-mails, Zoom calls and meetings. Officially, the board did not embark on its activities until December, but in actual fact, the members of the board had already begun making arrangements in the previous months. It’s quite the complex puzzle this year. “A lot will depend on the type of restrictions that will be in place over the summer. This means we’re doing a lot of extra work, and it takes a lot of discipline, but thankfully, we’re receiving a lot of help.”
According to Prins, the three scenarios the Eurekaweek is drawing up are informed by different levels of restrictions. “The first is based on a situation largely without restrictions. It’s basically inspired by the 2019 Eurekaweek. In this scenario we’re operating on the premise that large groups of people will be allowed to get together. We don’t know yet whether this will involve testing or vaccine passports. The rest of the year will tell.”
The second scenario involves social distancing, but no limits to group size. “The main requirement will be creating enough room for everyone, but we will be able to organise large-scale events.” The third scenario involves restrictions as to group size. “Up to three hundred people together outdoors, and up to thirty together indoors. This is the scenario that comes with the strictest restrictions. For this scenario we’re drawing inspiration from the original 2020 scenario, which wasn’t implemented in the end, because the week’s activities had to be revised at the last minute due to new coronavirus measures.”
The board is showing these three scenarios to organisations to check their options and draw up various scenarios. “People are being very understanding. We’re all in the same boat. We also ask them by which date the plans must be finalised, and we’re trying to get the latest deadlines possible, but we will have to make a decision as to which scenario will be used a few weeks in advance, because of the contracts.”
As for the current freshers who were treated to a largely virtual Eurekaweek last year, “we’re considering organising something for them, too. They had a good introduction to the city and the university, but we’re hearing they found it hard to make friends. I can’t make any promises to them, though. We’re getting another 4,500 new students this year, so accommodating last year’s 4,000 students on top of those will be quite the challenge, particularly if we all have to observe physical distancing rules.”
Group guide or crew member
One option open to those second-year students is signing up as a group guide or crew member. “A lot of students want to do that this year, because it will allow them to get the full experience, after all. And another thing we’re seeing is societies organising events for those who were unable to enjoy a regular Eurekaweek last year.”
The Eurekaweek board will give an online presentation of the theme of this year’s Eurekaweek at 8pm on Thursday this week.