The Ahoy Convention Centre slowly filled up for the first evening event of the 49th Eurekaweek. First-year students were guided inside by their group guides, group by group, in accordance with the coronavirus restrictions. At the same time the boards of the various study societies, recognisable by their colourful shirts, entered the centre to mingle with the new students and meet their future members.

Gruelling test

Image credit: Amber Leijen

Hosts Max and Wies welcomed the nervous crowd and introduced Erasmus University’s eight faculties, to rapturous applause. Then the Battle of the Faculties began. For two hours, the hosts subjected the freshers to complicated questions about many different subjects. They asked a lot of questions about Rotterdam, and what with the students cheering loudly to drown out each other’s answers, the rivalry between the various faculties was tangible. The only time the attendees were united as one was during the musical intermezzo that was the ever-present Rotterdam song, which was sung loudly and proudly by everyone.

After a highly varied quiz, the most knowledgeable students of each faculty were put to the test in the final battle. The Erasmus School of Economics managed to get into the top-4, only to fall short in the dance battle. The Faculty of Law also just missed out on a spot in the final because they underperformed in the pick-up lines segment, which featured some truly dodgy English: “Do you work at the centre of dolphins? Because you are a spetter.” (Clearly, Dutch chat-up lines don’t always work in other languages.)

In the end, the RSM emerged victorious because its team members showed great DIY proficiency in constructing a chair made of cardboard. Erasmus University College (EUC) came second.

Stolen moves

Some students struggled to accept RSM’s victory. Economics student Jerry felt it was unfair: “We were first up during the dance battle, which allowed the other teams to steal our moves.” He and his fellow students were convinced that their Faculty of Economics was the rightful winner. On the other hand, EUC’s first-year students were very happy with their second place. “We were severely outnumbered, so we’re really proud to have come second despite only having a ten-person cheering squad.” But they, too, felt that RSM weren’t necessarily the better faculty, despite beating them to the gold: “They just happen to be better at constructing cardboard chairs.”

Erasmus School of History, Culture & Communication student Annabelle did think RSM was the rightful winner. Her own faculty was eliminated in the very first round. “But I’m happy for the RSM students.” For her part, ESL’s Sabine was sanguine about her faculty’s third place. “Lost? We came third. We’re winners, too!”

Cheered on by the very happy RSM students, the winners of the battle closed the evening off by giving a yell that was as immodest as it was unambiguous: “The RSM always wins!”