While some students were busy exploring the EUR campus, others were visiting the information market. No sooner did it begin to rain than the well-known rain ponchos sold out and everyone who had brought an umbrella opened it. So the field on which the information market was being held soon turned into a soggy swamp, but that didn’t stop people from enjoying the experience. For associations, this is one of the best opportunities in the academic year to recruit new members.
More clubs, but the weather is dodgy
There were many different types of organisations, all of which seek to provide students with activities to keep them occupied during the course of their degree programmes. The market boasted over one hundred stands. “I got my bachelor degree in Greece, and we don’t have that many student associations there. It’s kind of a pity, because our weather is much better than yours,” said Finance & Investment student Georgios, grinning. He mainly attended the event in hopes of finding a place where he can do a work placement, so as to improve his chances of finding a job after graduating.
“We’re getting drenched!” said Lily and Laura, dressed in red and huddling under a red umbrella, when we asked them what they were doing at the market. They went on to say, a little more seriously: “We’re looking for associations we can join. They’re a great opportunity to meet new people and maybe do a few things we can put on our CVs,” said Lily. Laura added: “We’re still getting used to the weather. It rains here a bit more often than in Germany.”
Out of your comfort zone
Wedged between the marquees at the market were stands run by special organisations looking to recruit new student members. “We’re lucky that our stand is so close to the entrance, where people are still fresh and curious,” said Erasmus Tech Community’s Bryan, whose club had welcomed quite a few new members. “We’re open to everyone, no matter what kind of degree they’re getting. We often get new people interested by showing them with which major corporations we have connections. For instance, we once had a guest speaker who worked at Tiktok.”
For Pi Cheng, who is about to serve on the University Council, getting a degree entails more than just textbooks and lectures. He thinks universities are places where students can grow, which also involves the kinds of activities offered at the market. “We must encourage students to be brave and step outside their comfort zone. That’s how they learn to be happy and how to have an impact on the world. I really think it’s no use getting students to complete their degrees in three years and telling them that they must complete their degree programmes in the published time, without giving them a chance to grow and become a different person.”
Richard and Pelle of the Erasmus Debating Society started their day off enthusiastically. The trophies displayed on their table drew quite a bit of attention. “Many first-year students get particularly interested when we tell them about the international debating competitions. That’s where we won our biggest trophy,” said Pelle. “I like putting it like this. In every field of study it’s important that you are able to properly defend your views. That’s why the debating club is a good idea for all students.”
At the Erasmus Pride tent, Leonardo and Maura told students about the activities undertaken by their association, which promotes students’ interests. “We want to create an inclusive safe space at the university,” said Leonardo. “We’re in direct contact with the university and advise them on representation and inclusiveness.”
The stand next to Erasmus Pride’s belonged to the Dutch Caribbean Association (DCA), a first-time stallholder at Eurekaweek. The association, geared towards students who hail from the Netherlands Antilles, was very happy to report that students seemed to be quite keen to join. “Not just Caribbean students, but international students too. They see the word ‘Caribbean’ and they’re already feeling the warmth!” said the president of the association, Samantha Kruithof. It probably helped that DCA had ko’i lechi (traditional Antillean milk candy) that students could win by answering a quiz question correctly.
Things were still a tad quiet for the ladies who run the New Fashion Society (NFS). “We’ve had a few new people sign up, but it’s true we are kind of a niche club,” said Lotte, who saw the same thing happen in previous years. “When people ask me what the NFS is all about, I tell them we seek to build a bridge between fashion and the business side of the fashion industry.”
The first-year students themselves needed some time to process the wealth of information they had just obtained. “I know for a fact that I’ll join the study association. But there are so many other associations that I haven’t really been able to pick one yet,” said Health Policy and Management student Marit.
Josi intended to join one of the international associations next year. “I think it would be fun to get to know people from all over the world.”