Wednesday morning starts quietly in CB-5. Around a hundred and twenty future Eurekaweek guides stare at the screen. Once they sign the dotted line after this training session, they will be ready for their week as a guide. All they need then is their T-shirts, which arrive just before Eurekaweek, and the first years, who they meet on Monday 15 August in Ahoy.

The room doesn’t stay quiet for long. On hearing that there’s a big party in the Maassilo on the Monday evening, the buzz starts. Total quiet is never restored, but when the students learn that the budget for the entire week is 750 thousand euros, the buzz reaches peak crescendo. Based on the mantra ‘no rules, no successful Eurekaweek’, the rules are explained to the guides. In response to rule 5 (no one is obliged to drink alcohol), laughter is nevertheless heard from one of the back rows.


Guides are given this training every year, says Lars Jennissen whose position is ‘Participants and Guides’ in the Eurekaweek board. This year, the theme diversity and inclusion has been given more time in the training session. “Because we feel it’s important”, explains Jennissen. “And o well if not everyone is quiet. I’m just glad that everyone is enthusiastic about this year’s programme.”

Training EW gidsen – EM – Wouter Sterrenburg (1 of 2)
During the information session, guides are taught how to spot and respond to unsafe situations. Image credit: Wouter Sterrenburg

So, Natalia Grubizna from Braves Spaces was invited to talk about how students can work together to create a safe atmosphere. She talks about consent (a well considered and conscious agreement between participants to take part in an interaction or activity), and about active bystanders (a person who is aware of a situation in which someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and chooses to address this behaviour). With the five Ds (distract, direct, delegate, delay & document), a bystander can intervene.

After hearing the word ‘consent’, some of the lads begin to chuckle. To the annoyance of some other guides to be. “Look, I know what consent means”,  says Anna, who is irritated by the laughter. “For anyone with a bit of a brain, it’s only logical right?” Her partner guide Amy feels it’s good to have it explained again. Perhaps exactly because it’s a subject that some people find hard to talk about.


Twenty minutes after the sniggering in CB-5, the concentration in C1-1 is tangible. Even those who laughed loudest quickly consult about the solution to their ‘problem’. The big group is divided into three lots of 40 students who now work in smaller groups. They have all been given a situation which guides faced in previous years.

What do you do if someone is very quiet? Try to involve them and ask if anything’s wrong. “And if nothing’s the matter, that’s fine too. It’s OK to be shy”, says a guide to be. The ‘problems’ relate to drunken first years, drugs (“Drugs = end of Eureka week”, says Jennissen. “We have a zero tolerance policy!”), students arriving late, conflicts with your fellow guide and more examples. Each group presents several solutions and receives feedback on them. Taking students aside to see if they’re ok is encouraged. Taking shots as a punishment for being late is not advised.


Master student Ruben felt it was a very useful morning. Discussing these things can only help, he thinks. “Yes, there are lots of rules, but that’s ok. I’m looking forward to it. For me, it marks the end of my time as a student. I’ve been an active member of the student association MAEUR for years, and I look forward to making students enthusiastic about that association.”

Anna is also keen to introduce ‘her’ first years to ‘her’ student association SSR. She definitely plans to visit the terrace on Mauritsweg. Colleague Amy is less keen and prefers to follow the official programme. “But we’ve just heard that you can split the group up if you can’t choose, so we’ll do that.”

Read here the articles about Eurekaweek 2021

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