After a swelteringly hot party in the Maassilo, two budding students admire the view from the balcony of the Rotterdamsch Studenten Gezelschap (RSG). “Huh, so that’s the Maas, but not the Erasmus Bridge, right?” A passing RSG member has to laugh, and helps the guys with a quick course in Rotterdam topography. A bit further on, a group is chatting about the opening party: “I’ve been to the Rotterdam Rave once or twice, but a Maassilo party with nothing but beer isn’t all that.”

The student association in the historic building on the Achterharingvliet proves to be a revelation even for the incoming students who have lived in Rotterdam all their lives. In the festively lit backyard garden, school friends Jiya (18, Business Administration) and Pelin (18, Sociology) admit that they had never heard of RSG. “I only knew the corps,” Pelin confesses, “but a whole new world is opening up to me here.” Jiya: “Everyone is really nice and spontaneous, and I appreciate that they have great parties but don’t do hazing.” As yet, they are not sure whether they want to become members. “We might, because it’s really a lot of fun here.” One thing at a time though; for now, they make a beeline for the dance floor.

YOLO mood

Not much later, a siren resounds around the garden -someone has enrolled! Ella (19, EUC) explains what won her over: “The atmosphere, the people, I’m a bit drunk and in a bit of a YOLO mood!” In truth, she had planned to stay far away from student associations. “I’m from Amsterdam, the recent scandals at A.S.C./A.V.S.V. painted a picture that I’d prefer to avoid. But here, all sorts of people mix with each other and it feels genuinely friendly. The one thing I miss most is my local pub, but I think I’ve found something like that here.” She has not yet told her parents that she has enrolled, but she will let them know later; after all, it is her own money.

Although RSG is known as the most laidback student association, this by no means implies that there are not any obligations. While there is no hazing, a mandatory introductory camp forms part of the rules. According to fourth-year member Laurens (25, Communication and Multimedia Design), study delays are a risk and that without being a member of a dispuut, you will soon feel left out. “Since you can do so much and can always drop by, the chance of catching the ‘student virus’ is greater here than at a sports or study club. Still, he would not have missed it for the world: “I learned a lot and made a whole bunch of friends. His advice? “Go and check out everything everywhere and find out where you feel most at ease.”

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