Attend the recording

EM TV says goodbye to Living Room tent with on-location broadcast

Attendance at the recording is possible on Wednesday 2 November at noon in the Living…

“What? The tent is leaving?” Annemiek lays her hand over her heart in a gesture of dismay. But when she hears that the Living Room is merely relocating on 10 November, she breathes a deep sigh of relief. “We come here a lot”, her friend Almu explains. “Last week, for instance, we had some free time, so we came here to play a game. We sat over there.” She points to a large table across from the entrance.

While at first, Almu was afraid to go inside because it looked so ‘private’, she has enjoyed spending time here in the last few months. “The massage chairs at the back are always really popular”, Jin adds. “I just finishing getting the stress of exams massaged away. My neck feels brand-new. This is really the only stress-free place at the university, anyway.”

Jin Annemiek en Almu zijn vaste bezoekers van de tent_foto door Shrey Khurana_2
Jin, Annemiek and Almu can often be found in the Living Room. Jin even calls it ‘the only stress-free place’ at university. Image credit: Shrey Khurana

No studying allowed

Studying is expressly forbidden in the Living Room. Which is why laptops are prohibited in the big, white tent in the middle of Erasmus Plaza. Anyone strolling in today, Monday, would see two students playing chess at table to the left of the door, two hosts welcoming students at the entrance, three masseurs working out the knots in students’ necks and a group of students chatting while they wait for a massage. In the rear part of the tent, the billiards table is the first thing you notice, with two students playing a round of pool. The table-football game is in use as well. Meanwhile, two other students are playing Jenga while another group plays Mikado on the floor. The only smartphones in sight are in the hands of the students enjoying the twenty-minute programme of a massage chair.

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“I would have loved to have had this place last year”, says Chiara. She is a host in the Living Room. Hosts are students who have taken a training course on how to communicate with others and how to recognise the signs of problems such as panic attacks. When a fellow student needs professional help, a host will refer them to the right place. Last year was Chiara’s first year in Rotterdam. She didn’t know anyone and often felt lonely. “Now I can help others here. People don’t always appreciate how valuable a friendly chat can be. I really like lending a hand. When you talk to a student and see them smile, that’s just such a fantastic thing.”

Host Chiara verwelkomt mensen bij de deur en telt hoeveel er zijn_foto door Shrey Khurana
Every student who enters is noted by the host, Chiara says. This shows how popular the tent is. Image credit: Shrey Khurana

New location

The tent also has an area for professional help, where students can turn for answers to questions about well-being and personal development. That help will be making the upcoming move as well: in the new Living Room, personal conversations will be held in a separate space. The new Living Room will also have its own kitchen, a small dining area and a seating area. The purpose of the space, though, must and will remain the same. Students will be able to walk in every day and (in consultation) clubs can hold workshops there as well.

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My is a host and has been working in the Living Room for nearly a year. The tent was initially supposed to remain in place for only a week, to mark the 2021 Well-being Week, but soon became a public space for students. “It gradually became busier and busier”, says My. In the period from March to July, seven thousand students stopped by the tent. It is not yet clear how many have visited in the current academic year. The hosts keep track of how many people come in each day – nearly one hundred on some days. “People bring their friends, who then bring their friends in turn. I hope the new place has this same atmosphere. I think it will.”

The official opening of the new building, and therefore the Living Room, is scheduled for 10 November. That Thursday, there will be an opening party in the form of a silent disco. Student Well-being Week will begin on Monday, 14 November and will include a festive opening of the new Living Room. During that week, events will be held at both the old location and the new one. The white tent itself will be cleared away after the end of Student Well-being Week.