Student associations get green light for face-to-face events after all

Student associations will be allowed to host introduction events for prospective members after all. Will that change anything for the Owee?

On the campus places are set for real-life meetings. (Photo: Annebelle de Bruijn)

This summer has seen a substantial increase in the number of coronavirus infections among young people in the Netherlands, leading the government to tighten the rules for orientation weeks at colleges and universities. 

Whereas student sport and study associations were still allowed to organise introductory activities under the new rules, student associations would not be granted the same leniency: they would have to move all of their events online this year, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on 6 August.

The decision was met with raised eyebrows in the House of Representatives. Why should some associations be allowed to host face-to-face meetings while others would have to resort to online activities?

t the House’s insistence, the security regions re-examined the issue on Monday. During this meeting, it was decided that student associations would also be allowed to organise face-to-face events, provided they are academic or athletic in nature, or aimed at recruiting and onboarding new members. 

This means there will not be any mixers or initiation events this year, a spokesperson for the Security Consultation Council confirmed, but student associations will be allowed to host a tour of their headquarters, or organise a presentation on the various committees new members can join. They will also have to observe the same strict rules which apply to sports and study associations: all events must finish before 10 p.m., and alcohol is strictly forbidden. In addition, student associations must receive approval from their institution or security region.

For the OWee, the Delft Student Introduction Week that is taking place this week, little seems to change, despite the decision. Large student associations are already showing groups of first year students around at their clubs. They are also allowed to recruit members at the annual information market.

This year, most student associations in Delft have decided to abolish their introductory week (KMT) or to keep it online. At the Delft Student Union, for example, first-year students get to know each other by videoconferencing in small groups. The Delft Student Corps has decided to cancel the KMT completely this year.

Not every student association knows yet what the period after the KMT will look like for freshmen. Sint Jansbrug plans to organise some physical activities during the association period, the period after the KMT.

HOP, Evelien Flink / Delta, Annebelle de Bruijn

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