Students associations remain open… as a study location

The catering is closed, but student associations stay open – as a studying location, for example.
SSR-W during the AID. Photo: Anna den Hartog

All catering businesses are closed for at least a month, according to the corona measures put in place on 13 October. How about student associations?

The new measures allow associations to stay open, ‘Members are permitted to meet in within the confines of the association.’ But, for what purposes can members visit their student association?

Study locations popular

Bram Duurland, SSR-W chair: ‘It is yet unclear whether the bar may open for small groups to have a drink at the appropriate distance. We expect the security region to provide clarity soon. However, our priorities currently lie with remaining open as, for example, a self-study spot. This function is very popular of late, and offers an opportunity to meet at a safe distance.’ Members wanting to use the association for purposes such as these must sign up online.

The message from the university is: do not look for loopholes

Bram Duurland, chair of SSR-W

Duurland is a member of a group app whose members include the chairs of the other associations, representatives of the university and Wageningen municipality. ‘The message there from the university is: do not look for loopholes, but look for what is sensible.’

Good bonding

The corona pandemic has posed quite some challenges for SSR-W, says Duurland. ‘New members aren’t able to visit the association all that much to meet new people. We have 173 new first-year members, and can only allow 30 people in a room at any one time. Moreover, some people are wary of visiting the association in these times. How do we help members get to know each other? And how do we get them to bond with the association? We cannot always offer them a place, but we do give them a slightly higher priority than existing members.’

He is not concerned over finances. ‘We are not able to spend much and have incurred some losses, but we will not topple. Some associations in other cities don’t seem to fare equally well.’

Meetings allowed

Emiel Dijkstra, chair of KSV Franciscus: ‘The catering is closed, but student associations retain the right to gather. Commissions and boards can still get together to meet, at 1.5 metres. But the bar is closed, so we aren’t really open.’

‘No more than 30 people are permitted per room. We use two rooms as a basis. Although we have sufficient room to allow three times thirty, we don’t feel that would be responsible. So, we have no more than 60 people in the building at any time.’

Less than normal

Prior to these new measures, there were still drinks, Dijkstra explains. ‘You did have to register online. You could book a table for four. There was only room for small groups; there were no drinks for entire fraternities and such.’

There were no drinks for entire fraternities

Emiel Dijkstra, chair of KSV Franciscus

KSV Franciscus also offers studying spots. ‘This is something we want to continue, but we must check if it’s allowed. Before the new measures a study spot could include lunch, that is something we will have to discontinue as this is seen as catering. But we hope to stay open for students. The university would also prefer that.’

‘Normally, the students association is a large social group’, Dijkstra says. ‘That function still exists, albeit less than normal. The pandemic affects the association because it is much more difficult to unite.’

Update 16 October 9.00 hrs

Discussions between the city and SSR-W have revealed that student associations must apply for a permit in order to offer study spots. ‘We are now completely closed until the permit is acquired’,  SST-W chair Duurland says. ‘We are still checking whether or not this is really necessary, but for now, it is unclear whether we can offer self-study spots.

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