‘In the bar again at last’

Covid-figures are improving: things are looking up for student life as well.
It’s a lot livelier on the roof terrace at KSV Franciscus than it was during the lockdown. There is room for 40 visitors at a time. Photo: Sven Menschel

Now the Dutch Covid figures are improving, things are looking up for student life as well: more classes are allowed on campus and student societies can start up some activities again. Like having a beer outside. ‘You can definitely call it a blessing that that’s allowed again.’

Eight people at a time, sitting two at a table with the tables suitably spaced. The Covid rules are strictly adhered to on the terrace at Unitas, says chair Erik van der Velde (23). ‘Our terrace seating is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the days when we used to hold members’ nights. We run four shifts, so 32 students can come per day.’

Sometimes members sit and have a drink in the pouring rain

These may seem like modest numbers, but they are happy with them at Unitas, says members’ coordinator Wouter Fennema (23). During the lockdown, Fennema was in close contact with the members.  ‘Especially with first-years, to check how they were doing: psychologically, in their studies and in their connection with the society. They held out very well, but they were really longing to be able to drop in at the clubhouse, to socialize and just to have a drink again with other members. You can definitely call it a blessing that that’s allowed again.’

Unitas members got through the lockdown with online activities and walks, says Van der Velde. ‘The walking was so popular in the end that the society joined in The May 50K, a stunt to raise funds for MS research. Our members were sponsored to walk 50 kilometres in May, and raised about 2000 euros that way. So something good came out of it.’

A really good party would be a nice end to this crazy year

Fennema and Van der Velde are hoping further easing of measures will be possible soon. Van der Velde: ‘We are working on a new bar in the party basement. We’d like to open it with the members this academic year.’ Fennema: ‘It would be nice if we could throw a really good party during the AID introduction week. That would be a great way to mark the end of this crazy year.’

Full roof terrace

KSV Franciscus is looking a lot livelier than it was during the lockdown too. The roof terrace has space for 40 visitors at a time. ‘We’re really not full all the time,’ says chair Emiel Dijkstra. ‘That is partly because of the weather. But sometimes member sit and have a drink in the pouring rain.’ Like at Unitas, there are several shifts per day. ‘It’s lunchtime from 12 to three; drinks time from three to six, and so on. Members have a beer and can get a simple snack like a croquette roll.’

Franciscus is still in the first phase of reopening. ‘We are testing what works,’ says Dijkstra. ‘Last week we were open every day. We’ll probably cut down a bit soon, but we’ll stay open on the most popular days. We have asked our members on which days they would like to make use of the roof terrace, whether they feel safe in terms of Covid, and whether they have suggestions for improvements.’

On the terrace you see people who are not in your Covid bubble

It’s been a difficult academic year for the societies, says Dijkstra. ‘Last summer you could do quite a lot, but towards the end of 2020 the country locked down more and more. Students are very happy now that they can come to the terrace again. It means you can see people who are not in your Covid bubble. I hope we’ll be allowed to do a bit more every month now, and that it will all soon start to look like student society life as it was, so that next academic year is as good as normal. Of course, it all depends on the Covid figures, but it would be very nice for everything and everyone in the society.’

‘For real’

In the study associations too, people are glad to be able to meet ‘for real’ again. Anne van der Velde (20) is on the board of Genius Loci, the study association for Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning students. ‘Since measures were eased, I have classes on campus every day and Genius Loci members had lunch together recently. Such things do make student life a lot nicer.’

During the lockdown, Genius Loci switched to online activities. ‘There simply is less interest in those activities, so we are happy that we can organize things in-person again. It’s nice to see each other in the flesh again. It gives you new energy.’ So the study association has no shortage of plans, says Van der Velde. ‘Together with the teachers, we at least want to run a nice end-of-year activity for the first years, because starting university life during this past Covid year was really quite extraordinary. And we still want to go on a first-year weekend with this cohort, even though that will probably take place during the next academic year.’

Also read:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to write a comment.