It is possible that new Coronavirus-related measures will be brought in tomorrow evening, making preparations difficult
The various student associations in Groningen are readying themselves for the arrival of thousands of new students to the city next week. They have created a special programme for the KEI introduction week, with a significant portion of online and socially distanced events, but are worried that Dutch PM Mark Rutte’s upcoming press conference (Thursday evening, available on NOS News) will announce further Coronavirus-related measures.
The Groningen municipal broadcaster OOGTV asked several student associations what measures they have taken against the Corona virus within their introduction programmes.
“It is a very difficult situation,” says Aukje Hopmans of Dizkartes (one of the larger associations). “We have put together a programme that will take place online and physically. We want to do everything that takes place physically in our society on the Peperstraat as safely as possible. We will keep a meter and a half away, there is enough disinfectant available and we have submitted our plans to the municipality and the KEI organisation for approval. ”
Hopmans said that the preparation are quite a task. “We had no experience in setting up such a thing. Every year we try to show ourselves as well as possible during the KEI week as an association. We had a script for every year, so to speak. Now we have had to start from scratch. In any case, I can say that this has been a very educational experience for me, but also for us as a board.”
Hopmans fully understands that now the infection numbers are also rising in Groningen, students may start to worry. “If you are not comfortable with it, we have everything in store online on our website. We have several live streams. There is a beer tasting, a Dutch pub quiz and there are three evenings with Q and A’s. And you can even get a virtual tour of our building.”
Student association Bernlef (which caters mainly for Frisian students) is also going online during KEI week. “We have made several videos,” says Robert de Boer, of the association. “In those videos we show what we do and who we are.” Nevertheless, students are also welcome next week. “We have our own building on Tuinstraat. Normally it can accommodate a hundred people, now with the corona measures 24. Everyone who enters must write down their name and telephone number so that it can later be used for a source and contact investigation of the GGD, if necessary.”
At Cleopatra (an ‘inclusive’ association without hazing rituals) organisers are also a bit worried. “The intention is that we will start our activities on Monday,” says Lyan van der Velde. “I hope it all goes through and that the Prime Minister’s press conference doesn’t put a stop to the plans.”
The Cleopatra building is on the Kleine Pelsterstraat, and the KEI programme is a combination of online and physical. “We are open every day from 4 pm where there are guided tours, questions can be asked, there is a pub quiz, an escape room and a cocktail evening. All activities can be done online where people can also see each other. ”
So what are the concerns? “If it turns out during the press conference on Thursday that it is not possible, we can always fall back on our online programme. We think it is important that we do the activities well and safely. We have good contact with the municipality and the GGD, where we have always said that what we do must be responsible.”
Image via PxFuel.