If the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences continue digital education in September, students will be lonely, say several student groups
Various Groninger student associations have made the comments to the Algemeen Dagblad. According to vice-president Aukje Hopmans of the Dizkartes student association, loneliness is already a problem among many students.
This has worsened during the Coronavirus outbreak, say the associations, when students were forced to attend lectures on-screen. “As an association we offer psychological help and also a suicide prevention program. Nevertheless, we fail to prevent the suicide rate among students as high as in the city of Groningen”, says Hopmans.
Vice-chairman Emma Visser of the Albertus Magnus association advocates that physical education should be possible again for first-year students after the summer holidays. “If students follow lectures in their room online, there is no connection with the university or the university of applied sciences. Then there is a risk that they will not get to know fellow students.” Unfortunately, Visser was unable to comment on the actual likelihood of in-person learning beginning again at the RUG or Hanzehogeschool.
If you are feeling lonely, or are struggling during the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, the International Welcome Center North has created a list of resources that could provide support. Students can also reach out to their study advisor, the Student Psychologist at the University of Groningen, or the Hanze Student Support office.
Vindicat Rector Floris Hamann recognises the risks of loneliness. “Students in Groningen often live far away from their parents. That is an additional reason for prospective students to join a student association.” He says that this the best way to make contact with fellow students. “You will benefit from that throughout your student days.”
Vindicat may not be in the best position to talk about student welfare: in recent years, the organisation has seen several high-profile stories of ‘hazing’ rituals, including that new recruits were sent to hospital with head injuries (among other incidents). The student association has also come under fire following some of its members creating a ‘bang list’ of female members, and an article in the members magazine ‘De Ster’ that named a ‘slut of the summer’.
A full history of Vindicats’ misdeeds can be read (in Dutch) on nu.nl, however the actions of the society as a collection were deemed so bad that the University of Groningen and Hanzehogeschool pulled funding from the organisation in 2018.