Last Wednesday, municipal councillors visited Contractus, the consultative body of Groningen’s eight biggest student associations. There they talked about fire safety in student housing and clubhouses, student wellbeing, and inappropriate behaviour.
All 8 study associations gave a short presentation about things like social safety, the use of counsellors and confidantes, alcohol use, charities, and the possibility of allowing in MBO students. After the presentations, the municipal councillors and associations had separate conversations.
During the work visit it became apparent, according to the municipality, that the associations are already working on these themes. They do fire drills, give information to students about the necessity of smoke alarms, and there are campaigns about wellbeing as well as protocols about inappropriate and intrusive behaviour.
There were also points to work on during the visit. While there are coaches and confidential advisors, struggling students still find that taking the first step to seek help is hard.
An earlier work visit was initiated by Contractus last year. Back then, the representative said to the municipality, The goal is to make positive initiatives and activities more visible for the associations.” They continued “There is more going on than the media shows. By talking and communicating with each other, we will keep a mutual understanding.” Something they now continued working on.