On Sunday morning, more than 200 people gathered in Orion, which temporarily served as a church.
A cool wind blows across campus. It makes the flagpole at Orion tick. Aside from that, it is awfully quiet. There is no one at the party tent, hardly anyone at the bicycle parking. There is a small note on the seemingly deserted Orion that says ‘Entrance church service via The Spot’.
The Spot, Orion's party hall slash bar, is packed. Today, the Christian churches organise a joint mass here for all prospective students who participate in the fiftieth Annual Introduction Days. The sermons, which are given in English, are about solidarity and offering a home to all students, especially those from abroad. There are prayers in between the sermons: for the victims of the earthquake on Lombok, for other students, for a nice student time, for a student room. The whole is alternated with songs, sung by student choir WSKOV.
‘It was a beautiful experience’, says Ajayi Babatunde Michael afterwards. The prospective master’s student of Plant Sciences from Nigeria arrived in Wageningen last Wednesday. ‘A dream came true’, he says, but it sometimes feels quite lonely in such a new place. ‘Now I feel like I have family members here.’ Josje Schuttinga, who is studying International Development Studies, was also impressed by the mass. ‘I think that the most important message is that we should be “inclusive”.’
A little further away, we find prospective student Chris Aalberts at the information stand of the Christian student association Ichthus. ‘I thought it was a bit early’, he says. ‘I got back from the pool party around three last night.’ Chris is considering joining the association but is still uncertain. ‘It looks rather calm here, and I'm a pretty wild person myself.’ Perhaps the Navigators association, which is also Christian, will suit him better, he says.