Student - January 29, 2009

HARD TIMES FOR UNITAS

The rector and a few other Wageningen University staff received an email last week with the subject ‘Unitas bankrupt in 2009?’ The email was sent by a concerned member, says Pieter Mulder, chairperson of the Wageningen youth organization. ‘We’re not too happy about it, actually. Bankrupt is a big word.’

Pieter doesn’t deny that something is wrong. ‘Parties are not well attended so it’s not going so well, financially.’ The board is now busy looking into ways of ‘getting things going again’. Pieter doesn’t want to say much about it yet.

The board doesn’t know quite why attendance is going down. Treasurer Tom Driedonks says, ‘It’s a vicious circle. Once you get this sort of image, you get fewer people coming. And then if there’s another party at Ceres which all their friends are going to, there’s no contest. It’s not the atmosphere that is to blame, Tom is convinced of that: ‘It’s always very friendly here.’

Some people think the drop in numbers is because of the ban on smoking. ‘At first, smokers had to go outside and they didn’t come back in after one thirty’, says Tom. ‘Now we have a smoking room, and people hang around longer.’

The board’s plans for turning the tide are still at the drawing-board stage, but Tom certainly doesn’t believe these difficulties spell the end for Unitas. ‘We can do without too many scare stories.’

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