Student - September 15, 2011

Proposition: KSV went too far in their initiation

For and against.

‘Humiliating initiation at KSV' was the headline in the last Resource. That'll be a fun read, I thought. But on reading the article I found that the humiliation was not all that bad. I wouldn't have thought that a few paint stains on what was surely not your Sunday best, and being deprived of your sandwiches with Fairtrade chocolate sprinkles, will exactly scar you for life. But Wim, the father, is making a mountain out of this molehill, in a way that will probably work against him: his son cannot walk through the Forum undetected and it is unlikely to cost the KSV a single recruit next year. What is striking, though, is that KSV seems to have dropouts from its initiation every year. Perhaps they paint too rosy a picture of their society during the AID?
Marlies responds: Not something that scars you for life? Maybe not for you, but everybody is different and some people can handle it better than others. Especially if you perhaps didn't know what to expect, although I don't know to what extent that applies in this case. But I do agree with you that his father's reaction was not very wise, tactically speaking.
I don't think KSV went too far with their initiation games. Compared to other cities, certainly, the initiations in Wageningen are not too bad. But I do wonder quite what the point of these sorts of initiation is. In my own society I am very close to a number of people and I can't imagine that bond would have been any stronger if we'd been through a tough initiation. I think it's a pity that people are put off by this and don't join a society because of it, when they might have been very enthusiastic otherwise.
Jillis responds: You only really understand the purpose of initiation periods once you have been through them yourself. That may sound feeble and clichéd, but it's true. If the only aim of the initiation was to humiliate others, do you think all those societies in the Netherlands would really carry on running them? An introduction period creates a bond and makes you feel proud of your society and committed to it. That is why the phenomenon has lasted 200 years: because it works.