Six hundred students pumped full of energy drinks partying hard in the Forum. Anything goes once the university embraces the free market…
This scene occurred last Friday when the Forum turned out to be the secret location for the annual nachtcollege party thrown by Red Bull, the supercool caffeine dealer.
The six hundred students came from all over the Netherlands and included 50 Ceres members. They must have been a touch disappointed that the secret venue was not Amsterdam, Utrecht or Rotterdam. But that didn't make it any less fun, according to our witnesses. In fact, student Teun Durlinger though the party was brilliant. 'Really, holy shit', was his comment. The fifty Wageningen students who signed up for the party gathered at Ceres to get on a bus that took them to the Forum via the motorway. 'That way all the buses could arrive at the party together', says Durlinger. 'At the door you had to drink a Red Bull Jägermeister. At least, you were not allowed to take it inside.'
In the big lecture hall C222, the Ill Skill Squad laid on a 'great breakdance act', which was followed by a party on the ground floor. There were three bars and a big podium for the DJs. In the meeting room behind the Grand Café there was a lounge area. At around 3 a.m. the students piled back into the buses and were brought home.
Rumour around the brand
The question remains why the university welcomes a commercial spectacle like this with open arms. Can any washing powder brand come and hold a demonstration in Wageningen's higher education centre? No, says Edwin Keilhout of Corporate Communication and Marketing, who gave Red Bull his blessing. 'But Wageningen's image as a student town could use a bit of a boost', he believes. 'Red Bull has a really cool image and they are known for their hip parties. So that brings us a lot of exposure. We piggyback on Red Bull's reputation and we get some 'rumour around the brand' - which is exactly what we want.'
That he was part of a massive promotion stunt raises no more than a shrug from Teun Durlinger: 'It keeps costs down. Unlimited drink for 15 euros is a good deal. A big party like this would usually cost at least 50 euros.'
And if sugar daddy Red Bull wants to pick up the bill, what's against it?