Science - February 19, 2004

Student club ratings: Ceres

What can the Wageningen student associations offer international students? Wb put the question to the five big student clubs and some of the study associations. Part two: Ceres, Gen. Foulkesweg 1/B.

Type of club: Ceres president Christiaan van Daalen describes Ceres as a traditional student association: “We have a clear structure and each member is expected to make a contribution to the association. Besides that though, you are free to do what you want. It’s like a big playground here. But once it gets dark the curtains are drawn and then it’s really members only.” The year clubs play an important role, and are often in competition with each other, even physically. “On Monday evening you come dressed in the suit and tie of your year club and you fight it out with the other year clubs for a place in the dining hall or at the bar.”

Openness: You can only go in if you are a member, although you can go along once as a guest of a Ceres member. To become a member you have to attend the club’s own introduction, which is held once a year after the AID at the beginning of the academic year. First-years have to help once a month in the kitchen. Second-years help regularly behind the bar or organise discos. Sometimes there are parties which are open to all, such as the ‘proppenfeesten’ held three times a year after exam periods.

Language: The information booklet and website are in Dutch. Van Daalen: “Ceres is 125 years old and we have very Dutch traditions. The university is changing quicker than we are. We are happy for international students to join, but they’ll need to speak Dutch.”

International members: One, Brazilian. “We also had an Australian girl who was a member, because she was interested in Dutch culture. She also learned Dutch very quickly.”

Does Ceres have anything to offer non-Dutch students? It is a Dutch student association with a long tradition. Members are expected to be active within the club, although when you have a lot of studying to do it’s possible to do less. “International students adapt more quickly to the club than Ceres does to them,” comments Van Daalen.

Yvonne de Hilster

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