Science - February 12, 2004

Student club ratings: SSR-W

‘It’s impossible to get the most out of your membership if you are only here for two years’

What can the Wageningen student associations offer international students? Wb put the question to the five big student clubs (SSR-W, KSV, Ceres, Unitas and ISOW), and some of the study associations. We start with SSR-W, Gen. Foulkesweg 30.

Type of club: President of SSR-W, Maarten van Strien, describes his club as ‘a traditional non-hierarchical student association’. SSR-W has various disputen (committees or sub-groups), which you have to be invited to join, year clubs and mores. “These are the unwritten rules that everyone is expected to follow, such as not going behind the bar without being asked. The mores are partly a game and partly a way of keeping order,” explains Van Strien. Members of the board only wear suits when they have to represent the club on special occasions.

Openness: On normal nights the bar is only open to members and their guests. You can become a member if you are studying at Wageningen UR, Diedenoort and sometimes we make an exception for students at the Hotel School. You also have to have attended one of the three introduction sessions held at the beginning of the academic year. SSR-W also organises ‘open’ activities like parties and cabaret evenings, and all students are welcome to these. The mensa is also open to everyone.

Language: The language for official events such as meetings is Dutch. The members voted on this issue last year. The SSR-W website is also in Dutch. English is used for the mensa menu, publicity for events that are open to everyone, and part of the information booklet that is distributed during the introduction week is also in English. It’s no problem if people speak English at the bar. “Members are happy to talk English,” according to Van Strien. Vice-president Kris Bevelander adds: “If you want to become a member, but do not speak Dutch, we can arrange a mentor.”

International members: Five of the fifty first-year members have an international background. These are BSc students who do speak Dutch. “One or both parents are Dutch, but they grew up abroad.”

Does SSR-W have anything to offer non-Dutch students? Van Strien: “The way our association is set up is based on a five-year university education. You grow within the club by participating in activities, such as serving behind the bar and sitting on committees, and taking on more responsibilities. For MSc students it’s impossible to get the most out of your membership if you are only here for two years. But we are open to international students joining.” Bevelander: “Joining SSR-W gives you the opportunity to work on your self-development and to learn how to get on well with other people. And a student association is a good way of getting to know lots of people quickly.”

Yvonne de Hilster

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