Student - November 4, 2010

Ties, bar manners and church attendance

KSV St. Franciscus has been in existence for a century. One hundred years in which women fought for their position, the Catholic identity has faded, and ties disappeared and then reappeared. A brief look at this student society.

KSV members celebrate twenty-five years, in 1935
Combating drink
In the 1920s KSV not only had a bar committee, it also had a 'club to combat student drinking'. Things are rather different now. The received opinion in Wageningen is that preppy types join Ceres, alternative types join Unitas and everyone who likes a drink joins KSV. Rubbish, says committee member Kester Smits. 'We don't want to associate either ourselves or the other societies with such stigmatizing images.'
Origins
The Brabants Studenten Gilde,'t Naboarschop and the predecessor of the Wageningen Erasmus Student Network all have their origins in KSV. The same applies to Agromisa, which has been supporting farmers in developing countries since 1934. And KSV's Batavieren debating society ran in the try-out of the first Veluweloop (Wageningen relay run) in 1975.
WWII
Wageningen was evacuated when the Germans invaded in May 1940. Grenades hit the bar of the old society building in the Heerenstraat during the fighting. The society closed in 1943 after the Germans carried out raids to get students for the forced-labour programme. One KSV member who was put to work in Germany was killed.
K for Katholiek (Catholic)
Many customs still bear the mark of KSV's former Catholic identity. Also, twice a year all the members go to church together.
Love
There has been many a KSV marriage over the years. Smits confirms that even now love often blossoms. 'Especially if you spend a lot of evenings here and have had a few beers.'
Like to know more? Read the Centenary Book, which will be presented during the anniversary activities on 6 and 7 November. See (in Dutch)
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1959: Opening up
Huub Spiertz: 'Cardinal Alfrink gave a speech in the old Heerenstraat bar during the fiftieth anniversary in 1960. He argued that the world was rapidly changing and that the traditional student societies also needed to open up. In the mid 1960s we had discussions about the future because of the new Cantil building. We thought there would be more focus on cultural activities and the debating societies, and that the traditional evenings at the bar would disappear.'

1961: Goodnight, ladies
Martine Jansen: 'There were seven girls in my year and about fifty boys. Most of the boys went home to study after their evening meal, then they would return later in the evening at around eleven o'clock for a drink. But they would send the women out of the bar, singing: "Goodnight ladies, it's time for bed". I thought it was ridiculous but that was the way it was in those days.'

1972: Long-haired riffraff
Marc Roosjen: 'We demonstrated against the introduction of tuition fees and occupied the main building under the slogan "No way they'll pay 1000 guilders". Protesting still had an effect back then. There wasn't much to do in Wageningen - there was only one pub - so it was normal for first years to join a society. We were all long-haired riffraff in T-shirts. There was one person at KSV who wore a tie - he was a kind of historical artefact.'

1994: Boxer shorts with logo
Joost Brouwer: 'The jacket-and-tie thing made a comeback in the 1980s and a lot of debating societies were set up. In my time, each club had braces with its own logo on. Some even had boxer shorts. There was a lot of mucking around between the clubs and we had a lot of fun. There was healthy rivalry with Ceres as well. Once, KSV members dumped the Ceres society furniture on the pavement with a sign saying "closing down sale".'

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