Science - June 4, 2009

WHAT WILL LOSING UNITAS MEAN FOR US?

Last week the Unitas youth club announced that, after 74 years, it will now be closing its doors due to financial problems. The grapevine is already buzzing with rumours of DJs being fought over and the club reopening. One thing is certain: over the years Unitas has made its mark on Wageningen nightlife.

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‘If I go to an open party, nine times out of ten it will be at Unitas, and I regularly have lunch there too’, says Bas van de Berg, a third year student of molecular life sciences. ‘It’s a pity for alternative students—they’ll have nowhere to go now.’

Laura van Voorst Vader, in the fourth year of the molecular life sciences course, says: ‘The introduction week parties are always very good, but for open parties I often feel it’s just that bit too far to cycle. Culturally, the range that’s on offer is getting smaller and smaller. Unitas used to have original parties, like the now internationally famous Bassball and also Fingerlickin’ – what a wacky party that is!’

Tim Driedonks, Unitas treasurer, is very disappointed too. ‘The nightlife here is getting very one-sided and the members are losing their space for their hobbies – I learned to DJ here.’ He doesn’t think it’s true that other clubs are fighting over the Unitas DJs. ‘There are talks with ’t Gat and Ceres about throwing Fuser Invites parties there. I think it's amazing that you hear so much talk of it restarting, because that really is not on the cards. But if the Unitas crowd start organizing informal parties themselves, I’ll be there.’

Professor Martin Kropff, the rector of Wageningen University, thinks it's a pity Unitas is going to close down. ‘The news came as a surprise to me too. Unitas is a youth club, but it’s an important organization for students too. It has a particular target group, and is of course one of the nightspots for a lot of Wageningen students. The university contributes through a number of executive board grants. There’s a lot going on in Wageningen for students. You can’t tell who will fill the gap that Unitas leaves behind.’

Erik-Jan Frankhuizen, owner of the café 't Gat, might be interested. 'Our numbers have been going down in the last few years, and it’s quiet in Wageningen at weekends and midweek. We’re looking into whether we can take over some popular Unitas evenings, like Fuser Invites and Fingerlickin’.’
Arnold Looijen, Ceres member and chairman of Disco Fellisco, sees new opportunities for his own disco, although he doesn’t need the Unitas DJs there. ‘It would be a good thing to get more non-members along to our disco. Fellisco has enough good DJs so we are not out to attract more. But we are talking with Fuser about providing a venue for the Fuser Invites parties.’

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