Photographer:Fotograaf: Philip Driessen
Should you become a member of a student society or not? For Dutch students, this is an easier question to answer than for foreign students. They often have a brother, sister or friend who is a member, so they know what to expect. To give foreign students some more insight, Observant has created a list of what it means to be a member of a society.
Every student who wants to become a member of a student society, must undergo an introduction period. This is usually a few days camping. The exact programmes of these days differ per society. At Koko everyone is free to do as they please. There is a fixed programme, but if you want to skip a section, you can do so.
At the other three large societies - Circumflex, Saurus and Tragos - the programme is compulsory. The objective is to get to know each other as well as the society. Part of that may be learning about the history of the organisation or the names of the members of the senate. The programme is always presented to the university before the introduction period, so nothing illegal happens. Alcohol abuse is absolutely forbidden. First-year students only drink if they want to. This actually applies to everyone, throughout the year. Someone who orders a coca-cola at the bar won't get funny looks. Members who are drunk will not be served any more alcohol. Outside the society premises, strict rules apply. This is to prevent a disturbance being caused in the neighbourhood. Those who break the rules, are suspended for a few weeks.
The introduction period is followed by the flirting period. The newcomers are given a few weeks to become acquainted with the fraternities/sororities. These are groups of friends within the society who do things together. At this stage, new members are already in a year club or - in the case of rowing society Saurus - in a team. After the flirting period and the social drinks, everyone chooses his/her favourite fraternity/sorority (not compulsory) and the latter look to see who they want as members. To become a member of a fraternity or sorority, you first have to go through an aspirant period (A-period) (except with Koko). The exact nature of this, differs per fraternity/sorority.
As a first-year member, you are obliged to carry out a few services. This could be delivering parcels or spending an afternoon in the bar cleaning. Doing these jobs is necessary because the societies run on volunteers and there is no money to hire personnel to do them. Circumflex and Tragos members have dinner with their year club or fraternity/sorority every week.
Apart from that, the amount of time members spend on their society, is up to them. Those who are only members of the society, will spend less time at the club than members of a fraternity/sorority, competition team or committee. Committees organise activities. Each society has a number of annual activities. Saurus, of course, has rowing competitions. Tragos organises a large gala and has regular debates. Circumflex hosts a three-day party called In Mosae, attended by students from across the country. Koko is responsible for a number of cultural activities, such as Stukafest, the Student Room Festival.
In addition to the large student societies, Maastricht has 23 independent fraternities/sororities. They are grouped in the umbrella organisation ‘Onafhankelijk Maastricht’ (Independent Maastricht). These groups regularly work together, but are not part of an organisation. Each group has its own character. Most of the independent groups also organise annual activities, such as a student miming show or a football tournament.
Founded: 10 June 1971
Number of members: 700
Clubhouse: De Kaap, Capucijnenstraat 120
Maastricht Student Rowing Association Saurus
Founded: 27 May 1983
Number of members: 350
Clubhouse: Saurus, Statensingel 15
Boat house: Bosscherweg 24
Founded: 17 Augustus 1976
Number of members: 650+
Clubhouse: de Botermijn, Gebr. Hermansstraat 11-13
Founded: 11 March 1982
Number of members: 500
Clubhouse: Fort Koning Willem I, Kastanjelaan 66