In a reply to the article ‘Traditional student associations less popular’ in the Observant of October 6th, the first thing that came to mind was ‘Hey, where are the sports associations?’.
In the piece I am talking about, the comparison was made between the traditional student associations (gaining less new members) on the one hand and MSRV Saurus (experiencing an increase in new members) on the other hand. But actually, Saurus can only partly be considered as one of the traditional associations, for Saurus is basically more similar to the various sports associations. And thus, they are more likely to follow the trend of the sports associations, and not that of the traditional associations.
The last few years, there has been a steady growth in the sale of sports’ cards, but also in the number of students who are members of one of the many students’ sports associations. It would thus be a most painful thing to neglect them entirely, especially when one also takes into consideration that the number of international students in the sports associations is comparable (even a bit higher) to the percentage of international students in Maastricht as a whole.
Which leads me to the second part of the aforementioned piece, namely the language barrier there exists between international students and associations. In the case of the sports associations, this language barrier is less visible, especially since there is such a large percentage of international students that it would be plain rude to converse only in Dutch. In general, everything is done in both English and Dutch, with the usual exception of some German mails.
And, as a wise man once said, ‘Sport is a universal language. At its best it can bring people together, no matter what their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status.’
Gerben de Jong - MUSST