What are the biggest changes compared to last year?
Amber Luesink: “The President Forum has changed to the Fraternity Forum. Instead of the Presidents, we are now inviting the external Commissioners. The Presidents don’t know each other very well and we hope that we have a more interactive discussion with the external Commissioners. They see each other every week.”
Jeroen Koot: “But the biggest change this year is that all bachelor students can attend the OWee, including the internationals. Last year we noticed that after the introduction of the faculties, the international and the Dutch students did not mingle. We considered the option of doing the complete OWee in English, but decided not to. TU Delft is a Dutch university, so we also want to have the programme in Dutch.”
What are you going to do in English?
Amber Luesink: “We have a complete English programme for the English language studies, so Applied Earth Sciences, Nanobiology, Computer Science and Aerospace. The central opening and the fraternity forum are completely in English for them. At the cantus, we mix English and Dutch language songs, because it’s also nice for internationals to hear some Dutch songs.”
That sounds like a big operation!
Jeroen Koot: “We look at it as a big challenge, yes. We had to think about every little detail. We informed the fraternities early, so they can share their information in English as well. Twenty-five per cent of our communication is in English. We translated all the information of the BINAS, with a lot of help from the UvA Amsterdam. Plus we added extra information about what fraternities expect from international students.”
This year, you are also organising ‘Sustainable Thursday’. In what way do you incorporate sustainability in the OWee?
Amber Luesink: “At registration, we opted to have the programme in an app instead of printed out. The BINAS is shortened by one section. There was always too much food in the crates for lunch. Now we have a buffet where students can pick their own food. We bring the leftovers to food banks in the region. Besides that, the OWee Courant made room for OWeeTV, where you watch the daily reports online instead of reading printed paper.”
Jeroen Koot: “On Sustainable Thursday, we want to break the world record in ‘eating vegan kebabs’, something that has never been done before. Everyone is welcome to eat some free vegan kebabs, even if you are not part of the OWee: the whole city is invited.”
What else do you do for the neighbourhood?
Amber Luesink: “To avoid any disturbance, we have talked to all kinds of Delft residents at special information evenings. We got a lot of tips and information on these evenings as well. Besides that, we’ve sent letters about our own events to local residents. We changed the location of the opening party from the Market Square in town to the parking lot next to the university library. The whole city is invited to the opening party as well.”
How did you get the idea to organise the OWee?
Jeroen Koot: “I was a participant and a mentor twice, so I became increasingly involved with the organisation. I liked it very much. It’s very diverse. We’ve got members and non-members on the Board, so we are mixed and independent.”
Amber Luesink: “When I took part in the OWee, it was very cool to be in the organisation. And it is! It’s nice to see behind the scenes of the OWee. How does an organisation like this work? You talk to a lot of different people and we work with at least 100 different groups.”
How do you like it?
Amber Luesink: “I have learned so much over the months. I have developed enormously in terms of managing and presenting new plans. As you work together with other fraternities, you look beyond your own club. It’s a unique organisation, working with all those different groups. And our task is to map all those different groups as best as possible.”
Jeroen Koot: “It’s very nice that last years’ board drops by every week. You can really count on them. Other former board members also help from time to time. It’s a real family. And the work stops when you are at your peak – that’s nice too. We may work all summer, but it’s ‘work hard, play hard!’ The week after the OWee we have to finish the last things, and then the whole board is going on holiday.”
This week Delta will regularly feature the OWee. Keep an eye on our website to read about: how the fraternities handle international students; an interview with two members of the first OWee Board (45 years ago!); how to cook a nice meal for hundreds of people; a real OWee marriage; and our daily visit to a student house.