With a long history in Delft, student rowing club Proteus-Eretes produces world-class rowers but prides itself on being a place where everyone is welcome.
The club was founded in 1947 when several students from the Virgiel student association decided to create a new rowing club in Delft. According to Tim de Bruijn, chemical engineering student and Proteus chairman, the story goes that one of the students had asthma and couldn't compete at the highest level so they saw an opportunity for a different sort of club. Although it started out with a less competitive aim, within a couple of years members were competing in matches.
Now with close to 800 members, De Bruijn said they still maintain the founding philosophy. "One of our core values is that we are a place for everyone," he said. "It's up to you what level of rowing you want to reach." Over the years the club has helped prepare many Olympic athletes. Recently at the Rio Olympics, Proteus had three members competing, with two of them bringing home medals.
But at the same time, De Bruijn said they want people to know how fun it is to be a member of Proteus. Twice a week the club bar is open to its members with food available, and they also host regular parties. Members are encouraged to participate in commissions like a group that prepares a club magazine or one in which people repair the boats. They can even take part in organising one of their annual rowing events, which attract over 2,000 people from all over the country
One of Proteus‘ strengths is their facility said De Bruijn. But not satisfied with the status quo, the club has plans for the future that include an expansion. "We want to be the best," he said. "We're here in Delft, we're engineers, let's use that to our advantage. Let’s be ambitious." With that in mind, Proteus is working on plans to build an indoor water tank so that training is not weather dependent. Student engineers are contributing innovative ideas for what De Bruijn called a "living rowing tank that adapts." They are currently in the design phase and are working with an architect to see how to most efficiently use their current space. They hope to complete the project within the next five years.
Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to register at the beginning of the academic year during introduction week activities (OWee). For more information visit their website.
This is part of our ongoing series Meet The Society which highlights different student groups and societies at TU Delft. If you'd like to suggest an organisation for us to cover, please email us at email@example.com.