The outbreak of the coronavirus will have major consequences on the OWee. The event will definitely go ahead, assures the OWee Board, but how is still up in the air. The Board is currently working on plans for a digital introduction week.
That it will have major consequences is clear. It is during the OWee that new students come into contact with TU Delft student life for the first time. It is the opportunity for student associations to recruit new members. “It is a must,” says External Commissioner of K.S.V. Sanctus Virgilius (Virgiel) Samuel Bronkhorst, “especially in financial terms as without new members we miss out both on membership fees and the money that they spend in the bar and on meals.”
‘A smaller batch of new members has long term consequences’
For Delano Flipse, Secretary of the Delftsche Studenten Bond (DSB), too, there are uncertain times ahead. “The OWee is the only time that we can recruit new members. We receive a lot of registrations from first year students who still have little experience of student life. They experience the association’s atmosphere during the OWee and usually become members.” Flipse says that it will be a major challenge to recruit members during an online OWee, but he is mostly afraid for the long-term consequences. “A smaller batch of new members has financial implications and it will be a huge challenge to fill the roles of the Board and committees.”
In the meantime, the associations are not sitting still. “We need to be creative,” says Wieke Boshuizen. As a Board Member of the S.W.V. Plankenkoorts surf association, she hopes to interest as many students in joining her association from their homes as she can. “Hopefully we can then go outdoors together when this period of social distancing is behind us.”
D.S.R.V. Laga is taking a different tack and is working with other rowing associations in the Netherlands to recruit new members. “We will promote rowing digitally,” says External Commissioner Bart Asberg. D.S.V. Sint Jansbrug hopes to interest first year students in Sint Jansbrug through contact with current association members.
The familiarisation period that usually directly follows the OWee is uncertain. New members at S.W.V. Plankenkoorts usually get to know each other at a surfing weekend at the end of August, but even this will not go ahead. The association hopes to hold it in September.
Virgiel is more optimistic and is already talking about a one-and-a-half metre KMT (familiarisation). Bronkhorst says that “it is important that new members learn how the association works and fits together. The KMT creates a feeling of solidarity and unity. We are now thinking about how to best arrange the KMT.”
Volleyball association D.S.V.V. Punch is the most relaxed at the moment. ‘We assume that the introduction training will go ahead in September. Should this not be the case, the season will simply start later,’ wrote the Board in an email.