‘The restrictions at the university are too harsh’

| Natasja Schaafsma

Many UT students do it, want to do it or have done it in the past. Of course, we're talking about a board year. But what if your board year coincides with a global pandemic? In this series, U-Today asks study associations how they deal with the ‘new normal’. This third episode: Alembic, the study association for Chemical Science & Engineering.

The board of Alembic exists of six gents, who have all just been hammered in as the full-time board of 2020-2021. Not only does Alembic have a fresh board, but they also have to get used to their new surroundings in Carré. The so-called ‘Homebase’ is shared with study associations Arago and Astatine. Chairman of Alembic, Gerard Groot Obbink tells about their experiences as a corona-board in the Homebase.

Are you able to welcome members to your new home?

‘Luckily, yes! It took a while before we got certainty regarding how many people can be in which room, and who is responsible. Last week Monday this was finally clear: we can have two board members working in the boardroom and four in the member's room. In addition to this, a few members can work in the member's room and grab a coffee or tea. Sadly, there’s a leak one floor below, so we can’t use the water. Since we share the Homebase with two other associations, we can hop by Arago to steal some water for coffee a few times a day. The only thing we can’t do right now is the dishes, which is of course very, very sad. We are delighted with the Homebase, it allows our members to study here and come by the association. Besides this, the lab sessions are also held in this building, so members come by to drop their bags here. So we still see a lot of faces, and members can also see us!’

Have you still been able to organise events before the new restrictions were announced?

‘Sadly, we had three drinks planned, which had to be cancelled because of those restrictions. But before the restrictions went up, we had a really nice day filled with activities. All first years had an exam until 15:00, so directly after that we held a committee market. A lot of people showed up, since we had planned a fun first-years activity after the committee market. In a distanced gaming event, we mixed up the do-groups, as that was not possible during the Kick-In. And as a closing activity, we held a drink where 80 people showed up. Outside behind the Horst, and at 1.5m distance of course. It felt good to see familiar faces again. Even graduated students showed up.’

What future problems are you dealing with?

‘It is hard to decide how to handle a corona case when you are not yet sure it is a corona case. Last week I had a cold and had trouble breathing. I immediately locked myself up in my room and arranged for a test, which came back negative in the end. Luckily. But I was very stressed – I had been in the member's room and went to a couple of meetings, what if I had spread corona? It is hard to decide on what to do when someone has corona complaints but has not yet had the result of the test back. When do you take action? When the result is back? But isn’t it too late then? It is hard to tell.

Besides this, we want to organise activities again but it is quite difficult. We are going to organise online gaming evenings, and want to organise drinks again. But we’ll have to wait for the next press conference to hear what’s possible. For now, we’re looking into external locations such as de Vluchte as it is easier to organise something off-campus. The restrictions at the university are too harsh.’

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