‘We have a corona chief on our board’

| 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 fourth episode: Paradoks, the association of Biomedical Engineering and Technical Medicine.

Paradoks has a lot of first-times this year. First time in a pandemic, first time having no drinks in a two-week span and the first time they have a part-time board. All of these, of course, have to do with the ongoing Corona pandemic. Lisette Masselink, current chair of the Paradoks board, shows us how they went from corona virgins to corona experts.

A part-time board... how is that possible?

‘We were not able to form a full-time board because of Corona. Luckily we found five people willing to be a part-time board for the first half of the academic year. We hope more is possible during the second half of the year, so we can go fulltime. However, we were  surprised by how much was possible for the past weeks. Members can study in front of the association room and walk by for a cup of coffee or something from our ‘streepsysteem’, where members can get snacks which will be striped on their member accounts. This way, they can still see each other from a distance.’

Where does Paradoks get its creativity from regarding online activities?

‘We’ve thought of a few things ourselves, such as a Bingo with only guilty pleasure songs and starting up a podcast. But we also invite members to hand in ideas, as it is hard to think of something new. We’ve already had quite a few online drinks before the summer holiday so we are looking for new input. And we are motivating committees to think of activities. During the first corona wave, for example, the board organised a drink where members could hand in assignments for the board. The board was livestreaming while they performed the tasks the members handed in. Such a simple idea already adds something to having an online drink. We know things can’t be organised physically right now but that does not mean nothing fun is possible.’

Is it still possible to plan big things ahead of time?

‘For some things yes, other things no. Our yearly ski trip is cancelled. The organizing committee now serves a different purpose: as our ‘anti-winter-depression corona committee’ they will set up some coronaproof winter activities. Other events will still be organised. Like the ‘Paratrip’, our yearly trip around Ascension Day. We are careful with reservations and don’t want to spend money on a trip that might be cancelled. Thus we have a corona chief on our board that checks every reservation for a cancellation regulation. We need to think about everything. We want to organise cool events, but we don’t want the risks.’