Less participants in the Kick-In

| Rik Visschedijk

The Kick-In attracts fewer and fewer participants. The percentage decreased by eight percent in three years. A 'problem analysis' done by the Student Union shows that not all new students find the program attractive.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

There is also 'strong criticism' on the behavior of some ‘doegroepouders’ (group leaders). These findings are in a recent memorandum from the Student Union (SU). The student organization want to ask various advisory bodies at the UT how the Kick-In can be improved, because fewer and fewer new students participate in both the curricular and the extra-curricular part of the introduction period. Last year that was 78 percent and 71 percent respectively, an average decrease of 8 percent in three years.

Data research

This decline could be related to the growing group of internationals in the UT Bachelor's programs. ‘But we do not know for sure,’ says Elin Biel, chairman of the Kick-In committee. 'We do see that the population at the UT is increasingly diverse. Think of internationals, but also exchange and ambitious students. We suspect that the intro is not that attractive for these groups, because they think it’s all about partying. But these are our assumptions. In the coming period we will collect data so that we can conduct research into who is not participating and why.’

Behavior of group leaders

The behavior of a number of doegroepouders is a notable bottleneck. ‘We hear of unwanted elements in some presentations of these group leaders,’ says Biel. 'And sometimes things go wrong during the Kick-In. For example when crossing a street when the traffic light is on red. But enforcement is difficult, we are not police officers. It is impossible to pre-screen all parents, but we have do have clear rules. And generally speaking, all kiddos must feel at home with the group they choose.’

A more inclusive Kick-In is not the same as touting the intro, says SU board member Sietse van Mossel. 'Times are changing. We are dealing with a different, more diverse, target group. Certain behavior just does not belong in the introduction.’

'Find out where we can improve’

These findings do not mean that the Kick-In will be rigorously transformed, as the Student Union indicated earlier. Biel confirms that again. ‘The participants rated the intro with an 8 last year. We now want to broaden that evaluation by not only asking participants about their experiences, but the entire UT community.’ Adjustments to the Kick-In will therefore not be implemented overnight. Biel: 'The intro is great fun. We first want to collect all information and then find out where we can improve.’