'The students were just happy and positive'

| Stan Waning

Only an almost demolished tent and piled up barricades remind of the Kick-In. Now that the freshmen are attending their first lectures, Julia Hubbert, chair of the committee, looks back on an exciting introduction. 'The atmosphere on the campus, that is what I remember'.


Was it manageable to give the freshmen the best possible introduction?

Hubbert: 'Definitely, we did everything we could. The municipality played a big part in this. Usually, everything concerning permits has to be in place eight weeks prior to the event, but on this occasion, we were still able to change when measures changed. This way, we were able to put on great events. The opening market was especially important, because it is the first impression for first-year students, but it went perfectly.'

Was the coronavirus a game-breaker during the Kick-In?

'Not for students, but for us and the crew it gave extra stress and challenges. During the introduction, we adjusted the Testen voor Toegang-system, because it turned out to be inefficient. After that, the system ran faster, without losing precision. We wanted to make participants think as little as possible about corona and we succeeded. The crew sometimes had to be a bit strict, but on the whole that worked well.'

What was disappointing?

'The weather, although that could have been much worse. The sports day and the first day for master students it rained a lot. Only two events, the world record attempt and the sports barbecue, had to be cancelled. I can't think of anything else. About two months ago, we had no idea and now everything is over. It still feels surreal.'

Would you do anything differently next time?

'It would have been nice if we had had clarity on measures earlier. Changing things two weeks in advance causes a lot of stress. Especially at the festival location, we had to change everything at the last minute because the maximum number of people was 750. The crew did a great job, but it would have been nice to have had more time. The most important thing is that the first years did not notice a thing.'

Did the theme 'Expand your Horizon' come back during the Kick-In?

'Definitely. You see so much more when you are on campus. Last year, freshmen had to register online for something. Some events were full and you don't see everything. But now, for instance on the sports day or during the opening market, everyone could broaden their horizons. I saw so many enthusiastic students at the climbing wall. That was the great advantage of having fewer restrictions.'

What was the highlight of the Kick-In?

'The storming of the Bastille. We surprised the committee of 2020 by doing it together with them, because they couldn't do the storming last year. For a long time we did not know whether it could go ahead. We had to wait for the GGD advice, but with precise planning it could go ahead. It gave a great feeling.'

What were the reactions like?

'The students were very happy and positive. The crew also gave us constructive feedback. The workload was very high, especially because we had to make a lot of last-minute adjustments. And crew members who spent hours on end at Testen voor Toegang - not a pleasant task - were not very enthusiastic either. For this reason in particular, we are more grateful than ever to the crew. In the coming weeks, all kinds of evaluations will follow.'

What do you remember about this Kick-In?

'The atmosphere on the campus. Everyone was open to discovering and making new friends. The campus feeling that had been gone for so long, of drinking a beer together, you felt that all week. Even now. That will always stay with me.'


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