All 3,700 tickets sold

Code of conduct set to make introduction week safer

Foto: DUB
Photo: DUB

As usual, the 26th edition of Utrecht's Introduction Week (UIT) started with an opening show at TivoliVredenburg, where freshers were also greeted by UU's Vice-President, Margot van der Starre, and Utrecht Mayor Sharon Dijksma.

All 3,700 tickets to the event have been sold, according to its spokesperson, Olivia de Gans. About 70 percent of buyers are freshers from Utrecht University, according to her estimate. Twenty percent are set to pursue an undergraduate degree at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU) and the remaining ten percent will be pursuing vocational education (MBO). This is only the second time that the latter is allowed to participate. 

Most activities will take place at Transwijk Park and the international campus, where University College Utrecht (UCU) is based. The event aims to help first-year students familiarise with the new surroundings. A group of mentors will introduce them to all the hotspots around the city. There will also be an information market with stands from several organisations, which is set to help them with matters like housing and side jobs. On Tuesday, the students will attend a similar market about sports and get acquainted with all the student associations in town. Wednesday will begin at the Breakfast Club, where a Cultural Festival will offer them the opportunity to dance and participate in workshops. The event ends on Thursday, with an outdoor festival. 

Although the programme resembles that of previous years, there are a few activities that are making a debut at this year's UIT. De Gans: "This is the first time we will have a conference, an outdoor cinema and a sing-along. A sing-along is like karaoke: a band will be playing live and the audience will be able to sing along by following the lyrics on a screen. We've also filled Dom Square with beanbags and chairs to allow first-year students to relax and watch a movie. As for the conference, the theme will be The Future and the lectures will cover topics related to technology, health and society. The list of speakers includes professors from UU and HU."

100 percent vegetarian
UIT's 2023 edition is based on the values of sustainability and social safety. That's why all the food served will be vegetarian and there will be a "circular" cup system. De Gans explains: "Each student will get a goodie bag at the beginning of the event. This bag contains two coins, in case they lose one. If they do end up losing both, they'll have to pay one euro for the cup the next time they buy a drink. In the end, all cups must be returned to the bar. Once UIT ends, an external company will be in charge of recycling them." 

Not tolerated
Last but not least, this year's UIT is the first one with a code of conduct and an external confidant. "The code of conduct includes all rules that we hope students will respect, such as treating everyone respectfully and not touching others without consent. Inappropriate behaviours will not be tolerated."

Last year's UIT already had a confidant but, this time around, the role is filled by someone external to Utrecht University, the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences and other educational institutions. "If they go through anything that makes them uncomfortable, the students can write an e-mail to the confidant and schedule an appointment with them to figure out how to react to the situation. Does the victim want to take matters to the police or not?"

Luckily, it looks like the weather will not be a nuisance to this year's introduction week. All UIT days are set to be sunny, with temperatures around 24 to 26 degrees Celsius. The weather is also expected to stay mild at night: it will not get colder than 15 degrees.