In about a month one of the most high expected events of Maastricht takes off: the INKOM. It is the festival of students in Maastricht. Traditionally the event focuses on new students. One of the biggest student associations created it in order to get more new members. During the years this evolved to a festival where all aspects of studying in Maastricht were presented. The university started backing it up and currently it is one of the most successful introduction week of the Netherlands.
However as the INKOM started to move in the direction of becoming a general introduction week a discrepancy started to emerge. On one side you have
(most of) the traditional student associations and sororities/fraternities the people who still see the INKOM as a way to get members. On the other side you have those who see INKOM as a general introduction into student life of Maastricht.
The INKOM has been somewhat of a hot topic throughout this year. How come? The current WGI (the people behind INKOM) refused to change the policy of mixed INKOM groups. They (and so is the university) are heavily in favor of having several nationalities per INKOM group. This way they believe that integration amongst people from different backgrounds will be easier. The INKOM is one of the first moments where new students meet other people, which is accompanied by friendship, drinking, a bit of culture as well as heavily relying on the well dispensed free condoms for those who seek more than friendship. A good moment to start integrating wouldn’t you say.
However not everyone is in favor of the mixed groups. Some people openly state that they are against mixed INKOM groups. I can imagine that (yet won’t agree with) the traditional associations complaining. They see it as a week to gather as much fresh meat and battle to see who has the most gruesome hazing period. Less Dutch members in their groups (they are overrepresented during INKOM) means less first years to run errands for them for the entire year. However I don’t see why anyone who has some brain cells left would think that getting back to the old system of separated groups would be a good plan. It will further enhance the ‘group’ feeling we have in Maastricht Dutchies, Germans and other). I know people like to stick to people of their own ‘nation’ because it is easier to get into contact with them and feel a bit more confident.
However, avoiding people with other backgrounds will be quite hard in Maastricht with the most international student population of the Netherlands. Why avoid other nationalities when sooner or later you will run in to them after all. I therefore salute the INKOM for sticking to the mixed groups, as well as making their program more accessible for everyone.
This is on a personal account and I can understand that people will disagree. If you do so, please let me know. What do you think? Should we have mixed groups or not?
I was born and raised in a town called Geleen, sited between the hills of the Dutch province of Limburg. I'm a 25 year old Psychology Master student and a member of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). I will enjoy shedding my critical light on life itself and share it with you while I am at it.