The Economics and Business Faculty association (EBF) of the University of Groningen is organizing an event which offers students the opportunity to socialize in times of Corona. On Friday the 12th of February EBF invites Pre-Master and Master students to join for a walk along some of the city’s scenic spots.
As the possibilities for social gatherings remain practically nonexistent, the board members of the association came up with a plan to give students a small part of their social lives back through the event.
“We wanted to create an event where people can meet up while respecting the Corona restrictions,” says Jeroen Zuidberg who is the Career Officer of the EBF board. “What is very important to us is that fellow students can see each other.”
Human beings are not made to cope with segregation for a long time. Research has found that prolonged absence of human contact can have far reaching consequences, from having a negative impact on cognitive function to anxiety and panic, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, insomnia, as well as depressive symptoms and post-traumatic stress.
Master student for economic development and globalization Anna Tatár who came to Groningen for her exchange semester from Hungary, feels like Corona has “taken away the Erasmus feeling” of her stay. She expresses that her experience does not live up to what she has heard about the student city before and feels like she is “missing out.”
Before the curfew was introduced Tatár was still able to meet up with her study mates for movie nights. However, now this has also become impossible. “I miss the socializing and feel annoyed and sad. One of my motivations to come here was to meet people from other cultural backgrounds,” she says. “I only experience the part of studying hard but none of the good things.”
In total they expect about 50 attendees joining the city walk. To prevent crowds of people in one place, the event is spread out over the entire day and takes place in five locations.
While they are also hoping to promote their association, the EBF board members primarily aim to give students the chance to catch up with one another and have some meaningful social interaction within the limits posed by the lockdown. “We hope to inspire people with this. Don’t think ‘There’s a lockdown, I can’t do anything’. Look at the measures and experiment with what is possible within them,” says Zuidberg.