A joint Intro week this year, and no separate Master’s Kickoff

New bachelor’s and master’s students will have one big joint Intro week this year. There will still be a separate department day for master’s students the week after. To accommodate everyone and to respond to the different needs of students, this year’s planning includes more parallel activities. There will be other changes too: a stronger focus on international students, students spending the night on a campsite on campus, and a cultural mini-festival on the Wednesday.

Even with firm details still to come, it's clear that big changes are planned for this year's Intro week, explains project leader of the Intro Jeanette Schoumacher. Amid all the changes, the biggest difference from previous years – leaving the corona period aside – remains the fact that bachelor's and master's students will share an Introduction week. “We've decided to take this route because many of the elements of the bachelor program are also relevant to master's students,” says Schoumacher. “We're also seeing that master's students value the social aspect, which we can more readily provide if we organize one big Introduction. And this year, unlike in other years, we're putting them together in small groups.”

Bringing together the bachelor's and master's Introductions will raise the level of the Intro, believes Schoumacher, and ease the difficulties of organization. She says it took considerable effort to organize a slimmed-down version of Intro week on the heels of the full-scale event. “It's hard on the student associations. We'd always have far fewer volunteers helping out with that second week. By merging the two events, we can concentrate on a single week. It's more efficient, both in terms of work and financially. And that means we can raise the quality of the Intro.”

Parallel programs

Many of the activities will be run jointly, reflecting their relevance to both master's and bachelor's students alike. The big on-campus parties fall into this category. As is customary, the Intro will be divided into themed days. “The Tuesday, for instance, is the educational day. It's held early on when the students are all still fresh. Bachelor's students have their Business Cases and the master's students their Challenge. During the Kickoff, the Challenge was always held on the last day.” So, more parallel programs then. This is not only because bachelor's and master's students have their own separate activities, but also because it's generally what the students want, says Schoumacher.

“It's become apparent from evaluations and conversations with students that their needs have really changed in recent years. On the one hand, students have a stronger need for social contact, one the other, they want more downtime. Last year, as a pilot, we ran a parallel program alongside the party. People could go to Luna to play chess, dance, for gaming and to play other games, that kind of thing. As both the party and the parallel activities were on the campus, they could dip into both as they pleased. It was a hit.” This year students can again make their way to Luna to enjoy some quieter activities.


On the Wednesday, too, students will have more choice. That's the day when a festival will be held on the campus, with three different stages. “It'll have an intercultural flavor. Last year almost half of all the Intro students were international. This year, the programming will have a stronger international focus.” So, for example, as well as having a silent disco and live performances, the festival will provide an opportunity for things like Bollywood music and dance performances. And because international students tend to want more in the way of cultural activities, says Schoumacher, these will play a bigger role in the City Tour, with visits to the city concert hall (Muziekgebouw), Evoluon and the Park Theater now added to the route.

Another new feature will be the campsite on the campus, big enough to accommodate some 300 students. “Students used to sleep in the Sports Centre, and they'd often be turned out early, and have to hang about the campus. Now we've opted for a campsite beside the Dommel, at a location that can take more campers than the Sports Centre, which we'll keep as a backup option.” The campsite will have 24-hour security and won't be freely accessible to people who aren't camping, Schoumacher is keen to emphasize. In the morning, breakfast will be available for the campers.

Later in the year the details of all the activities will become clear. “The Intro committee only started up in January. April 15 is the deadline for submitting activities. Then we'll have a better idea of how things are taking shape.” The joint Intro is a pilot, and it will be followed up by an evaluation. After that, the Education Board will decide whether this new arrangement is here to stay.

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