Student Un-Greening

I had a bit of a eureka moment last night as I was discussing the student societies here in town with a local and he described the initiation as ontgroening. I was happy to realize that I had both properly heard the Dutch word and that I was able to understand the meaning of it. Ont is a Dutch prefix similar to the English un- prefix. Groen is the Dutch word for green. So ontgroening literally translates to ungreening. When you consider that someone young/inexperienced is considered green, an initiation process makes sense, because they are un-greening this person.

All of that is a long way of saying that the students are back in town. Today begins the UIT2010 (Utrechtse Introductie Tijd/Utrecht Introduction Time). We’ve been watching parent/child combos unloading cars all weekend as they move in to their new homes. Now the parties begin. I’ve been hearing music and a lot more voices all afternoon and they’ll be continuing all week. The various student organizations near us have been dropping off various explanatory letters to let us know the full schedule of events. Forewarned is forearmed, I guess!

All sorts of inflatable figures, pools and stages are going up over on Lucasbolwerk. The photo above is from our first year here when they had a ferris wheel. I’ll be heading out tomorrow to get shots of the latest fun and games. Hopefully it remains just fun and games. Every year, a few students die as a result of the unofficial hazing. Some of the student associations here, although often mixed-gender, are similar to the fraternities and sororities in the U.S., with many of the same pros and cons of each. I enjoyed the open parties when I was at university, but never did like the idea of actually joining. Some of us had a running joke about a fake sorority, using the Greek letters to serve as an acronym for something along the lines of not giving a damn about joining. I’m hoping some of my friends will remember what the pseudo sorority name was, because it’s starting to drive me crazy.

So if you’re heading off to your first year at university, congratulations and good luck, and don’t do anything stupid! Oh, and buy used books and use protection if you’re having sex. That was the advice I received (and followed).

6 thoughts on “Student Un-Greening

  1. Ungreening. I thought I was reading Engrish instead of English. But it does make sense.

    On most universities, the introduction starts, but it’s no student association thing. It’s mostly organised by the universities to let new students learn the important things about their new city, university and classmates. There is also time to get to learn student associations, but their initiation starts after the classes start. And a lot don’t do the ungreening thing at all. (and it’s quite a few years since anybody died during an ungreening. It’s good it’s beter supervised now.)

    Introduction mostly means a lot of fun. Even for older years, as you get your chances to meet new people and catch up over the vacation.

    p.s. Enschede has the best university 😉

    • Oh, I do understand that it’s the university that organizes the official introduction events and not the student associations. It’s just that we see some of the events specifically organized by a couple of the nearby student associations. It really is a great idea for the universities to organize something like this. Definitely a great way to get to know the city if you’re new to it and to meet more of your fellow students. Too bad they’re getting such lousy weather this week.

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