Six student associations in Groningen that internationals can join.

The purpose of student associations is to make its members meet, create unforgettable memories and establish friendships. So which big student associations in Groningen can you join?

ESN-Groningen is part of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). ‘Student helping students’ is the underlying motto, achieved by holding 150 events per year: introductory weeks, pub quizzes, fancy dress nights and comedy nights. The common denominator of these activities is to make students meet and have fun. Its headquarter is Pelsterstraat 23, but ESN events are hosted all around Groningen and well beyond. Indeed, almost every month ESN organizes a day-trip to the Netherlands’ gems. Please check the section ‘events’ on their website for event updates.

Just like other student associations, SIB organizes a wide range of social activities, from parties,  introduction camps to trips to other countries. Traditionally, SIB hosts Monday lectures and symposia on international topics, such as politics, economics, religion, human rights and environmental issues. These are usually followed by drinks or a party organized by a committee, dispute or the Board. Other recurrences are the yearly Diplomats Dinner and Dies Natalis Conference. SIB is also famous for their big SIB Trip and the Hitchhike Competition. The SIB Trip consists of ten days spent in a foreign country, during which Institutions such as embassies, ministries, NGOs, NATO sites and OECD are visited. The Hitchhike Competition is a long weekend in November in which SIB-members hitchhike to a European city.

All organizations in this article are big in Groningen, but AIESEC is the largest student-run organization worldwide. In the Netherlands, 300 volunteers are making things work. Since 1948 this movement has encouraged young students to reach their full potential through practical experiences such as entrepreneurial internships, voluntary projects or board positions. At the AIESEC website you can read in detail about the opportunities, feedback and testimonials.

R.S.K.V. Albertus Magnus
In 1896, ten friends founded this Roman Catholic Student Society, naming it after the scientist Albertus Magnus. The standing order of Albertus is ‘non scholae sed vitae’, meaning ‘one does not live to learn, but learns to live’. Albertus have their premises at Brugstraat, a building with monumental status that is easy to spot. It is not simple to join the club, as several pre-registrations rounds and selective challenges are set up to choose a limited amount of new members each year.  Albertus’ mission is ‘to offer security and friendship in a modern and traditional association’. This is achieved by offering both self-development opportunities (committees, debating clubs, fraternities and sororities), and fun occasions, such as the Mega All Saints Fest and First-year Gala.

AEGEE – Groningen
In Groningen more than 360 students of every possible discipline are member of AEGEE. AEGEE hosts a summer university programme, excursions, events and congresses all around Europe, with the goal to offer international student the opportunity to make friends in Groningen and beyond. AEGEE, founded in 1985 in Paris, has expanded to a network of thirteen thousand members, present in 200 cities in over 40 European countries. Being a member in Groningen offers you the right to attend events such as the Siberian Express with AEGEE-Moscow, the hike in Georgia or the parties on Barcelona’s beaches. In Groningen AEGEE members gather for a drink every Wednesday evening at ten o’ clock in De Brouwerij (Poelestraat 27).

Vindicat atque polit
The Latin motto Vindicat atque polit means: maintain and civilize. Vindicat, for short, is the oldest student association in Groningen, founded in 1815 and with a headquarters in the very heart of the city, Grote Markt. The Vindicat building is easy to spot because it is topped by neon letters which read Hooghoudt (which is a Groningen based liquor company). Vindicat has more than two thousand members, making it one of the largest organizations of the city. They organize events all year through, such as the Masters of Darts and the three days lasting Kermesse d’Hiver. ‘Nothing is too crazy and everything can be bigger’ is the underlying idea. In addition to its events and parties, Vindicat has more than 50 committees and 25 sub-associations, giving its members the chance to be ambitious and to develop themselves.