For many students, it's their first chance to get to know Saxion, their fellow students and in some cases even the city of Apeldoorn: the introductory week, or HOI week. What can we expect this year? We catch up with chairperson of the Introductory Week board, Stijn Huijsmans, to find out what’s in store.
Hi, Stijn. How’s everything coming along?
'We just have a few things left to sort out. I’m in contact with the municipality about the permit, which we’re still waiting for. That relates mainly to safety matters. And we’re still talking to a company that’s providing a security guard for the barbecue. They have to put forward a solid plan to ensure safety.'
When did you start all the preparations?
'We officially started in March. At that time, however, the board was not yet fully up and running, so we actually got started much later than Enschede and Deventer. It helps that we only have to fill one day, but it’s much easier if you can plan everything earlier. We had the disadvantage that the board wasn’t yet complete.
Where did you start?
'With the permit, but that’s not been finalised yet. Then we thought: what are we going to do? We decided to use last year’s programme. So we’re starting with the lunch again and then we’ll do a scavenger hunt in Apeldoorn, to get to know the city. We’ve come up with some fun tasks for that, for example, they have to take photos of certain places or with passers-by. Once they’ve completed all the tasks, we’ll announce the winning team. Haha, no, they don’t get credits for their programmes – although I’m sure they’d really like that!'
What will be different from last year?
'Not very much. For example, we’ve used a lot of the same suppliers. The atmosphere at the barbecue deteriorated a bit last year once everyone had finished eating, so we are trying to organise some more activities during the barbecue as well. They’ll be able to play games and there’ll be more to do.'
Did you get any feedback?
'Only what we happened to hear, really. The owner of Teun, where the afterparty is being held, told us that last year she was called to see if she could open an hour earlier, to help get the atmosphere going again after the barbecue. The rest was well documented and we’ve had some contact with the previous board. We took all that on board.'
What is it like for you as the organisers, since you only have one day for the introduction?
'You have to make a lot of choices about what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do. And everything has to fit into the programme. I think you can do more fun things if you have two days. For example, we wanted to play laser quest but that’s twenty minutes by bus, which means you'd lose two hours in total and during this day we don't have the time to do that. You also don’t want people to be hanging around waiting all the time; everyone should have something to do. That’s the biggest challenge. In terms of organisation, it’s the same as the other introductory weeks because you often need the same materials.'
What can we expect this year at the introductory week in Apeldoorn?
'I think it’ll be a fun day and at least you’ll hit the ground running when you start your studies, because you’ll already know people. The place isn’t completely new to you anymore and you’ll already have met everyone at least once, while enjoying a few beers. I think that’s also the point of the introductory week: to meet people before you start studying.'
What will be the highlights?
'I think the scavenger hunt is going to be a lot of fun. I’m hoping for good weather, as that’ll make a world of difference. I think it helps you get to know each other better. The afterparty also promises to be a great night. That’s at Teun, and the owner has organised everything there. She’s a former Saxion student – she graduated in Hotel Management in Apeldoorn – so she's very enthusiastic about having the party there. The afterparty was also there last year, and it was a huge success. Anyone who wants to party can head there!'
At what point do you consider the day to have been a success?
'If everyone’s had a good time and says: I’ve had a great day and night and I got home safely on Thursday. If they’ve got to know their fellow students and are looking forward to starting their degree programmes on Monday – surrounded by nice people!'
What’s it like for you guys to organise this?
'Sometimes it’s a bit of a puzzle, and you think: what are we doing exactly? Also because we are all new and it took a while to get the board up and running at the start. Every now and again we had to stop and ask ourselves: who’s supposed to be doing what? I think the best part is yet to come: the day itself. From 19 August we’ll be working every day to make sure that everything is in place and that everything can be used. On the day itself we’ll be starting at 07:00 and working until late in the evening, so everything can be cleaned up first thing the following morning. I think it will be a very busy day and we won’t get much sleep.'
Will you also be joining in the fun and enjoy a few beers?
'I’m sure we will! We’re really looking forward to it. Just a few more weeks to go now.'