The year is 1997, and an incumbent student at the University of Groningen is run over by a truck while drunk and asleep in the grass. This was the result of a hazing ritual they signed up for in hopes of making “friends for life” only to end up dead. More than twenty years after this incident a group of students from the same university return home from a ski vacation in Tirol, a vacation that went ahead despite the rising threat of the Covid-19 virus.
The setting is the second floor of the library on a Friday night, I’m not wearing shoes and having a beer. There is a math equation being dotted on a whiteboard next to me and a group of girls are eating some Mcdonald's happy meals in the corner. No, this isn’t the average student accommodation, this is the UB at the Singel. A rock of anarchy amid an ocean of exam stress, a small student-driven world of its own.
When high school students search for their future university options, they'll most likely end up on a 'top universities' list to estimate how good their options will be compared to others. Especially since these undergraduates are usually out-of-country people who can't really make a personal guess as to how a university will turn out for them.
For so long, universities have been considered to be the real producers of knowledge, monolithic institutions with access to the ‘meaning’ of life. In pursuing meaning, we have learnt to question everything around us. Nowadays, we can, too, question what we know about the knowledge that we consume on a daily basis; what do we know about the products that we consume? In many cases, we will have to face the fact that we do not know. In others, we will have to face the fact that not everybody is willing to know.
On the 17th of February former YOUvA Today writer Matthew Uy published an article detailing a critique of the P.C. Hoofthuis, one of, if not the most divisive building the university has to offer. The article consisted of the usual flak the PC endures some but not all of which are: it’s ugly, the way the space is laid out is confusing, and it’s cramped. I’m here to offer a rebuttal, not only is the PC one of the best buildings the university of Amsterdam has to offer, but it might also be the last pillar left standing in the fight against the commercialization of the UvA
If I got a Euro for every time I've been asked if women could drive in my home country, I'd probably be able to afford a car. Being a Lebanese student at the UvA, I've experienced a fair share of implicit racism when telling others I have an Arab background. It has put me in difficult situations in which I felt like that aspect of my identity was something of less importance to my White counterparts. While these racist interactions vary, they more or less follow the same story each time: stereotypical Western views and comments on Arab cultures. Many fellow Arab students have encountered similar experiences of everyday racism from their peers at our university. Everyday racism was coined by Philomena Essed and highlights the lived experience in which structural forces of racism are upheld by everyday interactions. Here, I open up a short conversation about everyday Arab racism at the UvA with stories shared by some of its students.
I had never spent much time at the Roeterseiland campus until my classes started taking place there during my last academic year. One day, I decided to grab some lunch at the campus cafeteria in building E. I was met with a wide assortment of foods, ranging from vegan and vegetarian to meat- or fish-based options. But, that wasn't the main thing that stood out to me. It was the number of international food options it offered — meals from Pakistan, Lebanon, Vietnam and Mexico. The colours of the different country flags painted the scene of the cafeteria so beautifully.
On March 26th, CREA hosted Classic Meets Jazz, a concert by the Amsterdam Student Big Band (ASBB). What makes a classic a classic? What makes music classical? When did jazz unmeet classical music? And most importantly, who decided what is considered a classic? These are not just questions that have shaped history, but rather, sentences lurking in the silence of music culture. In the case of a jazz big band, rarely there is space for silence. However, the silence in Classic meets Jazz was the lack of representation of the very unrooted roots of this genre: the convergence of plenty of different cultures with the desire to speak up against racial discrimination.