For many new Kraket members, it may be difficult to imagine what Kraket looked like ten years ago. Believe it or not, Econometrics as a study has not always been this well-known, which was directly reflected in the size of our association. To learn more about what Kraket was like in an earlier stage and to find out what has changed, we interviewed Vivian Lodewijckx and Ron Stoop from the 38th board and with Tristan de Keyzer and Amber Politiek from the 49th and current board.
Vivian Lodewijckx was secretary of the 38th board and has participated in various committees like the Ecotribune and Study Trip committee. She also helped revive Extrie, which is Kraket’s alumni association. After graduating in 2013, Vivian worked at Transavia for a few years. She currently works as a consultant at Zenz Technologies, which develops software for airlines.
Ron Stoop studied Econometrics from 2006 until 2013. Together with Vivian, Antoinette and Yoeri he was on the 38th board as treasurer apart from participating in committees like the SBF, LEVT and Lustrum Committee, among others. After his studies, Ron worked at TBA for a year, and eventually joined Finaps, where he is still working today.
Tristan de Keyzer is secretary and education officer of the current board. He is currently doing his masters. Tristan participated in the First Year, “Wie is de Mol?”, and Forum committee. This year, Tristan is supervisor from the board of the SECTOR committee.
Amber Politiek is a second-year student and the treasurer of the current board. Her committee CV is not that long yet, as she only just started studying, but she was a member of the First Year committee. In addition to being Kraket’s treasurer, Amber is also treasurer of the LOES, the National Institute of Study Associations for Econometrics.
When asked about Kraket’s image throughout time, almost everyone agrees that it has become a lot more professional. “This is quite clear from the way the website looks now and how activities are promoted,” Vivian mentions. Ron adds that the current logo - which was introduced around three years ago - also adds to Krakets more business-like appearance. Ron: “Several boards tried to change the logo, but that always incited a lot of resistance during General Assemblies.”
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in 2021 where all first year students would be able to sign up for the LED. - Tristan
With around 350 members in 2010, compared to 1100 now, the difference is very clear. Despite this and despite Kraket’s less professionalised status in these earlier years, there was still a range of formal activities, Ron confirms. “We already organised inhouse days and the Caseday. There was also the LED of course.” There was no Forum or Diversity and Development Day yet, which meant that there were no formal activities specifically for first and second year students. Vivian remarks that events like inhouse days and the LED were not exclusively for students from the third year onwards yet, like they are now, to which Tristan responds: “It’s hard to imagine a scenario in 2021 where all first year students would be able to sign up for the LED.” There were around 200 new first-year members this year, compared to between 70 and 80 ten years ago.
Next to the growing study population, also social media and the role it plays in the association grew tremendously. Vivian said that social media wasn’t big at the time they studied and the only way of online contact was using email. Ron notices that if there would be a pandemic in their year it wouldn’t even be possible to organise online activities such as is done now.
Some developments were already visible during the time Ron and Vivian were studying. “There was a change in the type of people that studied econometrics. In 2010 we organized a gala and we almost had to beg people to come. There were not a lot of Kraketters that were interested in dressing up for and joining something like a gala, while it was a lot more popular a few years later.”
Then what did not really change? There is the Kraket Weekend of course and the Introduction Weekend which has always taken place on Texel. Ron: “In our days, professors used to visit the introduction weekend, usually for one night. Especially dr. Rein Nobel was known for his bicycle rides around Texel, which started very early, around when some people were just going to sleep.” Vivian responds: “It made a good impression on Nobel when you joined!”
Nobel stated quite precisely what would be asked at the exam. Apparently that was ignored, or those questions were just too difficult. - Ron
Even though not everyone experienced Nobel as a lecturer, most students heard of him somehow. When Vivan and Ron studied, more than half of the ECTS of the first year were courses taught by Nobel. The courses given by him were often courses where people had to try the exam several times. Vivian for example had to do two resits for the course “Kansrekening 2”. The second resit was only added because almost everyone failed the first resit. It also wasn’t very rare when someone had to do six attempts to pass a course. However, according to Ron: “Nobel stated quite precisely what would be asked at the exam. Apparently that was ignored, or those questions were just too difficult.”
During the previous study system, you chose during your study whether you wanted to go to the Econometrics or Operations Research specialization. Vivian chose the econometrics side, where she had courses taught by Charles Bos, one of the lecturers that students now still have. Ron on the other side chose the Operations Research side and here a still well known lecturer is Ad Ridder.
An advantage of the smaller scale of the study at the time was that teachers were easier to approach. “If we needed articles for the AENORM for example, it was very easy to walk up to teachers, as most teachers already knew the board members of Kraket”, Ron confirms. The AENORM used to be an academic magazine which we worked on in collaboration with VSAE.
During the interview, Ron and Amber had a conversation about the changes in bookkeeping. It turned out that the budget now is almost twice as big as it was in the year that Ron was the treasurer. Amber explained that this is probably in part because there are extra costs nowadays for the website and the accounting program. But also more members makes the expenses for activities go up. And some activities, such as the Kraket Weekend, are tackled on a larger scale. Furthermore, when Ron told that he could remember the big binder with all the receipts in it for the auditing committee, Amber replied smiling: “That is still the case.”
Something which was also discussed, was the fact that there was a burglary in the old Kraket room. The till had been robbed. Back then it was more usual to pay with cash, so there could have been a few hundred euros in the cash deck. Ron said: “It happened during the ski trip. I was the only one of the board who did not go, and so I held down the fort. When I got to the room, it was cordoned off. I went to the security to ask what happened. I talked to the police and reported the incident. We never found out who did this.”
I think that there is a small group of die-hard Kraketters that cannot grow much bigger. - Vivian
Also Tristan and Vivian had a conversation about the changes and similarities in the function. The way of reaching the members was for example discussed. Back in the days this was mostly done by emailing and visiting the lectures. Nowadays, there is still the newsletter every month. But in addition, social media channels are used to reach members. Even though these are of good help, it is still important to visit lectures to make sure you could reach every member.
Another significant difference was the way that minutes at the General Assemblies (GAs) were taken. About ten years ago, Vivian used pen and paper: “Halfway through my board year I bought a laptop, but I never used it for taking minutes.” Ron added that also at the board meetings the minutes were taken by hand. Tristan reacted: “I think it would be a hassle taking minutes of an entire GA by hand!” Just like now there were three GAs every year, where the one in September was the longest one. Vivian thinks that they were long enough to fill an evening, but not as long as they are now. Just like now, there needed to be a minimum number of members for some things to be approved. For example for approving the budget, a minimum of 25 persons had to vote in favor of approving it. Even though that now is a smaller fraction of the members than it used to be, Vivian thinks the following: “I think that there is a small group of die-hard Kraketters that cannot grow much bigger.”
I think that everyone on our board knew at most one or two other members from the start. - Amber
The life of a board member
Since boards usually consist of Kraketters from different study years, you might not know your fellow board members very well yet in the beginning. Vivian explains that out of her fellow board members (Antoinette Sol, Yoeri van der Woerd and Ron of course), she only knew Antoinette from the start. This was because they started the study in the same year. Vivian: “Despite this, we all got to know each other and were able to work together very well. However, I can imagine that it can also be quite difficult to end up on a board with people you don’t really know yet. Will you only have fun as colleagues, or will you become friends for life?” Ron adds that he can remember boards of which the members did not hit it off.
How did the current board get to know each other better? Amber responds: “It’s actually kind of funny. Our board comprises of members from various years. I think that all members knew at most one or two other members from the start. Nonetheless, we now do something fun together almost every week, outside of Kraket activities. That makes it clear that we have become a group of friends.”
It (the pet goldfish) did not even survive the Introduction Days, since some student thought it would be a good idea to pour some beer in the fishbowl! - Vivian
Crucial to getting to know each other as a board and getting your members involved is the Kraket Room. Ron asks if there are still card and board games in the Kraket Room, to which Tristan answers: “There is an abundance of games in the Kraket Room, like Pickomino (Regenwormen), Perudo, The Great Dalmuti and Halli Galli.” Funnily enough, Vivian remembers all of these from ten years ago.
To our surprise, Vivian asked us if the Kraket Room has any pets. “The Kraket Room actually used to have a pet goldfish”, she explains. “I even took it home to take care of it. When I returned it to the Kraket Room, it did not even survive the Introduction Days, since some student thought it would be a good idea to pour some beer in the fishbowl!” Tristan responds that the Kraket Room used to have a plant more recently, but sadly, it also did not survive. Anyway, we can conclude that it has been a good idea to not have pets anymore in the Kraket Room.
Kraket organises lots of activities every year. But which activities were most memorable for the former board? For Vivian the Kraket Weekends were most memorable. Ron reacted that the most memorable activity was indeed Kraket Weekend, but karting used to be the most popular activity. He remembers that when a board forgot to put karting on the activity list, they got so much comments at the GA that they eventually decided to organise it nevertheless. It is quite interesting that last year karting was on the activity list again after not being done for a while, meaning the tradition eventually must have been broken.
There seems to be a correlation with people starting to have children and how easy it is to meet up. - Vivian
The board after their board year
After doing a board year, most boards still keep in contact, while others might be happy that the year is over. On the question whether former board members still meet each other Vivian reacts the following: “That differs for each board. We, as board 38, often went to activities of Extrie and the constitution drinks of Kraket. We also met up sometimes. However, it became a little less in the past two years. There seems to be a correlation with people starting to have children and how easy it is to meet up.”
Since Amber and Tristan are only halfway through their board year, we asked them what their expectations were about the board as a group of friends after the board year has ended. They do seem to agree on this. Amber: “I am very happy that we became friends during this year despite the fact that we did not know each other quite well at the beginning. That is why I think we will keep meeting up with each other after our board year.” Tristan concludes: “I think it is a nice development to become friends with my board members in a short time and I think we will keep visiting events like Kraket Weekend and constitution drinks in the future.”
Sneak peak: Next week an article by Roger Prudon will be released. He uses econometrics in his research on the relationship between health, disability insurance and employment