“It’s Every Man for Himself,” Two Days Before the General Assembly AUC Students Ready Themselves for Battle

By Tal Ben Yakir


Collage by Thea Bladt Hansen

With the 9 October Budget GA drawing nearer, AUC students have begun their preparations for the event. Those attending are amassing reserves of essential goods in their homes, stocking up on products required to make it through the affair. Anyone venturing into Action in Oostpoort will find its shelves empty of thermos clothing, emergency flares and sleeping bags. Even Albert Heijn struggled to restock their canned food section.

One of the students attending the GA, Helga Par, tells us: “Last time I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t stored up on food or clothing. I’ll never make that mistake again.” She recalls the eternity spent behind her laptop, growing hungrier and hungrier as the GA went on. She explains that by the time she realised her error, it was too late. 

“At one point the food was gone. I debated running to Spar, but what if an important motion was raised? I would miss it! How could I call myself excellent or diverse after that? No, I had to stay and hope I would make it to the end.”

Par says a friend did make the decision to journey to Spar, but by the time they got there the shelves were empty. “Everyone had gone and picked the store clean. The only thing left were the singular bananas Spar sells.”

Joshua Telgar, a first year at AUC, is both excited and apprehensive for his first GA. “My roommate is a third year, so he’s been through some stuff. He told me that during his third GA, the heating in the room stopped working. He nearly froze to death behind his laptop. That’s why I bought a thermos blanket.”

Telgar’s roommate, Peter Pelson, emphasises that you can’t rely on your peers in times like these. “It’s every man for himself during the GAs. Back when they were in person, it was like war. If someone suspected you’d raise a motion against their budget, you got poison in your coffee. I think it’s smart that they’re doing it online. At least then you can lock your door.”

Tamara Ottens, a cashier at the Albert Heijn down the street, recalls the last few days, during which AUC students emptied the shelves of the supermarket. “We haven’t seen behaviour like this in a few months. Tuesday, students started coming in and leaving with bags full of canned lentils and peanut butter. As if they were preparing for an apocalypse! That’s when us staff realised, there must be another Budget GA coming soon.”

Tamara explains that, luckily, Albert Heijn staff is trained to handle these kinds of situations. She stresses that there is no need to worry about their stocks being depleted at any point in time. 

However, Talya Kumir (student, second year) is not reassured.  “You can’t take risks with these things. You need to have enough to take care of your own. You might think ‘oh, I’m sure I’ll survive on what food I have at home’, but you can’t know that. You don’t know how long such a GA will last. It could be hours, it could be weeks. You need to be prepared.”

Our team asked a member of the AUCSA whether they can take any steps to shorten the duration of Budget GAs. 

“We don’t think that’s a good idea,” the member, who requested anonymity, responded. “The long GAs are a part of AUC culture, you know? Those gruelling days spent behind your laptop discussing the budget. The entire university is going through the same thing. That kind of shared adversity creates a bond.”

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