Dormsessions to No Longer Take Place in the Dorms: “They Are Taking a Vital Part of Our Community Away”

By Anna Debeye

Collage by Vera Bejczy

In October 2022, the Dormsessions board first started hearing rumours that their events would no longer be allowed to be organised in one of the common rooms in the AUC dorms. It has been three months since they hosted their last event and it is becoming clear to the board members that Dormsessions will not take place in the dorms again, now that DUWO has implemented strict regulations regarding the capacity of the common rooms. The renowned Dormessions events were frequented by up to 200 people at a time in a space that is now no longer allowed to host more than 75 people in order to ensure safety. 

In addition to these new safety regulations, the committee has been instructed to clear out the room, as it is supposed to become an event space that can be used by all committees. Marcus Smit, the housing coordinator of AUC, explains that most common rooms are in the process of becoming living rooms that are to be used by the tenants of a string. The focus of these spaces will be on get-togethers in the form of dinners and study sessions, rather than parties. The three larger common rooms in the middle building will be turned into event spaces that can be used by AUCSA and the committees. “The idea that committees can use or take over a common room is simply incorrect; it is really for the tenants of the string,” Smit elaborates. 

Camie Clarkson, the PR manager of Dormsessions, explains that this makeover of their space was uncalled for. “It’s quite upsetting: they are targeting Dormsessions as a committee,” she points out. She fails to understand why the Domsessions common room is to be renovated, when so many other common rooms need it more. “If any common room didn’t need a makeover, it’s ours,” she says. 

Lara Grassi, the chair of Dormsessions, is also unhappy about the changes. She explains that an event with 75 people can hardly be considered a Dormsessions event and adds that “they are taking a vital part of our community away.” The reason for the recent developments is unclear to the two board members and the lack of communication from AUC and DUWO left them quite confused. 

The social caretaker at the AUC dorms, Danielle van den Tol, explains that, although she was aware that parties were being organised in the larger common rooms, she only learned about the exact size of the events last semester. She heard that “enormous parties were thrown in one of the three common rooms, with bands and all,” and says that “the space is not suitable for that.” Van den Tol does want the common rooms to improve the sense of community in the dorms, but mentions that it needs to be safe. The common rooms are offered to AUC tenants at no additional costs and she therefore expects people to use the spaces respectfully and safely. 

The Dormsessions board now hopes to find an alternative location for their future events. Clarkson believes that this will have a substantial impact on the AUC community. “I’m from Amsterdam and I heard about Dormsessions before coming to AUC,” she says. “My friends who go to the conservatorium see it as a goal to perform at Dormsessions. We have a name.” It upsets the board members to see that no one is putting up a fight for them. “People are letting DUWO do this,” Clarkson states, continuing that she thinks AUC should get involved. 

Smit explains that AUC is part of the discussion and is actively trying to accommodate both students and DUWO. He clarifies that “we [AUC] are actually organising something for the committees that will benefit them.” The creation of event spaces will allow committees to have their own spot within the dorms without being dependent on string members. Smit adds that more clarity on the plan for the event spaces is required before AUC sends out any definite information. However, those committees that are already affected by the current changes, such as Dormsessions, have been informed by the AUCSA. 

Van den Tol states that she was unaware that certain committees were unhappy with the recent developments regarding the common rooms. “I haven’t been approached by any committees,” she says. She explains that AUC took charge of communication to the student body and that DUWO therefore only sent out a short update on the living rooms in their December newsletter. Van den Tol also points out that “if there are any committees that are unhappy about what is happening, I’d like for them to contact us [DUWO].” 

Grassi says that the Dormsessions board would like to sit down with DUWO and talk, but believes it is not likely that a solution will be achieved this semester. The committee is looking for external venues, but this is quite difficult according to Grassi, since they do not have a budget for this. “We’ve been talking loads to AUCSA and they are being very flexible in working with us to go around these issues,” she says. Free venues are the only solution at the moment, but Grassi happily announces that the search is going well: “We will be back.”

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