Staff can keep working out

The fitness association for staff at the RUG was at risk of ending after nearly 70 years. The workload for the volunteers who managed the association has become unmanageable. On Wednesday, its members managed to avoid a total shutdown of the club.
By Maaike Vos / Translation by Traci White

SPR, the fitness association for current and retired staff of the RUG and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, has roughly 2,000 members and organises fishing competitions, card game nights and volleyball tournaments. According to board members, due to increased administration, maintenance of the association has become unmanageable in addition to their jobs at the universities. ‘Some weeks, I spend several days on my work for SPR’, says one member.

In a desperate search for a solution, the board presented various options which were presented during a meeting on Wednesday evening. One possibility was ending SPR altogether. Staff would be able to work out at the Sportcentrum gym, which belongs to the RUG and Hanze.


Not everyone was okay with that idea. The Dutch card game klaverjas club and the fishing clubs cannot be incorporated into the Sportcentrum, which brought a lot of emotions to the surface among the members who take part in those activities. One member walked out during the meeting after waving around the statutes that read that closing the association was against the rules. ‘I hope that you are aware that people are protesting your plans’, he said as he left the room.

The remaining members voted for a plan that the board still needs to work out further. The plan ensures that SPR will continue to exist, but most of its activities will be absorbed by the Sportcentrum.

Fight back

Staff members and retirees who were present worry about their voice being lost at Sportcentrum, which is why they oppose the proposed plan to change the association into an advisory committee. ‘An advisory committee cannot fight back, but an association can’, one member said, expressing concern.

The board will now look into what the future will hold for the association. In any event, board chairperson Gerald Lier is relieved that the threat of closing the group got so many people to take a stand: nearly 50 attended the meeting. ‘Typically, there are more board members than normal members, so it’s good that so many members want to have their say.’

In November, the ultimate plans will be presented and another meeting will be held about the future of SPR.



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