What is the VSPA?
The VSPA is the association of psychology students in Amsterdam (Vereniging van Studenten in de Psychologie te Amsterdam; VSPA). It is the study association of psychology at the UvA and it consists of about 1600 members; this makes the VSPA one of the biggest study associations of the Netherlands. The VSPA was established on the 14th of May in 1941 and has endured a lot throughout her long history and has known many different students. Everyone who is studying psychology at the UvA can become a member of the association to expand their student lives in both social and study related ways.
The association is built on her many committees that organise countless activities. For instance, all kinds of study related activities are organised such as a conference, lectures, workshops and excursions. Besides that, there are many opportunities to make social contact by means of the various parties, travels and ‘borrels’, that are organised. As a member you can join all these activities and even better; you can organise them yourself! By joining one of the committees (see ‘committees’), you can ensure that we can keep enjoying the great events with a group of fellow VSPA members.
The VSPA room
The VSPA room is where you can the board (see ‘board’) every day. Here, they fulfill all of their board tasks, but the VSPA room is also a place for fun! All members are welcome to come together and chat with each other or with the board. You can also buy summaries here and enjoy a free cup of coffee. The VSPA room is situated in the G-building of the Roeterseiland Campus, room GS.25. Do not hesitate to stop by!
Opening hours of the VSPA room are as follows:
This is the address of the VSPA:
VSPA, REC GS.25
Nieuwe Achtergracht 129B
1018 WS Amsterdam
The General Members Assembly
At the beginning of the academic year the policy plan is presented by the board on a General Members Assembly (GMA). During a GMA at least 1% of all members must be present. The present members can give their opinions and determine if proposals are accepted. Besides that, during GMAs the administrative organs are chosen. This makes the GMA the most powerful organ of the VSPA.
Apart from the important influence you can exercise by going to a GMA and discussing and voting, it is also enjoyable in a social way. Each GMA there are free snacks and drinks, there is a five star meal cooked by the lovely Support Committee and afterwards there is a ‘borrel’. Also by frequenting GMAs, you get a discount on the Weekend Getaway, which is a weekend at the end of the year, organised by the board as a ‘thank you’ to all active members. Do not hesitate to come to a GMA. Keep an eye on your mailbox for the next invitation.
The History of the VSPA
14th of May, 1941: The Beginning
Times are hard and unsure. Nobody knows what’s waiting, but life goes on. Mia Rijk van Ommeren has a plan, a plan to bring people together. The 14th of May she succeeds in fulfilling this mission: The Association of Psychology Students in Amsterdam is born.
The board of this VSPA consists of three teachers and two students. The goal was to take heart to the interests of her members and to improve the right insight about the place and meaning of psychology in the general understanding of sciences.
But, as said, times are unsure. A claim to add the VSPA to the Kultuurkamer is rejected and the curtain seems to have fallen.
1946: The outcome
Not long after the end of the Second World War, the opposite was proven. The VSPA arises as a flourishing association and the number of members grows quickly. The approach: to be a faculty association that also tries to be a little fun. By Orion, the faculty paper of the time, the studying component and the fun are described as equivocal. In this period the VSPA board is mainly the organisator of events. This board is nominated by the sedentary board: opponents can sign up at the secretary after the publication of the new board.
1961: Times change
In this period the VSPA has a member count of 258 and the gap in the account is painful. At this point the VSPA aims to raise awareness for subjects that concern psychology in the broadest sense. Besides they want to strengthen the band between the students, to improve the contact between students and teachers and to serve the studying interests. For the latter there is the studying committee, a department within the VSPA which studies all difficulties and possibilities concerning the study to make sure that the study is executed as well as possible.
All kinds of events are being organised, like conferences, first-year weekends (Eerstejaarsweekend; EJW) and chess tournaments, but the psychology student of the sixties seems to have lost the need for fun and to have become more focused on studying.
Seventies: a new approach
In the seventies the VSPA gets politically active. The association considers itself as a union that concerns the interests of studying and is also there for fun. They focus more on student participation.
VSPA parties and ‘borrels’ have gained more and more popularity throughout the sixties. In the seventies widely known parties in places such as the Brakke Grond, Melkweg, Paradiso and Mazzo are thrown. In addition to these social events the VSPA also organises a lecture cycle. Besides the VSPA manages its own critical library, grants funds to political organs and publishes a magazine called ‘Tuit 11’. There is also a day-care for children of psychology students. In the meantime the number of psychology students has increased to 1549 in 1970.
In this period the VSPA is mainly a progressive association and strives for a equal position for all people and groups in society. The search for causes of subordination and privileging have a central role in this. Apart from that the VSPA is a study association that advocates the common interests of students. Finally it wants a psychological science that adds to a just organisation of society.
For the first time since the establishment of the VSPA the charter is revised. The new progressive approach of the association seems to not provide enough fun for the students. Many associations have a hard time and the VSPA is no exception.
Nineties: A New Character
In the nineties the VSPA changes from a politically progressive, mainly study improving association to a breeding pond for talent. The VSPA offers students the possibility to develop in various fields. Within the many committees students can do things on both social and study related level. This is done in a friendly ambiance.
New committees provide new activities which are social or related to psychology. Weekly, there are movies for film lovers, discussions and lectures through the whole building, the weekly ‘borrel’ for each student’s need for alcohol and there are conferences with speakers from the whole world. Something for everyone.
From 2000: The End?
The millennium change came and went, but the world did not perish. The VSPA too survived the start of the century quite easily. In 2001, when the VSPA had reached the age of 60, they wrote:
“At the moment the VSPA is one of the biggest and most active study associations of the Netherlands, because of a huge influx of students in the end of the nineties.”
After years of growth that has now come to a slow stop, the VSPA has managed to find a balance in the organisation of big study related activities, such as the conference and eight lectures throughout the year and the emphasis on the social side of studying. Each year there still is a first-years weekend, a skiing trip, a study trip, the weekend trip (Weekendje Weg) for all active members and with her 2300+ members the VSPA remains one of the biggest associations of the Netherlands in which every active member commits themselves to get the maximum out of their studying life.
The end almost near? Not quite yet!
This document was co-written by Steven Alexander David