Baptisms in Ghent
The baptism is a traditional activity that has been an important part of student life for over a century. It serves as a way to form close companionship with your fellow students; a companionship which can last a lifetime. The baptism itself is supposed to be a fun activity full of challenges and errands that result in great memories to kick off your student life in Ghent.
The Dienst Studentenactiviteiten, together with the konventen, takes a proactive role to guarantee the orderly conduct of these traditional activities. Of the circa 140 official student associations, 80 will organise baptism activities throughout the year. Organising a baptism involves as strict adherence to the rules and procedures that have been established throughout the years. During the summer months, every baptising association creates a baptism script that contains all baptism-related activities. First aid courses are organised and insurance policies are checked. After the voluntary registration of the rushees (minor require written permission from their guardian), the medical forms of all participants are filled in and necessary precautions are taken for allergies and medical conditions. The konventen provide complete first-aid kits that are required to present on every baptism activity.
The Ghent Baptism Decree has been a staple of student life since the turn of the century. Throughout the years the decree became more strict by adding rules on alcohol consumption and prohibiting practices such as nudism. The decree is evaluated yearly and edited if required, after which it is signed by all associations during the changing of the academic year. Since academic year 2010-11 every recognised student association in Ghent is a signatory of the decree. Correct following of the rules is checked by the DSA and the konventen, which often results in little sleep for the baptism overseers during baptism and pledging periods.
Since the academic year of 2019-20 there is also a Flemish baptism charter, based on the Ghent model. This charter does not replace the Ghent baptism decree, as the Ghent baptism decree is more in depth and more extensive. The items in which the Flemish charter is more stringent than the Ghent decree - minors must receive approval from their guardian & complete sobriety instead of lawful sobriety - are now also included in the Ghent decree.