Initiations in Ghent

Initiation, an age-old tradition in student life, is an essential part of the rich experience of being a student. Here, the pursuit of close friendships and lasting bonds is invaluable, while the challenges and tasks of baptism make for unforgettable memories.

The Student Activities Office together with the initiatiing convents take a proactive role to ensure that initiating activities take place properly and responsibly. More than 140 student associations are active in Ghent and around 170 initiations are organised each year for around 2,000 students, with strict conditions enforced to ensure a safe environment. To manage these initiations, students first drew up an initiation decree in 2007 and carried out their own initiation controls. Since then, the decree has been constantly evaluated and adjusted. Ghent has been unique in their operations because, unlike other student cities, the students are responsible for checking the initiations themselves. Initiational organisations have to provide detailed scripts and inspectors from the student umbrella associations go on site.

See here the current initiation decree and discover which experiences are awaiting you!

We give students and associations the confidence to live up to what they themselves wrote in this baptismal decree. Baptisms can contribute to good group spirit. We put the welfare of our students at the heart of their student life.

Hafsa El-Bazioui, alderman of Youth

The Ghent Initiation 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 patrolling students during initiation and pledging periods.

Since academic year 2019-20 there is also a Flemish initiation charter, based on the Ghent model. This charter does not replace the Ghent Initiation Decree, as the Ghent Initiation Decree is much deeper and more extensive. In academic year 2021-2022 the Ghent Initiation Decree was revised during a months-long conference with the various associations, the City of Ghent and Ghent University. Since the autumn of 2022, the new initiation decree, in which friendship and fraternization are central, has come into effect. With the new decree, trust goes hand in hand, whereby confidants are available within each konvent for participants in the initiation. When registering, each participant will receive a flyer with the contact details of the confidant who they can reach both in name and anonymously.

Vernieuwd doopdecreet zet fysiek en mentaal welzijn centraal

Did you see or hear something about an initiation that you want to report? Contact the student coordinator Emilie De Rycke via

Questions around initiations? Do not hesitate to contact us via