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Lustrum 2018, No. 4, Vol. 4

USA Nijmegen Explained: What is our origin story?

American Studies Magazine

Interview with Nicole Verberkt

Quiz: Which USA Board Member are you?

Colophon Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Alaoui


Ibrahim Alaoui Tessa Eijkman LoĂŻs Machelessen Catherine Mastebroek Rindert Oost Anne van der Pas Wouter Peer Vincent Veerbeek Pip van der Zanden


Bregje van der Sommen

Special Thanks To Nicole Verberkt Hannah Odenthal Max Mommers Julie Leijtens-Daems

Ads & Sponsors SJEFprint Cafetaria de Fest ThomTom DressMe Clothing

Would you like to join The Issue, compliment us on our outstanding work, or give us some constructive criticism? Please contact us at:

This Issue 4 Former Boards 6 USA Nijmegen Explained: What is our origin story? Wouter Peer

8 MaCo: Fruity yogurt bites with a granola crust Tessa Eijkman

9 Introducing the Lustrum Committee 10 Foreign Affairs: Life After American Studies Vincent Veerbeek

12 The Big Picture

Also check out The Issue at

14 Interview with Nicole Verberkt

Lustrum Issue, Year 4 The Issue is a quarterly publication brought to you by USA Nijmegen, the American Studies student association. USA Nijmegen cannot be held responsible for opinions and statements of contributors to The Issue.

USA Nijmegen Board Ina Holzapfel Rindert Oost Marissa Aarts

Contact USA Nijmegen Erasmusplein 1 Room 12.07 6525HT Nijmegen All images belong to their respective owners and are not the property of The Issue, USA Nijmegen or any contributor to The Issue.

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LoĂŻs Machelessen

16 F(r)amed Ibrahim Alaoui & Rindert Oost

18 Quiz: Which USA Board Member are you? Pip van der Zanden

20 Legacy Catherine Mastebroek

22 What words say Anne van der Pas

23 Lustrum Horoscope Wouter Peer


State of the Union

Word from the Board

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The Lustrum week is (almost) here! Although we’ve been enjoying all the wonderful events that were organized by the Lustrum Committee for months now, the party’s just beginning. This special year doesn’t just deserve its own week, but of course also its very own Issue. So instead of focusing on the United States of America, this Issue is focused on USA Nijmegen. All of us American Studies students are (hopefully) at least somewhat knowledgeable about US history, most likely because of the valiant efforts of Jorrit van der Berk. But what about USA Nijmegen’s history? Because of some real investigative journalism by Rindert Oost and Wouter Peer, this Issue can finally reveal all that you’ve ever wanted to know about USA’s illusive past. Spoiler Alert: did you know that three different occasions can be considered the founding of USA Nijmegen? Rindert and I take you back to each of these years, 1989, 2000 and 2005 with a review of one of the respective year’s must-watch movies. The section Foreign Affairs is also special this time, a combination of the rubrics Foreign Affairs and Life after American Studies. Vincent Veerbeek chatted with former Chairwoman Iris van Dorp who works for Education First in Boston Massachusetts. This Issue finally takes a long needed break from the American political chaos. Instead we focus on USA Nijmegen politics. To complete the trip down memory lane, a few previous board members have sent in special Word of the Boards. The ‘Wissel-alv’ is a sign that the reign of the XVth Board is sadly nearing its end. For now however, let’s celebrate Ina, RIndert en Marissa just a little while longer. And what better way to do this than by taking Pip van der Zanden’s quiz “Which USA board member are you?” Last but not least, former chairman of USA Nijmegen Chairman and Editor-in Chief of The Issue Timo Nijssen made headlines recently by becoming the youngest ever recipient of the “CBS Talentegel” prize for an article he wrote for the Volkskrant. The Issue (and USA Nijmegen) is of course very proud. Congratulations Timo! Summer is near and it might seem as if the final exam week is just around the corner. But there’s a right time for everything. And this Lustrum week is first and foremost a time of celebration. So close your laptop for the night and join the party. Bring your good times, and your laughter too.

Of course it is always a great honor, pleasure and privilege to write a few words for this esteemed magazine, however this time, I have to admit, it is just a tiny bit extra special. This year, as the 15th board of our beloved study association, Marissa, Rindert and I have been challenged with something that has only been seen twice before, but who’s counting? A year dedicated to celebrating USA Nijmegen, its reputable history, its incredible present and (hopefully) everlasting future, at its finest. Now you might think, that’s all nice and good, however the three of you are not the ones who have to stay in the club till 4 o’clock in the morning, just because some looneys decided to dance the night away. And you are absolutely right! ‘Cause what would Santa be without his tirelessly working elves? Just a fat, old man, freezing his a** of. Meaning, nothing of what has already been organized or is yet to come could have been or would be possible without the help, creativity and dedication of our Lustrum committee members, who, and this I know from personal experience, get up every day, just as we do, in need of “three things each day; one is something to look up to, one is something to look forward to, and another is something to chase”. Although, McConaughey’s explanation was smooth, I trust mine to be even smoother; We look up to every single board and committee member of the past 15 years, as they all strived towards making USA Nijmegen as perfect as it possibly can be, we look forward to a bright future and an uncountable number of Lustrums, and we all chase the vision of a year, that will be looked at as a worthy celebration of USA Nijmegen’s 3rd Lustrum. Ina out. On behalf of the XVth Board of USA Nijmegen, Ina Holzapfel Chairwoman 2017-2018

Enjoy, Ibrahim Alaoui Editor-in-Chief

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Former VIIIth Board On April 28, 2011 the introduction of USA Nijmegen’s bi-weekly newsletter read:

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has updated their list of the most awesome study associations in the world. The FBI has scored the associations based on their activities, fun, academic-approval, epicness, and pure and goodly deeds rate. Apparently USA Nijmegen made this year’s top of the list and is now officially the most awesome study association in the world. For those of you who still question this fact or who question the fact that our fellow member Barack Obama is an American citizen, we challenge you to come and see for yourself at our next activity. (note: we cannot guarantee the presence of President Barack Obama)

As a former chairwoman of our beloved association, it is heartwarming to see that USA Nijmegen has not moved an inch on the FBI’s list!

So, what will I remember? What will I tell my grandchildren about my year as chairwoman of USA Nijmegen? I’ll tell them that together, we organized events and activities at Absolute Zero, our ‘home away from home’ at Van Welderenstraat 63. I’ll tell them that I sat with professors and intellectual legends and that we took to the streets with thousands of students in Nijmegen and The Hague, as we protested the funding cuts to education in 2011. And I’ll tell them that one morning in September I got to welcome new students to the splendor of American Studies in Nijmegen. God bless you and your families and may he continue to shed his magnificent grace upon USA Nijmegen. On behalf of the VIIIth Board of USA Nijmegen, Hannah Odenthal Chairwoman 2010 – 2011

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Boards Xth Board

You should know exactly how long ago the Xth Board was in office but allow me to shed some light on the quirks of that year. First of all, we were having drinks in the ThomTom before it was the ThomTom. If you do not understand that reference I will leave its explanation up to the elaborate oral history that has been passed on from year to year. Secondly, next to many other projects, we were trying to set up a themed American college party just like those of recent years. Because beer, beer never changes. The important caveat to this is that not every member of the board could use Whatsapp. Hence, the Xth board was still using SMS making the past seem even more archaic, possibly frightening, for those familiar with board or committee groupchats. Something definately worth mentioning is the association’s first study trip to Berlin in 2013. It took a lot of hard work by those involved and to their great pleasure the endeavour of organizion USA’s own studytrips has continued. We were also some of the first students to witness the guitar playing

skills of Frank Mehring during the Amerikanistendag. This event invited experts to share their knowledge and deepen everybody’s engagement with the field of American studies, which brings me to the following. I believe it was not only the Xth board which sought out to explore and develop the identity of USA Nijmegen as well as its possible contributions to the academic development of its members. In fact, all the boards I witnessed took upon themselves the responsibility, and care, for the unique identity of our beloved study association albeit at different times and under changing circumstances. I can only express my gratitude, and amusement, for the wonderous evolution of this study association and its people. Kind regards, also on the behalf of Anne Smeets, Judith Brans, Raoul Doomernik, and Tom Hegeman, Max Mommers Chairman 2012-2013

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america explained

“Back in the day… I’m talking 2004. That seems like a lifetime ago and I guess in some way it is. When Rindert approached me and asked if I was willing to provide a bit of background about my time as a board member of USA Nijmegen, I had to do quite some (mental and digital) digging. Thinking about my years at American Studies brought up a lot of fond memories, but I also must admit that some of it is has become a blur. I became a USA Nijmegen member sometime in my first year, which was 2002/2003. I believe at that time, the study association was run mainly by one student for some time; Ruben, if I remember correctly (I have tried recalling his last name, with no luck). He was finishing his studies and passed things on to Martijn Visser and Patrick Haarsma. Around that same time, a group of 2nd year students had taken the initiative to organize a study trip (March 2003, San Francisco). This was the first trip in quite some years and we quickly noticed that it connected students from different cohorts quite easily. And thus, in 2003, USA Nijmegen began picking up pace. The American Studies Day was organised in Nijmegen that year, as well as the successful ‘Surfin’ USA’ party! However, Patrick and Martijn both had an exchange planned in the Spring semester of 2004, so in the Fall of 2003, plans were made to form a new board. I like to think that I was ‘elected’, but I honestly don’t remember if anyone else volunteered for the job. I became Chair, Frank Leijtens became Secretary and Jeroen Reutelingsperger became Treasurer. When I was trying to remember what that year looked like, I first thought we were just a bunch of students having fun together and trying to organize movie nights and parties. However, as I was looking through my things, I found

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USA Nijmegen Explained:

What is our origin story? In this Lustrum edition of the issue we decided to give the America explained section an anniversary facelift. If you’re reading this article you probably are a current member of USA Nijmegen, but once, a long time ago, there wasn’t a USA Nijmegen at all. Thanks to a couple of great people, one could say our “founding fathers”, we can enjoy our parties, ThomTom nights, Thanksgiving Dinners, and more. To find out more about those early days, we e-mailed Julie Leijtens-Daems, Chair of the second board. We are thankful for her very elaborate response. Here is the first, and probably only, USA Nijmegen explained: agendas for several of the meetings I chaired, as well as the minutes for two meetings. Looking through them, I was surprised at all the events we organised:

funds for printing. Finances were a sore point in general. With only 18 paying members and very little other funds, we did not have a lot of financial room to spare.

o a Career Night, with alumni from companies such as Philips, ASML, AtosOrigin, Unilever as well as academic researchers o the Extreme Makeover Party o a Thanksgiving Dinner o a trip to Emerson College o Movie Nights (with guest speakers) o the yearly Christmas Gala, with GAG o a debate night on the U.S. Presi dential Elections, with several guest speakers (Ruth Oldenziel and Willem Post among others) o an Election Breakfast, with several guest speakers, live viewing of CNN election results, and a full American breakfast.

Sometime in 2004, statutes were drawn up, but they probably were not officially submitted until 2005, at least that is what has been recorded. As far as my recollection serves me, the main reason for drawing up the statutes was to have the bank account officially registered to USA Nijmegen and to make it easier to transfer from one treasurer to another. By then, Jeroen Reutelingsperger and Jeroen Toet had taken over as interim board, due to the fact that Frank and myself went on exchange from January until May of 2005. The next board started in September 2005 and was chaired by Aagje van der Aa. I believe this was the first year the academic calendar was followed and the study association was further professionalized.

The last two events were coordinated by academic staff members mainly, but organized with assistance of several study associations (among which, USA Nijmegen). In the minutes of October 2004, we recorded the active (and paying) members, which were 18 in total at that time. We did not have official committees, but most of the members all pitched in when organizing events. The Take Five was issued probably 3 or 4 times, under the enthusiastic editorial direction of Albertine Bloemendal, but we struggled to gather

Wouter Peer

In short, even though we were by far not as professional as the study association is now, we did organise quite a number of events, both of social and academic value. We were a small but active group of students and we did our best reaching out to students of all cohorts and to other study associations. Some of us are still in touch on a regular basis, almost 15 years later. And for those wondering, yes, Frank and I got married, making us one of at least two ‘American Studies-couples’.” Julie Leijtens-Daems

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Fruity yogurt bites with a granola crust Tessa Eijkman

Okay, just hear me out. It might seem like this is yogurt with granola. Well, it is. However, it does look ten times better than your run-ofthe-mill bowl. Should you ever feel the need to make your breakfast look extra, this is your recipe. Do keep in mind you need a blender and enough patience to let your creation set overnight. You don’t have to eat these for breakfast though, they are great as an afternoon snack or in the evening, accompanied by some tea. Another thing: the recipe is really flexible, just use what and as much as you think you’ll need. You want to make the base thicker? Go for it, add some more granola and oil. You want to swap some ingredients? A real possibility too. Just keep in mind that if you decide to use more yogurt, you’ll need more setting agent as well. The amounts I used are below, but if you have a smaller cake pan (I used a 21cm round one), you’ll probably need smaller amounts. What you’ll need: o 150 grams of granola o 70 ml of coconut oil o 750ml of plant-based yogurt of your choice o 7 grams of agar agar o 500 grams of mixed berries o A little bit of sugar

1. If you bought frozen fruit, sandwich it between paper towels to let it thaw out and get rid of excess moisture (If you bought fresh fruit, ignore this). 2. Grease your cake pan with coconut oil for easy removal later on. 3. Start with blending up your granola until you have large crumbs. Then, melt your coconut oil, combine, and stir. 4. Put the mixture in your cake pan, press down with a spoon until evenly distributed, and let it cool in the fridge. 5. Put a couple of tablespoons of your yogurt into a pan and heat it until it starts to bubble, then add your agar agar and stir until it’s evenly incorporated. If you want the berry mixture on top to be a bit more jelly-like, save a gram for later. 6. Put the rest of your yogurt in a mixing bowl and add your agar agar mixture. Add in about a quarter of your berries if you like. Mix until well combined, add it on top of your granola base, and put your cake pan back in the fridge. 7. Put the remainder of your berries in a pan, add a little bit of water and sugar, and let the berries cook down for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, take a couple of tablespoons out, put it in a separate bowl and mix in your remaining agar agar if you saved some. Add this back into the pan and let the mixture cool down slightly. 8. Add the berry mixture on top of the yogurt mixture and be very patient for the rest of your day and night. But don’t worry, an awesome breakfast will be waiting for you in the morning! (Can also be eaten at other times of day) All in all, this was a great way for me to be creative and think outside of the box when it comes to using ingredients, while they still tasted familiarly good. I would have never thought of using granola for a pie crust, for one. I should mention though, it’s best to leave your bites in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them. I’m off to eat the rest of this stuff, see ya.

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Introducing the

LustrumCo Leah Hi y’all! My name’s Leah and this year I have the honor of being the head of the lustrum committee. Last year I was in charge of the party committee and on my hunt for a new challenge I ended up applying for head of the lustrum committee, and here we are! As the lustrum committee we are responsible for organizing and hosting all the joyous activities that come with USA’s 15th birthday. We’ve already had three amazing parties and there’s a lot more to come. In May there will be a very special lustrum week which comes with four awesome and diverse activities. Making sure these events live up to their expectations is not always easy, but with the help of my five awesome committee members I promise you there’ll be no disappointment. I can’t wait for all of you to see and enjoy the results of what we’ve been working on. So: don’t hesitate and attend the awesome activities left to come! Anne Hi everyone, I’m Anne and I’m doing the American studies master here in Nijmegen. When I’m not studying I love to run, climb or bike, and I’ve been known to enjoy a drink or two from time to time. I’ve been involved in USA Nijmegen for a couple of years now so I’m very excited to be organizing our lustrum celebrations this year, together with the lovely LustrumCo crew!

Mirjam Hi! My name is Mirjam Lobik, and I’m a third-year American Studies student, coffee addict, aspiring motorcycle owner, and, as the rest of the world, addicted to (playing) music. I’ve been a part of several committees within USA Nijmegen, so I’m really happy to be able to add the LustrumCo to that list. Ina Hello, it’s me. Nick Hi, my name is Nick de Lange. I’m a second-year American studies student, member of U.S.A. Nijmegen, G.A.G., and Ovum Novum. I’m currently head of the study committee and a proud member of the lustrum committee. I’m also on the board of the StudentNASA as the representative of Nijmegen and head of PR and media. I hope all of you enjoy the events that we organized for this special lustrum year. Lisa Hi Everyone! For those who do not know me: my name is Lisa Fiddelers and I currently am a fourth-year student of American Studies. I love planning and organizing so being part of the lustrum committee fits me perfectly. When I am not in the middle of organizing events, you can find me in the city Centre, where I will practice my dancing skills in order to dance into the lustrumweek.

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Foreign Affairs:

Life After American Studies American Studies offers plenty of opportunities to branch out, both during your studies and after, and alumnus Iris van Dorp is no exception. She started the program in 2012, was the chairwoman of USA Nijmegen’s eleventh board, and now works for Education First (EF). Iris Skyped in from Boston to discuss her experiences with American Studies, her time at USA Nijmegen, and her current job. Vincent Veerbeek

What made you decide to study American Studies in the first place? ‘It really started for me during high school, when I spent a year abroad in Phoenix, living with a host family and going to school there as part of an EF exchange program. It was amazing to be part of a community. Somehow I ended up studying Psychology, but I realized quite soon it was not for me, and I decided to switch to American Studies. My experiences in high school really helped during my first year, since I had for example already taken a course on American history.’ Did you have any kind of career path in mind when you started? ‘I am really impressed with people who know what they want to get out of American Studies beforehand. For me, I started my studies with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised by a lot of what the program had to offer. One thing I was not expecting was that there would be such a high level of training in certain skills, for example writing and language. In addition to American Studies, I minored in Spanish to learn more about Latin American culture, and also took a minor in Political Science as part of the premaster. As much as I enjoyed that, during my studies I began to do more work for EF, first as an ambassador and later also more administra-

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tive work. I quickly came to realize that that was what I wanted to do, which is why I ultimately decided not to pursue a master’s degree.’ How do you look back on your time at USA Nijmegen? ‘It was very special for me to be the chairwoman of the eleventh board. I was not very active during my freshman year and the previous board actually had quite a bit of difficulty finding successors, as my year was known as “the lost generation”. Then before I knew it, I was a candidate board member, as the process was quite different back then. The old board just made sure there were successors and that was that. That was also a big reason for us to focus on streamlining these processes and give them more legitimacy. Another thing we had to deal with was the fact that our local hangout, the AZ, closed, so we had to look for a new place to hold activities. Because of all that, we did not have as much time to develop new activities, but I think that a lot of the work we did has allowed subsequent boards to develop new concepts. As a result, things like the cooking committee have now grown into a staple of our association. Overall, being chairwoman was a great experience, and it was the start of various other activities and jobs.’

foreign affairs

What was the highlight of your time on the board? ‘There were many great moments, but I think one that stands out for me, although it may not seem too spectacular, is introducing guidelines for the association. It was great to get that passed because we knew it would give future boards a lot of support in running our study association. We had none of that when we started our board year, only a very barebones document explaining that USA Nijmegen existed. That way, we were able to build a solid foundation for the study association for years to come. Another thing that actually happened during our year as well was the creation of the Issue as a successor to the Take Five.’ What does your current job entail? ‘Right now I am part of the host family recruitment team. Essentially, what we do is get in touch with families that have expressed interest in hosting an exchange student. It is quite similar to some of the work I did for EF in the Netherlands, where I sat down with students and prepare them for their time abroad. Now I am on the other side of the process, helping host families. They come to us with questions like, “can we give our exchange student chores?” or “if we go on a holiday, can we bring the stu-

dent that is staying with us?” Basically I am on the phone all day answering their questions, after which we put them in contact with their local EF network. What usually ends up happening is that I am just chatting with someone for 45 minutes, which is really fun.’ Do you have any advice for current students? ‘What I think is most important is that students try and develop themselves outside of their major. Get to know some people who do not study American Studies, break out of your bubble. I would definitely recommend everyone to do a board year at USA Nijmegen, because you meet all kinds of people and you also get to know the faculty in a different manner. It also allows you to get to know the program from a very different side. More generally, too, the program can really take you in all kinds of directions, so be open to new opportunities. Thankfully, American Studies does not train you for a specific profession, but it is certainly not a bad starting point. As long as you make the effort to not just do American Studies, it is a great basis for whatever comes after, be it a master’s in American Studies or something else entirely. Ultimately, it is up to you.’

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the big picture

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Interview with Nicole Verberkt For this Issue Loïs Machelessen sat down with Nicole Verberkt. Loïs Machelessen

Could you tell us something about yourself? Where are you from? What are your hobbies? I’m originally from Venlo, a small town in the north of Limburg (and grew up speaking the local dialect, which I’m sure has positively influenced my capacity for learning languages). My hobbies are reading and horseback riding. As a kid, I never went anywhere without a book and a little wooden horse – we were inseparable (literally – my mother had to prise both from my hands when I went to bed at night, ha-ha). What were your college days like? Did you study abroad? I studied English Language & Culture in the days before American Studies existed. If it had existed then I probably would have done a double major as both the US and the English language interest me a great deal. I’ve always been bad at making choices anyway :) I didn’t study abroad as that was not so normal then, but I took a sabbatical in 2006-7 and spent it in Iowa City with my family. It was the best time of my life. What did you master in? And what was you master thesis about? My graduation project – for lack of a better word – (we didn’t have “masters” back then) was in translation studies – comparing linguistic systems. I was a teaching assistant in my senior year and after I graduated, I immediately started working in the English department, doing pretty much what I’m still doing – teaching all the American English language courses in the undergraduate program. I haven’t always worked at Radboud – in between I also worked for a private language institute in Nijmegen and for the language center at Maastricht University for a couple of years. I have to say though that I was very happy that I could get my old job back because nothing beats teaching American English, something I wasn’t able to do at either of the other institutes.

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This is a lustrum issue, celebrating 15 years of USA Nijmegen. You have been a member for some time now (you even have a sweater), how has the study association changed over the years? I think it has become more studyoriented, which is a good thing. Apart from all the fun stuff (which is of course also very important), more time and attention seems to be spent on study groups. Also, faculty seems to be more involved, what with the pub lectures and movie nights – also a good thing. I love it even though I can’t join as many activities as I’d wish due to the long commute. But I will always be a member! You have been on quite a few study trips with USA Nijmegen, what was the best study trip you went on and why? Impossible to say. They were all great. The ones that stand out in my mind are the one to Boston in 2007 because that was the one on which I became buddies with Ingrid Verhey, who is still one of my best friends; the 2012 Seattle & Vancouver trip because it was the last one (sadly) that we made with what we jokingly referred to as the “dream team”: Hans Bak, Jac Geurts, Ingrid Verhey, and myself; and last year’s trip to DC because it was the first one for which I was financially responsible – very scary – and because I bonded with former student and now colleague Iris Plessius, which was highly rewarding. But all my travel buddies are dear to me! And which places do you still want to visit in the US? A great many, but top of the list are wilderness places like Alaska and Wyoming because I love the great outdoors. I like hiking, camping, and of course horseback riding. I’d love to work on a ranch for a while – I may do that when I retire from teaching, ha-ha.

Students are often surprised when they hear you speak Dutch because your American accent is perfect and they forget you’re from the Netherlands. Any tips for students who want to sound like you? I know :) Like I said before, speaking a dialect (so essentially growing up bilingually) is a huge advantage for learning another language, so if you are a dialect speaker then consider yourself lucky. And make sure to teach it to your children if you ever have any – you’d be doing them a disservice if you didn’t! And the only other thing that makes you perfect is…practice! (that was predictable, wasn’t it) What is your favorite book/series/movie? Tough one – there are so many. Some of my favorite authors are Anne Tyler, Zadie Smith, T.C. Boyle, Bill Bryson, and Stephen Fry, to name but a few. Recent films I liked a lot are Three Billboards, I Tonya, and The Shape of Water. I like almost all movies by the Coen brothers. As for series, well, I have hardly any time to watch TV or Netflix, but when I do I love a good detective drama, preferably a British one. Choose one: East Coast or West Coast? West Coast The Netherlands or the United States? The United States Chocolate or vanilla? Lemon Nijmegen or Limburg? Both! The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Neil Young Taylor Swift or Katy Perry? Adele Winter or Summer? Spring Beer or Wine? Wine

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F(r)amed Rindert Oost & Ibrahim Alaoui

2005: Syriana 2005 was an exceptional year for both USA Nijmegen and the film industry. USA Nijmegen became an official study organization on March 22 and Hollywood released several great movies, such as Good Night and Good Luck, the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and of course Brokeback Mountain, the to-go film for every Mediating ‘America’ essay. However, another important movie in relation to America was Syriana. Syriana mainly focusses on U.S. interests in the oil business and how the nation tries to gain influence in the Middle East at the expense of the local population. It has several plotlines with numerous protagonists and antagonists, which gives the movie a complex narrative and makes it hard to explain the main goal of the characters. Neither is there a definitive ending to the movie, which on the

one hand makes it not very satisfying to watch but on the other hand is a perfect metaphor for the never-ending loop of violence in the Middle East. The movie also provides a critical view of U.S. politics in the Middle East. It tries to depict a harsh reality in the world of corporate and governmental power, where everyone, especially non-whites, is expendable when it comes to the interests of the U.S. On the other hand, the movie also does a great job depicting the Arab world, especially for a movie in a post-9/11 world. Compared to many other movies in its genre, it gives the most human side of all its characters, where for example the Arab world is portrayed as a victim, not as a terrorist harboring place. Although it might not be the happiest movie you will ever watch, it does give a good insight into the issues and the mess that the U.S. has created in the Middle East.

2000: Almost Famous The year 2000 was quite an eventful one. The expected technological fallout of the switch to the new millennium was nowhere near as dramatic as the Y2K movement had predicted. However the US presidential elections in November proved to be the real shocker. The insanity of it all, the close race, the recount in Florida and eventually the Supreme Court decision that made George W. Bush the 43rd president, was perhaps only matched (and surpassed) 18 months ago. However, 2000 also had a less controversial and way more positive political development: the installation of the first board of USA Nijmegen! It was also the year that Russel Crowe asked us if we were entertained by Gladiator, the darker and more serious comic book adaption X-men started the era of superhero movies, and the year that Tom Hanks made us cry about a volley-

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ball. Oh and Remember The Titans of course. However, my favorite 2000 movie has to be Almost Famous. Almost Famous follows the story of 15-year-old journalist for Rolling Stone magazine William Miller who joins a concert tour of a fictional band called Stillwater in the mid 1970s. The band is struggling to become a success in the dying days of rock and roll when all the heart is gone and only greed and emptiness remain. William Miller, the son of a strict mother, is first introduced to rock and roll by his rebellious sister (played by Zooey Deschanel) and through him you will fall in love with music (all over again). The movie is filled with inspirational quotes but also vague ones that often highlight the ironies and disingenuousness of the 1970s rock and roll scene. If you’re in need of a feel-good movie with great music and stellar acting (including Philip Seymour Hoffman and Kate Hudson), Almost Famous is definitely worth checking out.

1989: When Harry Met Sally Personally, 1989 makes me think of one of my favorite Taylor Swift albums (named after the year of her birth). However, more generally accepted as an important event, 1989 is also the year the Berlin Wall fell after dividing East and West Berlin for almost 3 decades. Some say it was because of Ronald Reagans ’87 impassioned statement: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”, others claim it was Glasnost and Perestroika or David Hasselhoff, but I still believe Rocky Balboa’s speech in Rocky IV is what really started the ball rolling. Regardless, 1989 can in this aspect be seen as a major success for the United States. Coincidentally, this year was also a great success for USA Nijmegen because the very first steps were made to found the organization that grew to be the study association you know and love. 1989 was a very varied year in film. Harrison Ford starred in the last good Indiana Jones movie, the film Batman with Michael Keaton became the inspiration for a series of (not all equally successful) sequels and reboots, the brilliant Robin Williams starred as Oh Captain, My Captain in Dead Poet’s Society and The Little Mermaid started the Disney Renaissance. But when it comes to romantic comedies,

When Harry Met Sally… is by far the best 1989 has to offer. When Harry actually meets Sally, not much happens. After graduation they drive together from Chicago to New York and although they have an interesting conversation, after they reach Washington Square Park they part ways and almost forget each other. Years later when they meet again is when the story really starts. They become friends despite Harry’s earlier insistence that this would never happen. At first glance, the rest of the story might strike you as cliché, but in 1989 the questions this movie tackles were still very much under discussion. Nora Ephron’s brilliant dialogue in combination with Meg Ryan’s and Billy Crystal’s chemistry make When Harry Met Sally… a really fun movie to watch. If you also consider the beautiful scenes of Central Park in autumn, the hilarious diner scene (and tons of other memorable quotes) and the great soundtrack, watching this movie certainly is 96 minutes well spent.

OpCo Dear reader, When I’m writing this, you have all survived your third exam weeks of the year. That means your already past halfway there: just a few more weeks to go! For us, this also means we are almost finished with our OpCo-year. In fact, we have already found suitable successors to make sure next year will run as smoothly as possible. Despite the fact the year is slowly getting to its end, we would still appreciate your input and feedback on the curriculum, exams, teachers and so forth. Don’t hesitate to send us an e-mail (olcengam@! The past period, we have occupied ourselves even more with the new

‘profielen’ and have spent time designing one ourselves, in cooperation with the assessor of our faculty and other OpCo-members from the departments of Art History and Arts and Culture studies. We are also planning the second round of panel discussions to make sure your voices are heard. Should you have burning questions for us, you can reach us via the aforementioned e-mail address or simply hit us up for a conversation when you happen to spot us. Lots of love, The OpCo

The Issue | Summer 2018 | 17


Which USA Board Member are you? Pip van der Zanden

1. What is your favorite drink? A



The Board Breakerâ„¢


Ha! Beer!

2. How do you prefer to spend your Thursday night? A

Watch Temptation Island




Look at pictures of some nice, curvy Boeings, if you know what I mean

3. Where can we find you during exam week? A

The library


The Refter


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The board room

Mostly A

Marissa Aarts 4. Where would you want to go on vacation? A

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro




Anywhere, as long as we’re flying

5. What do you post on social media? A

Pictures from vacations


Lots of events


You are Marissa, our treasurer. You may seem cute and innocent at first, but wait until people get to know you better. You love drama, as long as you’re not involved in it. For you, drinking means escalating! Luckily for you, your enthusiasm isn’t limited to getting lit, but extends to getting enlightened. Because of your hard work and motivation, you always find a way to work things out. Work hard, play hard, am I right?

What not?

Mostly B

6. After a long day of studying, what do you crave the most? A






Ina Holzapfel

7. What’s your favorite USA event? A

Mexican Party




You are Ina, our chair. Talk about the importance of good intentions! Choosing a job where you have to make speeches all the time, in a language you’ve only started learning a year ago. You love trying new things, even if you’re not as good at it. You don’t get easily discouraged, you can always resort to your spirit(s). Your drive and passion are your greatest qualities, and they have already caused a lot of improvement. Träume werden Wirklichkeit!

Pitcher Party

Mostly C

8. What American dish are you? A

Pancakes and maple syrup


Hotdog with sauerkraut


Anything with bacon

Rindert Oost

You are Rindert, our secretary. You are kind of an over-sharer. On your first official night as secretary, your shirt already flew open for all of USA to see. You’re always on social media. Sometimes your posts are successful, most of the time, not so much. Facebook is not the only app you enjoy, you also have a strange love for air travel-related businesses. But no matter your quirks, we could not wish for a better co-pilot on board!

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Legacy Catherine Mastebroek

I have worked in my father’s antique store since the day I learned how to walk. Not because he made me, but because I wanted to. I love the smell of our old books, and the soft gleam coming off the trinkets that are displayed on the old oak tables in the store. We have everything from old iron goblets to dusty golden necklaces and from hand carved wooden dolls to complete cabinets.

munity and how he had been so kind to them once in repairing something they had bought from us and barely charging them for it… It was very nice of them to come by and remember him with me. Of course I had already seen all of them at the funeral, but to think they still made the effort to come to the store and pay their respects even though two months had passed warmed my heart.

Before my father became sick, he would spend hours renovating the most beautiful wooden objects or making sure that each and every grandfather clock we had would run on time. Then one day he got sick and the doctors said he wouldn’t be getting better. He was very worried about me, what would happen to me after he was gone, if I would be able to keep the store… He worked for me until his last breath and died in our store, sitting in his favorite chair while taking a mandatory break from work.

A month after the reopening, most of the customers had made their first and second visits and while they still gave me kind words and nods they knew that I now had to work through my loss myself and they refrained from telling me lengthy stories about a sweet little jewelry box or a grand old closet that my father had repaired. It was nice to work in the store and work with what my father left me. The first month I didn’t change anything in the store, but then I started switching things up a little and making the alterations that I had never gotten around to asking my father to make when he was still with us.

That was seven months ago. I had to close the store for two whole months after the funeral to be able to work through my loss, but then I realized my father wouldn’t have wanted me to sulk in the dark. I reopened and it was amazing. So many customers came and told me how my father had been an amazing pillar of the com-

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By now I have given everything a better spot to sit and have removed anything breakable out of harm’s way into better places. I have cleaned out our storage cellar, have managed to put

short story

price stickers on everything and even gave the place a good cleaning. The shop looks brighter now, though it still retains all its charm and magic. Today I decided to take a peek in the attic. I hadn’t been able to go see what is hidden up there yet because for ages a big wooden crate blocked the stairs and I simply didn’t have the time to move it and once I did move it I was too busy working on the rest of the store. But today seems like a good day to see what’s up there. I had to close the shop early for a holiday anyway, so why not make use of my free afternoon by looking around up there? As I crawl through the trapdoor at the top of the stairs a musty old smell hits me and I open the attic window before moving further. Everything is covered in white sheets, which in turn have been covered in a thick layer of dust. Cobwebs are all around and I am glad I brought the vacuum. I vacuum the whole attic and take the sheets off of everything, happy to see that at least up here things are neatly ordered in boxes, crates and chests. I can’t wait to open everything and see what treasures are hidden here… I look over the labels first and stop when I find a big chest labeled ‘Aona’. That’s my mother’s name. She died in childbirth, my father told me that, but he never said he still had some things of hers. My curiosity gets the better of me and I open the chest quickly. Inside, the first thing I see is a framed painting. On the frame it says ‘Aona’ too, and I recognize the woman as my mother immediately. She

has my nose and eyes and even our hair has the same auburn color. I smile and take the picture out of the chest, putting it next to me. My father probably kept this from me because he didn’t want to be reminded of losing her. There are a lot of letters in the chest too, but it feels wrong to read those as they are probably love letters my parents sent to each other and contain private information. I happily scoop through the items. There are a few beautiful golden combs, there is a golden jewelry box, there are golden and silver ornaments with gemstones… My mother had a rich taste, that’s for sure. As I get to the bottom I gasp softly. There is a will and last testament. I quickly take it out of the box and hold it on my lap. Something holds me back from reading it, a fear maybe. What if my father hid this from me for a reason? I sit with the will and the painting on my lap for a while, looking from the beautiful woman to the red leather of the will’s binding. Eventually, I get over my fear and read the whole will in one go. By the end, my eyes are watering and I can barely breathe. There’s a contact number on the last page and it says to call that when you are ready to receive what was left to you. It takes me a whole day, but late in the evening I call the number. My heart is in my throat as I listen to the dial tone, half expecting to hear ‘this number has been disconnected’. Just as I am about to hang up, there is a click and someone picks up; “Hello…? Is this the child of Princess Aona?” I reply in the affirmative.

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What words say Anne van der Pas

In the past few months, or perhaps even since the election of President Trump, there has been a renewed focus in the media about words and their meaning. We of course all remember the term ‘alternative facts’ and its more legitimate cousin ‘fake news’, but words such as ‘fetus’, ‘science-based’ and ‘transgender’ also became contested terms. These words, formerly used by the Centers for Disease Control in its reporting, were banned from official use by the Trump administration. It caused an outrage in the media and prompted a discussion on what it means to ban words, how language changes our perception of the world and the power of naming. Of course, the stakes in this example were much higher than in the topic which I want to discuss through this article; we’re talking about the interference in an official government organ versus the naming of a fun boozy party with an attendance of about 50. Yet that doesn’t mean that the same principles, albeit on a smaller scale, do not still apply. Here’s the deal: words matter. They matter especially when they form part of the image an outsider will have of a topic, and we as American studies students have to be aware of the image which we create through the process of naming. This is why it’s time to change the name of the annual college party and cut the term ‘ratchet’.

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When the name ‘ratchet college party’ was first thought up, the word ‘ratchet’ was meant as a fun slang term meaning something like sleazy. UrbanDictionary shows that the highest spike in searches for the word occurred in January of 2013, around the time the party’s name was created. But google the word now, and the first thing that pops up is a Wikipedia page describing the slang term as similar to the word ‘ghetto’, noting its reinforcement of the ‘negative portrayal of African-American women in the media’. The top definition on the aforementioned UrbanDictionary shows the example ‘“Ol’ girl with her hoochie-ass clothes too tight an’ her tracks shown’ in her scraggly-ass weave with her fake-ass Gucci bag think she cute. She ratchet.” Obviously, the term is associated now more with racial stereotypes than it is with trashy fun. Is this the name we want for a party which is meant to be about capping off the year, American college style? More importantly, are these the kind of things we want people to associate with American studies if they google ‘ratchet’, wondering what the name of that one party their Facebook friend is attending means? I really don’t think so. The naming of the ‘ratchet college party’ was never meant to be malicious, but meanings change and evolve. Therefore, we too should change and evolve, and cut the term ‘ratchet’ from the official USA vocabulary.

Lustrum Horoscope Which USA Activity are you? Taurus (April 20-May 20)

You love to travel, but of course only if it’s necessary and a useful addition to your university degree. This is the exact reason why your traveling to Lisbon, Portugal for American Studies. Start packin’ because you are the Study Trip!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

On a party you always refuse to drink out of anything but a red solo cup. You love to play beer pong all night long until you can’t separate the cups anymore because your vision is so hazy. Get lit and party all night long because you are the Ratchet Party! (Or whatever it may be called in the future)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

The stars had a hard time finding a possible USA activity suiting you, because there aren’t any during this period! However, Nijmegen as a whole has one great activity which suits you like a glove, at which you can find a lot of USA members: the Vierdaagsefeesten!

Leo (July 23-Aug 22)

Every new experience is exciting for you. You love to venture in the wild and unknown, and the life of the party is just really your thing. This is why you are one of the favorite periods for a lot of students at the Radboud University. You are the introductory week!

Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22)

Never settling and always trying to get used to normal life again, you are not really a party person. Something you do like, however, is food, especially if it’s free. So don’t resist your urges, because food is an essential part of your life. Even though you’re probably not a freshman anymore, you’re the freshman lunch!

Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22)

Friends are important to you. No, I’m not talking about the tv-show, real life friends. Catching up with them while playing board games, or just having a bit of a relaxed atmosphere is your favorite thing to do. The activities that suit you best are the ThomTom Nights!

Wouter Peer

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21)

Booooo… Spooky scary skeletons is your jam and you like any dish, as long as it has pumpkin in it. Jack the skeleton king is your second name and when people see your face they immediately scream. Get your jack out of the box (That sounds really inappropriate, I’m sorry) because you are the Halloween Party!

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21)

Although the chair would give long speeches at your event, you’re mostly about food and just having a good time with your friends. For most Americans you’d be the best thing about fall. You are the yearly USA Thanksgiving dinner!

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19)

You have embraced that ugly can be an aesthetic, and something to be proud of as well. Your creative side has the overhand in your personality and maybe you’re a tiny bit extra. Get your deodorant ready, because you are the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party!

Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18)

Get your pacifiers and diapers ready and practice your lullabies cause baby, you’re settling down. You are curious at heart and always want to keep up with what the kids are doing these days. You’re the parent’s day!

Pisces (Feb 19-March 20)

Prosit Senior, Prosit Consiliari… You know it all by heart. Listening to some good tunes, uhm… I mean songs, is one of your favorite things to do, and you sing along vividly. You’re always in supply of beer, though you’re very strict: you’re the Ragweek Cantus!

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Aiaiaiaiaiiii… Normally you’re more a cerveza kind of person, but this evening you’re willing to change it up a little. Start stocking your limes and salt and get yourself in the mood with some Latin music, because you’re the Mexican Party!

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Upcoming Events May 9th Election ALV 14th Lustrumweek: Reception 15th Lustrumweek: Cantus 16th Lustrumweek: Lunch + Members’ Hour 17th Lustrumweek: KoCo Dinner + Ball 23rd American College Party 31st Anglo-American Summerfest

For the latest info, go to

The Issue Summer 2018 - Lustrum Edition  

The final Issue edition of the year 2017-2018. This is a special edition where we go back to 15 years of USA Nijmegen.

The Issue Summer 2018 - Lustrum Edition  

The final Issue edition of the year 2017-2018. This is a special edition where we go back to 15 years of USA Nijmegen.