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The Friendly-Neighbourhood INSADHA: Is It Really Friendly or Nah?

Source: Documenta INSADHA 2023

Sanata Dharma University. On August 18, an Instagram post went viral in which INSADHA (Inisiasi Sanata Dharma) was the main focus of the topic. The headline of that post – “Emang boleh ospek kampus tapi seniornya seramah ini?” – made netizens wonder about the friendliness of INSADHA itself. Many doubted that the seniors were only friendly in front of the camera. Others believed that it was just for content and clout.

August 7, 2023, marked the beginning of INSADHA 2023 until the Inauguration Day on September 9. INSADHA has been known for the friendliness of the committee since back then. INSADHA was also known for taking care of the new students. While initiations at other universities are often done outdoors under the blazing sun, INSADHA was mainly held inside the iconic Driyarkara Auditorium.

Compassion is one of Sanata Dharma University’s core pillars, which is why it is deeply ingrained in the students’ selves. Not only that, every Sanata Dharma committee event must prioritize compassion in both mind and spirit. INSADHA has opened its doors to new students with warm smiles and laughter. Even in batch 4, which was not as intense as the previous batches, the INSADHA committees still happily welcomed this year’s students.

The history of Indonesian university initiation events has been a dreadful one. Many initiation events were rife with bullying and seniority. There were cases of seniors ordering new students to stand still under the sun for extended periods of time or shouting at them to instill fear. As such, many students were traumatized after the initiation ended. More importantly, they did not feel welcomed by the big family of their university.

On that note, it’s understandable why people have been doubting how sincerity of the INSADHA committee. Were they only being friendly in front of the new students and then talked about them behind their backs? Were they just acting nice for the camera? How much care and thought does the INSADHA committee really put into their work?

Azel, an English Letters 2022 student, recounted her experience as a group companion for this year’s INSADHA. “We were told to see the new students as our friends. We try to get rid of the seniority mindset. Like, that is the one thing we are always reminded of and always emphasized in our training sessions.”

Group Companions of INSADHA 2023. Source: Documenta INSADHA 2023

She also noted how the committee, mainly group companions, must always be joyful, even when they’re feeling low and dreadful. When asked about faking that happiness, she said, “It was hard to maintain that happy feeling on D-day, but when I met them – the new students – it felt like all my bad moods were gone. I would be cheered up again, especially if they happily greet me. So, for me, it’s not truly faking our emotions constantly.”

Helen, an English Letters 2023 student, reminisced about her experience as an INSADHA 2023 participant in batch 3. She smiled and shook her head when asked if the INSADHA committee had ever done something awful to its participants. “No, I have never seen any discrimination directed towards us by the committee. They’re all nice to me and the others. Although, I saw one of my group companions being too exhausted. Even then, he was never mean to us. Yes, he sometimes has quiet moments if he’s tired, but he tried to maintain that happy feeling throughout the event.”

Another INSADHA committee member from the security division, Ana, an English Letters 2022 student, shared that before INSADHA began, the 3rd vice chancellor gave all of the committee advice on remembering Sanata Dharma’s vision on humanism. “Humanism ideology is essentially the core of INSADHA,” Ana said.

It was hard to erase the stereotypical idea that university or school orientations always left a sour taste in people’s lives. It was logical for people to think that way if we track the records of bad orientation history in Indonesia’s institutions. However, despite people’s doubts about INSADHA being “too friendly” or “faking their friendliness,” INSADHA is a friendly and joyful (albeit exhausting) orientation based on the facts from the experiences of both the committees and new students. 


Journalist: Kenar Syalaisha Kanayana

Editor: Nanda Pratama Putera Tomasila, Vonna Meisya Saputra (QC)

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