IntroCie 2018-2019 Applications

May 17, 2018 | Posted in General News

Dear member,

If you think back to your first moments as a first-year student, hopefully our EPU Introduction Camp comes to mind. Every year our Introduction Committee tries to organize an introcamp that you will never forget. As is EPU tradition, our 2018 Introduction Camp will be on the best island the Netherlands has to offer: Schiermonnikoog. Still, without a good committee to organize the parties we cannot have a successful Introcamp. Other than organizing the camp, the IntroCie is responsible for other introductory activities and mentoring the first-years in times of need.

Do you think you can make a good and everlasting impression on the first-years and make sure that they will become active members within EPU? Are you also willing to help the freshmen adapt to their student lives within American Studies? Then apply for a position in the new IntroCie NOW!!

Chairperson
The Chairperson is responsible for the committee. It will be your task to write agendas, lead meetings and supervise what the people in your committee are doing. The most important task as a Chairperson is to delegate: you will have to fairly divide the work between yourself and your committee members.

Secretary
As the Secretary you will be in charge of taking notes during the meetings. You will have to send these notes to your fellow committee members, as well as to the Coordinator of Internal Affairs. Besides taking notes, you will also be responsible for keeping an overview of who has signed up for the Introduction Camp. Further, it is on you to keep an eye on your Committee-mail in case any first-year students have questions concerning the camp.

Treasurer
The Treasurer is in charge of all the financial aspects the committee has to handle. Making financial overviews and collecting receipts is the most important task of a treasurer. You have to make sure that the price of next year’s intro camp is calculated correctly.

Commissioner of External Affairs
As the External Affairs it is your job to find sponsors. This might be a tricky task but with a little bit of luck you should be able to find some. Next to finding sponsors, you will also be in charge of communicating with people who are not members of EPU. For example, the External Affairs has to stay in touch with the people of the hostel, Spar (as it is the only supermarket on the island), bus, and the ferry.

PR/Program Supervisor
The PR/Program Supervisor is responsible for the promotion of the intro camp. It is important to get people excited about the intro camp so that many first years will sign up for the camp. Besides promotion, your task will be the creation and supervision of the program on Schiermonnikoog. For this position it is important to think in advance: what do you want to do, what do you need in order for it to happen, who will be in charge?

If you want to apply for this great opportunity, fill in the form below. Do so before May 25!

On behalf of the 29th Board,

Isa Peters
Chairman

IntroCie 2018 - 2019 Applications

Join the 30th Board of EPU!

EPU Logo Cirkel

April 19, 2018 | Posted in General News

Dear Future Board Members,

Are you ready to broaden your vision and oversee an association? Do you know what will attract many students? Are there activities you want to introduce at EPU? Join the 30th Board of E Pluribus Unum!

Joining the part-time board of EPU is not only fun, but also looks great on your CV! You will be introduced to the world of organizational work and meetings while enjoying the many great parties and drinks along the way! Scared the financial costs of being a board member will be too much? Do not despair! The University will compensate you, as they highly support and value the work done by study associations!

Chairperson
The board’s Chairperson directs the rest of the board and therefore has the final responsibility for everything that deals with EPU. In keeping account of everyone’s tasks, the Chairperson must maintain a clear overview in order to make sure that everything is done, and is done right. The Chairperson’s tasks are a little more abstract than those of the other board members: since delegation is a keyword, most of your tasks involve checking up on other board members and overseeing the entire study association. During board meetings as well as General Members Assemblies, the Chairperson constructs an agenda and takes the lead. Moreover, this person serves as EPU’s representative toward the faculty in regards to the book sale and the year calendar, and in order to collaborate well, the Chairperson is also asked to meet with faculty members.

Secretary
As EPU’s Secretary, you’ll spend a lot of time on your computer. Your main tasks will consist of keeping minutes of the board meetings (i.e. write an overview of everything discussed) and the General Member Assemblies. Also, the Secretary is in charge of the communication between EPU and its members, and other study associations. This means managing the mail, e-mail, and Facebook inboxes. You make sure every EPU member and companion is documented properly in the member list. In conclusion, you need to be structured and organized and have a clear oversight of EPU’s affairs.

Treasurer
The treasurer handles all of EPU’s financial affairs, including administering the EPU bank accounts, keeping track of payments, and making a financial year report. He or she needs to make sure EPU is doing well financially speaking by setting the budgets for all expenditures. The treasurer briefs all of EPU’s members at General Members Assemblies and approves major financial decisions.

Commissioner of Internal Affairs
While EPU’s Chairperson makes sure that everything is running smoothly within the Board, you as the new Commissioner of Internal Affairs will be in charge of making sure everything goes according to plan within EPU’s Committees. Committees are the foundation of EPU: without them, we would not have been able to do as much as we did this year. In order for every activity to go well, the Commissioner of Internal Affairs is in charge of supervising committees: making sure they get the help they need to organize parties, travel trips, hitchhiking competitions, create an almanac, and much more. It is important to keep a clear overview, which means that you will have to read notes from every committee meeting and be part of Facebook groups in order to stay up to date. In conclusion, the position of Internal Affairs demands communication skills, time management skills, and a cool head to keep a clear overview. However, the most important asset a Commissioner of Internal Affairs can have is to have fun on the run! Without love and passion for EPU, its activities and people, this position can quickly become too overwhelming.

Commissioner of External Affairs
This position allows you to develop yourself not only within the board of an awesome study association but also gives you the chance to partake in several committees outside EPU that include the Mix-party committee, Alphabet-party committee, and the ESGALATIE. Within EPU your main responsibility will be to attract possible sponsors. In conclusion, the position External Affairs requires you to be both outgoing and professional at the same time

The time has come to sign up for your Board year. Are you enthusiastic about EPU and motivated to make our study association even better, a position within EPU’s board is perfect for you. Sign-ups will close after the weekend, so make sure to have sent in your application by then. We look forward to finding our 30th (!) EPU Board!

Board Sign Up
  •   Chair
      Secretary
      Treasurer
      Commisioner of Internal Affairs
      Commisioner of External Affairs

EPU Goes To Prague!

November 24, 2017 | Posted in General News

Dear EPU members,

EPU’s study trip will take us to Prague this year! If you know you want to go on this awesome trip please save 100 euros of your stufi this month for the forward payment, which is due December 1st. The trip will be 210 euros in total, but the second payment will be in January. What do you get for this price?
– 3 nights in a hostel in the centre of Prague (from the 14th until the 17th of April)
– Flights + other transport such as buses
– Activities (like museums etc.)
– Two meals

The full price of the trip is 210 euros. The first payment of 100 euros should be transferred to IBAN NL06ABNA0468748490 before December 1st 2017. The second payment of 110 euros has to be done before January 25th 2018.

Cancellation policy:
If you sign up, we assume that you are coming along with us on the trip. This means that if you have signed up, we need the full 210 euros for your spot. If you need to cancel, let us notice via travel@svepu.nl, preferably before December 31st.
EPU can transfer your money back, IF we can give your spot to someone on the reserve list. If we can not do that, we can not do so and you still need to pay the full price. We hope that this is understandable since we have cancellation policies of the hostel and airline to work with.

We hope all of you will come with us, because it is gonna be epic!
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at travel@svepu.nl

Sign up through the following link!

Prague Studytrip 2018 Sign-up




Welcome Back Dinner

September 15, 2017 | Posted in General News

Dear EPU Members,

We would like to invite you to our EPU Welcome Back Dinner and Drinks. The dinner starts at 19:00 and there will be drinks afterwards. If you want to join the dinner, please sign up below!

Hope to see all of you there!

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Book Sale Semester 1 2017

book sale

August 3, 2017 | Posted in General News

Dear EPU members,

Below you can find the link for the EPU booksale. As a member of EPU, you get some great discounts on your books!

http://epu.itdepartment.nl

Good luck next semester!

The 29th Board

Comfortable and Charming: Campus Life in the USA

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May 12, 2017 | Posted in ASH Online

By Lobke van Meijel

Living university life on a beautiful campus made for some of the most influential reasons why I still call my time in Chapel Hill (NC) the best time of my life so far.  Simultaneously, it was one of the subtler ways through which my exchange became such a success. Today I want to discuss campus life on American universities a bit more. Why is it so attractive, and are there potential threats to campus life still?   

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Let’s go back to August 12, 2015. I was sitting in a bus departing Durham, a town I would soon know as the hometown of the worst university in the States: Dook. As I got off the bus in a little place called Chapel Hill, a large first park that was part of the college campus was immediately in sight. I worked my way through the amazingly green place, walked past UNC’s most controversial statue of a confederate soldier and made my way to the Old Well. Things quickly fell into place. This would soon become an awesome home base for the next four months.

Every campus in the USA is different, but most campuses have many things in common. These common grounds can often bring comfort to the thousands of students living on the same lands, and sometimes even in strange ways.

For one, campus life quite literally brings everything closer and within an arm’s reach. In Groningen I was living and studying in the city. In Chapel Hill, all non-student residents were living in a town catered almost completely to its university. From my residence hall I could walk to all my classes in under ten minutes. I could go to the dining hall in under five minutes, where I had enough options to eat healthy or like a carb-depraved cavewoman. Going to sports games, a Christian studying place, the swimming pool, the library, the bars and supermarkets… Everything could be accessed within 20 minutes of walking.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-12 om 10.47.45In addition to having all these services and accommodations close by, we also should not forget the people using these services and accommodations. In Chapel Hill, I sprinted to my classes along with hundreds of other students. The social center of campus, also known as the Pit, was crowded everyday as students organized cookouts, dances, bible study sessions, and came together for activist purposes. Over 200 student organizations gathered together on this campus, and among the thousands of people there was always somebody to do something fun with.

I was never alone. I am convinced that living together and sharing similar experiences in terms of undertaking the same activities, going to the same bars and eating the same foods (even if it is instant ramen) can bring students together as a community: they can identify with each other at least on these basic levels. Campus life probably is a big part of school spirit—after all, if the sports games that America’s school spirit is known for weren’t so close by, would they still be so popular? Even when finals were coming up, we were all sitting in the library halls until 2 AM. It might not make the learning any more fun, but suffering collectively has a certain charm and wit to it which makes the all-nighters bearable.

A third reason why campus life felt like a breeze was the way in which money was taken care of right from the beginning. To be fair, this can be a pro or a huge con: if you don’t have heaps of cash available at once, it’s difficult to pay all the bills upfront. However, if you can make a loan or borrow money from your folks, it’s a deafening blow at first but a breeze from then on. I already purchased my right to make use of the campus pool, gyms and all other kinds of accommodations well before the semester started. I had a meal plan and a “flex card” which allowed me to get food inside and outside the dining halls without having to hand over a single dollar. As long as I was on campus, I never had to worry about spending too much money—everything was already taken care of from the start.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-12 om 10.48.04These things became some of the prime reasons why I personally felt right at home on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. But I recognize that campus life may be much more dark than the picture I painted here. When somebody’s talking about campus life, we must also be aware of some of its downsides. For instance, in the Netherlands we talk about moving away from your folks in terms of finally building some independence and gaining valuable ‘adulting’ skills. In the United States many students move away thousands of miles from their parents, but they end up in a bubble—protected by their peers and the easy access to everything they need. The easy access to everything makes it even easier to avoid learning useful skills like cooking a decent meal. It may cause an atmosphere in which students—who come to campus to learn—end up only meeting people with similar outlooks on life.

In addition, it’s well known that American campuses are not always safe places for students around the world. For instance, campus rape situations mark even the best schools—also at UNC. Campus shootings still happen—also at UNC. And statistically, USA university campuses make up some of the worst spots in the Western world if we talk about mental health—also at UNC. Of course, these dangerous, sometimes even potentially lethal situations are not caused by campus life alone, but campus life can be a facilitating factor. Such problems need to be addressed whenever one is critically assessing the advantages and disadvantages of campus life.

For me personally, campus life at UNC was great. I still reminisce about my nights walking back from the Daily Tar Heel to my residence hall after a busy day, just enjoying the pretty trees and the squirrels under the dimmed lights and watching other students playing football or chatting together on their quads. UNC offered me so much, and I made the most out of every minute I was there. Somehow, though, among all of the thrilling activities and fantastic trips to wonderful locations, these nights walking back to my dorm room and amazing roommate became some of my most treasured memories. No matter how quiet and uneventful they seemed at first.

What’s in a game?

Red-Dead-Redemption-2

April 28, 2017 | Posted in ASH Online

by Hanne Nijtmans

When considering culture, we discuss movies, literature, TV-series and even sports events. Yet one big domain of culture is often left out in this equation: video games. Except for the Special Topic “Virtually American,” which is no longer available, this area of cultural production is almost completely left out in our program. This might for one be because video games suffer from the stigma that they are only played by fifteen-year old boys. The statistics, however, prove this wrong. About sixty-five percent of the American households play video games, and the average age of the players is thirty-two years old. Furthermore, two out of five gamers is female. Another reason might be that games are mainly made for commercial purposes, but then again, so are movies and TV-series. However, games are harder to analyze than other forms of popular culture, as in many games there is no clear storyline. But the one thing that all games have in common, which hardly any other medium has, is the agency of the player. Gamers can decide for themselves how they want to proceed in a game. The amount of agency is dependent on the game itself: open-world games such as World of Warcraft or Red Dead Redemption allow for much more agency than Sonic or Mario. The more extensive the game, the more interesting the analysis.

Red Dead Redemption - Game Wallpaper

Just shooting around?
If there is this huge open-world game such as Red Dead Redemption, situated in the Wild West, where you can spend over thirty hours exploring maps, killing coyotes, and enjoying yourself in saloons, how then can you derive any meaning from that? In order to look into these games, scholar Ian Bogost suggests that one should look into the processes of the game. One of the processes of Red Dead Redemption is the honor-system. If you, as a player, decide to just ride around on your horse and shoot everything that moves, that influences the behavior of the Non-Player Characters (NPC’s) in the remainder of the game. People who normally would be inclined to help you now scarily run away and your bad behavior makes you a wanted person which makes bounty hunters, outlaws, and sheriffs come for you.
By implementing this system, the producers of this game show the player what moral behavior should be, and if the player decides to behave otherwise there will be consequences.

Another process in Red Dead Redemption is the content of the missions which you need to complete in order to complete the game. Surprisingly, the missions in Red Dead Redemption do not only include killing outlaws or chasing villains, but a substantial part of the first storyline in the game is to help farmer girl Bonnie out in the farm, which includes taming horses, herding cows, and protecting the crops against rabbits and the animals against the coyotes. These tasks need to be completed, or the player is unable to go to the next part in New Mexico. Interestingly, this ideal of farming reminds us to “the Americas II” and the Jeffersonian republic. The ideal that farmers are “the people of God” is echoed in this game, which is produced in 2011. The processes of this game embed lessons of morality and historical values which can only be found when one delves him or herself into the game and looks closely, as on the surface this game seems like “just a shooter.”

reddead4

So what?
Rockstar, the producing company, is situated in the United States, and it’s games are sold globally. However, it’s not just the games they sell, it’s also American norms, values, and stereotypes. Within the processes and the assumed agency, individualism, capitalism, and masculinity are rewarded and the storylines and the system of honor move players towards a certain way of thinking. These are just two out of many aspects that can be assessed in games, and this makes the inquiry of games much more layered and complex than what one might expect at first sight. As games are upcoming forms of media and they allow for new methods of research, this would greatly complement the program. Moreover, the fact that our American Studies program leaves out a billion-dollar business which touches the majority of American households, might implicate that our understanding of popular culture is outdated.

Rehabilitating a War Criminal: Bush Jr. on DeGeneres & Kimmel

george-w-bush-jimmy-kimmel

March 21, 2017 | Posted in ASH Online

By Aaron Magunna

As of lately, George W. Bush Jr., president of the United States from 2001 to 2009, started to appear on numerous talk shows on US-TV, namely The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live!  Both shows have been applauded in the past for their liberal-progressive attitudes as well as their humorous, yet respectful discussion on controversial issues and topics.

This approach towards controversial issues is not applied to the former Republican president. Bush has been president during a pivotal time in US and world history and substantially shaped the role of the United States in the world. Him announcing “the war on terror” as a reaction to the 9/11-attacks continues to severely affect vast parts of the globe. The civil liberties of American citizens were curtailed, while parts of the Middle East were bombed into a parking lot, going hand in hand with the murder of non-combatants. The emergence of ISIS and the contemporary situation in the Middle East is, arguably, a direct result of the policies instigated by the Bush administration.

P100605ed-0117dh President George W. Bush addresses his remarks on the War on Terror, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005, speaking before the National Endowment for Democracy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington. White House photo by Eric Draper

President George W. Bush addresses his remarks on the War on Terror, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005, speaking before the National Endowment for Democracy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington. White House photo by Eric Draper

The armed forces of the US have committed war crimes throughout their occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. These crimes were authorized in a presidential memorandum in 2002, which provides evidence that Bush himself authorized the commitment of war crimes. These crimes included for instance torture (directly violating the Geneva Conventions), the humanitarian disregard for POWs, the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, and the use of drones throughout the Middle East, resulting in a yet undetermined number of civilian casualties.

This war was (and is) based on lies, justified by made-up facts. Bush and his neoconservative administration instigated this war, attempting to sustain the dominant role of the US as well as ensuring the access to oil fields. The Republican government lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the ties between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, as well as about the role and influence of the Taliban on 9/11. The Center for Public Integrity calculated that the Bush administration lied to the American people and the rest of the world 935 times about the reasons why it went to war in the Middle East. The price for the sustainment of the hegemonial role is henceforth quite literally paid in the blood of slaughtered civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kimmel and DeGeneres fail to address this topic, rather focussing on, for instance, the artwork produced by Bush after his time as president. DeGeneres, for example, addressed Bush releasing a book containing oil paintings of veterans wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead of focussing on the fact that the man sitting right in front of her is responsible for these injuries and deaths, she emphasizes the artwork conducted by a man who has actively encouraged war crimes during his role as commander-in chief.

george-w-bush-1488465104Article 86(2) of the Geneva Standard, commonly referred to as the “Yamashita Standard,” addresses command responsibility:
“The fact that a breach of this Protocol [the Geneva Conventions] was committed by a subordinate does not absolve his superiors from … responsibility … if they knew, or had information which should have enabled them to conclude in the circumstances at the time, that he was committing or about to commit such a breach and if they do not take all feasible measures within their  power to prevent or repress the breach.” 

Bush did not just know about the commitment of war crimes – he actively encouraged them. This makes Bush Jr., per definition, a war criminal. Instead of acknowledging this, Kimmel, for instance, sketches around with the former president, and talks about dating Richard Nixon’s daughter.

In both interviews, Bush is portrayed as a very likable person, while his partly disastrous role as head of state is not mentioned whatsoever. Kimmel and DeGeneres therefore help to politically and publicly rehabilitate a man who deserves to be tried as a war criminal in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He would certainly be in good company, following the footsteps of other very likable characters: Slobodan Milošević (died in 2006, tried for war crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity in the Balkan Wars), or numerous Rwandan Hutus, responsible for the slaughter of more than 800.000 member of the Tutsi minority in the space of a month in 1994.

For anyone interested in watching the interviews:

Kimmel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ir1hhpkwbo

Excerpt from The Ellen DeGeneres Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKeFXs8a0Xk

Fighting for Honor: Dueling in America

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March 1, 2017 | Posted in ASH Online

By Lobke van Meijel.

Those up to speed on their knowledge of Broadway musicals likely already know about the most famous duel in American history: the duel that led to the death of Founding Father and first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton.

In 1804, Alexander Hamilton was challenged to a duel by then-Vice President Aaron Burr. Both men almost despised one another, as Hamilton was actually working to prevent the (in his eyes) opportunist Burr from becoming President, and as Burr saw his political reputation and ambition being damaged by a meddling Hamilton. They took their personal issues to the ‘field of honor,’ a field in New Jersey where Hamilton had lost his son to a duel just two years earlier. Both men fired their guns, and one fell. Hamilton’s first bullet had missed Burr, and Burr had shot Hamilton in the torso. The Founding Father, who had written in a letter the night before the duel that he meant to miss Burr to end their conflict without bloodshed, died the next morning.

Arguably, Hamilton and Burr’s fatal duel is the most famous duel in American history. Yet it was remarkable in several aspects. For one, continued meddling in one’s career actually made for a somewhat understandable reason to demand justice. Additionally, duels seldom ended with fatalities.

16649492_968040836662995_1570319815215369899_nAmerican duels were practices of honor, often reserved for upper-class men in the South; politicians and lawyers. As a European ‘trial by combat,’ early colonists brought the ‘form of justice’ to American lands. Yet Americans stretched the historical basis of dueling, and transformed it almost into a sport to prove masculinity and honor. The Art of Manliness described dueling as “a way for men to publicly prove their courage and manliness. In such a society, the courts could offer a gentleman no real justice; the matter had to be resolved with the shedding of blood.”

These ‘matters’ could mean all kinds of things. Conflicts of all sorts and kinds had to be resolved with duels. Reputable duelist Charles Dickinson, for example, apparently cheated in a horse racing bet between Dickinson’s father-in-law and Andrew Jackson, who would go on to become a President with so much lead in his body that people described him as ‘rattling like a bag of marbles.’ The apparent cheating led to an insult-heaped conflict, which resulted in Dickinson insulting Jackson’s wife. As it turned out, Jackson had a special “angry place” reserved in his heart for all who insulted his wife, and could not let the insult go unpunished.

The men met in Kentucky and Dickinson took the first shot, which fired in between Jackson’s ribs. Jackson, who had survived many battles already, gave no kick and pulled his trigger as well. His gun did not fire, and an angry Jackson stroke again and fired a fatal bullet into Dickinson.

Despite his win, this duel led to great dishonorable shame for Jackson, who should not have fired the second shot and could have ended the duel with both men’s honor and lives in tact. In eighty percent of cases, duels were fights ‘to first blood,’ not to death. Moreover, duels were comprised of elaborate and cool processes. First, (public) letters were exchanged to try to solve a conflict peacefully. 16830970_968040756663003_8287283852265667536_nOnly when a peaceful resolution was out of order, a duel would be instigated. The challenged party could pick weapons. Guns took over the popular choice of weapon from swords in the 18th century as they were deemed more ‘democratic’ (after all, everybody could pull a trigger), but duels were even fought with weapons such as billiard balls. After weapons were chosen, the “seconds” (referee-type gentlemen chosen by the duelers) had to locate a dueling ground and possibly step in if either dueler stepped off their marks during the fight. Only one shot could be fired, and duelers could choose to deliberately miss their target if they did not wish the battle to end fatally. However, etiquette and frames of masculinity made it dishonorable to refuse a duel, and honor became the number one reason for men to accept and obey the rules of the game.

American men continued to duel throughout the 19th century, but the Civil War and industrialization brought an end to the level of popularity that the practice enjoyed. As a man’s prestige and position in society became attributed to his amount of cash more so than his reputation and honor, disputes were increasingly taken to the courts instead of the fields. And as Southerners were occupied with fighting for and against the Reconstruction and the rebuilding of their society after a damaging loss, less attention was devoted to violent resolutions for petty conflicts.

Beercantus sign-up

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February 23, 2017 | Posted in Events

Dear EPU members,

March 7th will witness the premiere of a new event for EPU which we secretly hope to make a new annual tradition: the beer cantus! This is basically a large drinking game that features a lot of singing, a lot of beer, and a lot of fun. For 15 euros we provide you with beer and all you’ll need to have a truly legendary evening (the amount will be withdrawn from your bank account). Non EPU-members are also welcome to join, so feel free to bring friends; they will have to pay 17 euros in cash at the start of the event. It lasts from 20:00 to 22:00, and afterwards we will probably continue our drunken antics elsewhere in the city. You really don’t want to miss out on this.

Io vivat! The DrinksCie