A mugshot a day: Steven Trooster loves stray mugs

01 Dec 2023

In other news: educational advisor Steven Trooster has a campus mug fetish. He photographed nearly 300 of them, which he proudly posts on his Facebook page.

Sometimes he finds gorgeous ones. What should one think about a pearl coffee cup with a unicorn head as its handle? Drinking from it: absolutely impossible – but finding it makes his whole day. The mug showed up all of a sudden in one of the kitchen cabinets on the ground floor of Thomas van Aquinostraat 1.

Steven Trooster found, at the same place on a different morning, a mug with two porcelain cat ears on top. Try to take a sip from that, you will for sure have the ears poking in your lip. But again, they make Trooster insanely happy.

Stray mugs

‘It started a few years ago when I was still working in the Spinoza building,’ he says while drinking from a blue mug with a picture of Humberto Tan on it. ‘There were so many horrendous mugs in the pantry there!’

Photo: Steven Trooster.

Thus, he made it his mission to find a new mug every day. He posted pictures of the mugs on Facebook, matching caption included.

‘That makes finding a new mug even better. It really brings me to life’

Once he had gone through all of the crockery in the Spinoza building, he moved his search to other faculties when he had to visit them. And now – Trooster has since moved to a different department – he can also indulge himself in the Thomas van Aquinostraat mug collection. Though, by now he has seen most of the mugs there as well. ‘That makes finding a new mug even better. It really brings me to life.’

Abandoned mugs

For a second, he laughs, then he goes back to being serious. Trooster has a love for stray mugs. For him, stray mugs are those mugs that belong to a specific department, but at one point start their nomadic existence across campus. For example, the cups of the Soeterbeeck Programme. The programme had its name changed to Radboud Reflects years ago, but its mugs still circulate everywhere. Where they will eventually end up, no one knows.

Foto: Steven Trooster

There are also mugs that have been taken from home. ‘Because they got them for a birthday or whatever, but they don’t fit in with the crockery at home.’ Those mugs get a new life at Radboud University (like the three matching Snoopy mugs in TvA1 that someone must have brought in at one point). And, of course, there are a lot of abandoned mugs that become orphaned once a staff member moves to a new job. Often these have a (family) picture or a goofy text.

Steven Trooster also experimented with it: he took a new mug, put it on a shelf at the university, and tried to see where it ended up. ‘I also work for Ugenda and took a mug of them. I haven’t seen it in a very long time, so whoever finds it can report to me.’

Number 300

His album Mugshots on Facebook (which can only be seen by those who befriended Trooster on the platform, ed.) presently features 298 mugs. The big question is, of course, Trooster announces with a twinkle in his eyes, which mug will be number 300. And when he will reach this number – because finding new ones is going rather slowly.

Does he have a wish? A specific mug he really wants to run into? Looking at Humberto Tan, he takes a moment to think. No, he then declares. ‘My only wish is that the new mugs never stop coming in.’

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