New type of welcoming event for new students

1 September 2020

Digital talk show at the Grand Auditorium, University Main building

This year, Uppsala University welcomed its new students with a live-streamed talk show from the Grand Auditorium.

On 28 August 2020, Uppsala University welcomed all its new students in rather different, coronavirus-adapted style. Instead of a traditional reception in the Grand Auditorium in the University Main Building, the welcoming ceremony took the form of a live-streamed talk show. You can watch the welcoming ceremony after the event on the website.

An unusually large number of students are enrolled at Uppsala University this autumn. In all, almost 50,000 students will be taking one or more of the nearly 140 programmes and more than 2,000 courses. That is 4,000 more students than last year.

At the end of August each year, the University traditionally invites all new students to an event in the splendid Grand Auditorium in the University Main Building. The programme usually includes a welcoming speech from the Vice-Chancellor and useful information from the students’ unions and student nations, but also music and comedy.

The ongoing coronavirus situation makes it impossible to gather in the usual way, so the welcoming event was recast as a digital event – a live-streamed talk show with some new features.

“We are concerned about our students’ wellbeing,” says Director of Communications Pernilla Björk. “Welcoming procedures are important and have a real influence on students’ happiness and how they get on with their studies. It is important that they feel welcome even though we can’t meet in the usual way. We’re doing everything we can to look after them as well as possible and have tried to come up with creative solutions. We hope and believe that this type of live-streamed event will be a good alternative to the traditional receptions. There’s certainly one advantage – the students can be anywhere in the world and still join in!”

The show gave the new students a foretaste of what they can expect from Uppsala University, student life and Uppsala as a city. For the virtual event as well, the stage was the Grand Auditorium and Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson got things going by welcoming the new students. However, one new feature this year was that two students took part in the whole webcast and talked about their experiences during their time in Uppsala and how they had dealt with the challenges that cropped up along the way. The programme also contained breaks from the stage with a ‘flying reporter’ touching down among students and student settings in Uppsala. Another popular feature of the live webcast was that new students could ask questions via chat that the representatives in the ‘studio’ in the Grand Auditorium answered live.

Campus Gotland in Visby has also organised an alternative event this year. Normally there is a big ceremony for the roughly 500 new students in the St Nicolai Ruin, but this year a welcoming film was made in Swedish and English versions and sent to all new students.