This winter was strange for many of us, not least for our students – no time on campus, cancelled student events, lack of social interaction, maybe even seeing those nearest and dearest falling critically ill.
We know this was not what you had imagined when you chose to start studying at our fantastic university, and all of us have no doubt missed the buzz of being on campus. Although it would appear that better days lie ahead.
Results from the student survey are in, and over the coming weeks we will publish some of the most important findings on the student web. 1229 students responded – thanks to everyone who participated! The survey has shown that many students are incredibly proud to be at SLU – this is delightful news, after all, you are studying at one of the world’s best universities according to new rankings. Nevertheless, we were concerned to see that online classes and the lack of in-person meetings have affected your wellbeing. SLU management and staff responsible for education activities as well as Sluss are taking this incredibly seriously. We are going to investigate whether there are more steps we can take to improve the situation in both the short and long term, despite the limitations set by the pandemic.
Some student unions have restarted activities, albeit on a very small scale. Activities vary depending on the campus, so check with your student union to find out what applies where you are. Our campuses are open to make things easier for those of you who cannot study from home – but make sure to follow the restrictions in place and avoid gathering in groups. If you feel alone and need someone to talk to, study counsellors or the student health centre can offer support. They are used to helping students through difficult periods and are bound by professional secrecy. There is a university chaplaincy at many of our campuses that offer several activities.
Over the coming days, many regions will be entering phase 4 of vaccinations and the majority of students are included in this group. Visit 1177.se to find out when and how to book your vaccination. We hope that after the summer most of us will have been vaccinated and the spread of infection will have gone down. As it stands, Sweden’s universities and higher education institutions will continue to work from home up until 15 September, meaning SLU is planning to continue with online teaching into the start of the autumn semester. However, if the situation and restrictions change for the better, SLU will open up for more on-campus teaching. Visit SLU’s coronavirus information pages for the latest information.
Hopefully we will be able to meet on campus in the autumn, but until then we should enjoy the spring warmth that has arrived. So make the most of the warmer, lighter days and evenings ahead and meet outdoors with some of your student friends – obviously keeping a safe social distance. Even if things are ok for you, and your studies are going well, maybe there’s someone you haven’t seen for a long time who will be happy if you reach out.
Here’s hoping for better times ahead,
Mia Knutson Wedel, Vice-Chancellor SLU
Marie Petersson, Sluss chair