After two years of restrictions because of the pandemic, the opening of the academic year was once again held on campus with first-year students, staff and invited guests. The event was also streamed online.
Arcada's rector Mona Forsskåhl held the traditional opening speech. In her speech, she addressed the whirlwind of digitalisation now sweeping across society and the responsibility and role of higher education institutions in the process.
“In Finland, but also globally, there is an accelerating need to raise the level of digital literacy. Historically, we see that those who succeed best are those who embrace and take ownership of the new technology at an early stage”, Forsskåhl said in her opening speech.
At the same time, Forsskåhl stressed that we cannot be blind to the pace of change, but must stand firm in the face of accelerating change.
“In the end, it is the benefit for us citizens – people - and the whole world around us, that is the central issue, not digitalisation or efficiency per se. This is what we must hold on to as a UAS and as a social actor.”
Digitalisation raises the question of the UAS’s responsibility as an educational actor,' said Forsskåhl. A degree from Arcada should be synonymous with high competence and expertise. Graduates, the labour market and society should be able to rely on that.
Marcus Rantala, Chairman of the Board, also spoke about the major on-going changes in the world.
“Arcada should always be a pioneer and cannot be a passive bystander when it comes to new development. In difficult times, knowledge, science, and new sustainable solutions are key positive drivers”, Rantala pointed out in the greeting from the Board.
Ida Flemmich, chairperson of Arcada Student Union - ASK, greeted the new students and pointed out the importance of standing up for each other in times of uncertainty.
“Let's hope that we can build a common future together and have an impact on the things that are important to us, on a global, European, national or local level”, Flemmich said.
The Alum of the Year award was also presented for the first time during the opening ceremony. To mark the UAS’s 25-year history and to recognise the contributions of Arcada's 13,000 alumni in the society, Arcada will annually give out the award Alum of the Year.
The award is given to a person who is an inspiration to today's students and who demonstrates a broad commitment to Arcada. The 2022 Alumna of the Year is Johanna Stenback, who graduated from Arcada in 2003 as Bachelor of Culture and Arts.
Read the speeches from the event by opening the attachments below.