Arcada University of Applied Sciences' opening of the academic year gathered around a hundred first-year students, staff and invited guests on campus. The event was also streamed online.
Arcada's Rector Mona Forsskåhl opened the academic year 2023-2024. In her speech, she emphasized the need for tolerance, inclusion and the ability to listen.
“In Finland and the other Nordic countries, we have a long tradition of openness and equality. We should, however, not trick ourselves into believing that we have reached the ultimate end destination. There are vulnerable groups who may not even realise that higher education is within reach. Every young person holds great potential, and we cannot afford to lose a single one of them.”
Forsskåhl also criticised the public debate where racist statements from elected officials have been allowed to pass without consequences.
“Higher education institutions that are international are also viable and strong institutions that benefit the entire higher education community and society at large. Racism and any other form of extremism is something we at Arcada condemn in all its forms. Our values include working for an environment and a world that is based on equality, justice and respect for everyone regardless of background.”
Respect and encouragement
Marcus Rantala, Chairman of the Board, also spoke about the importance of treating everyone with respect.
“Science, innovations, and a dynamic business life needs internationalism and an open society. To be successful we need new influences and ideas - we need to be open to cultures, humans, and thoughts. Finland should be a welcoming country and an attractive place to study, to work, to invest, to do research and to form a family and live in” Rantala emphasised in the Board's greeting.
The greeting to the new students from Abbe Karlsson, Chairperson of Arcada Student Union – ASK focused on the importance of getting involved and standing up for what you believe in.
“Student associations and the student union are the heart of our academic community. By participating, you can develop leadership skills, network with like-minded people and work with other students to improve our UAS. It's an opportunity to be part of something bigger.”
Inauguration of Arcada Health Tech Hub
The opening of the academic year also marked the kickoff for Arcada Health Tech Hub, the new knowledge centre for health technology. At the centre, end users, students, researchers and professionals co-create new health technology solutions for rehabilitation and health care.
During the opening ceremony, guests were able to experience what everyday life and the environment can be like with a disability and try different simulations in the environment under the guidance of students and researchers.
Alumna of the year is Nina Brännkärr-Friberg
During the opening of the academic year, Arcada hands out the annual Alum of the Year award. The award goes to a person who is a source of inspiration for today's students and who shows a broad commitment to Arcada. Alumna of the Year 2023 is Nina Brännkärr-Friberg, Bachelor of Engineering from the programme Production Management.
Read the speeches from the event by opening the attachments below.