The times they are a-changin’ – a letter to LTH's students
In spring 2020, we find ourselves in a situation that nobody has experienced before and that most people could never have imagined. The pandemic became a reality, the virus struck us and the whole world. Take care of yourselves and each other, writes Viktor Öwall, dean of LTH.
– Publicerad den 14 april 2020
Today I look out over a campus bathed in spring light, which should be full of students but is desolate and empty. It feels unreal and strange! We find ourselves in times that nobody expected to experience. The times they are a-changin', as Bob Dylan wrote.
Dylan was a big part of my own period as a student and his vinyl records spun around more often than not on the record player. A record player that was in constant use as music, concerts and partying were a major part of my life. The other day, I heard that the Roskilde Festival is cancelled; the festival that was a given destination for backpackers on their way out into Europe in the early 1980s.
In spring 2020, we find ourselves in a situation that nobody has experienced before and that most people could never have imagined. The pandemic became a reality, the virus struck us and the whole world. A shock and an historic event that we will never forget. Incomprehensible!
Society is mobilising to find solutions and different measures to ease the pain and the consequences. Naturally, our thoughts are with those who are suffering from the disease or who have family and friends who have been affected. It is a difficult and painful period for many.
However, at the same time we need to keep the societal wheels turning, slowly but surely.
LTH has switched to distance education and assessment. We are trying to adapt and find solutions that can give you the education you are fighting for as students.
Will the quality suffer? In the short term, yes, however, one course or one exam does not a programme make. I am convinced that we, with joint forces, can resolve this and can learn from it in a way that improves our programmes.
Everyone at LTH is working hard to ensure the quality is not affected, and we are working closely with the Engineering students’ union to achieve this.
I am impressed by the way both students and staff are dealing with the difficult situation. We are all different and see things in different ways, but the feeling is we understand and accept the situation. Quality, problem solving and pragmatism are guiding principles – as they should be at a LTH. You, our beloved students, are our highest priority!
I do not wish to moralise but I would like to give a few words of admonition:
Even if you feel strong, healthy and immortal, remember that the infection is out there.
Even if you do not personally have symptoms, you can infect others who may be more vulnerable. Therefore, follow the Swedish Public Health Agency’s recommendations!
Finally, an empty and desolate LTH is a depressing sight. To express it in the words of a colleague, which I usually quote at the graduation ceremony:
"A university without research is a bad university. A university without students is not a university."
The times are changing but this too shall pass. I hope to see you socialising and studying on campus again soon!
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Dean of LTH
At LTH there is a range of opportunities to participate in voluntary initiatives to assist, for example, the healthcare sector with different kinds of supplies that are needed. Helping others can sometimes make us feel better.