The autumn semester 2020 is beginning in unprecedented conditions. The amount of freshmen starting is biggest in years and the world is living under the realities of the corona pandemic. At the time of writing the situation in Finland is generally good, but the threat of a second wave looms and the amount of new infections have risen since the lull of the midsummer. Why does the student union organize events in such a situation?
The planning of AutumnWappu and the freshmen orientation weeks had two goals. Our new students get as good and as equal welcome as we’ve had for years to ensure the best student community in Finland. Also our second year almost Teekkaris and Kylteris deserve a worthy conclusion to their journey, signed by the student union. We’ve worked towards these goals with a clear limiting factor: it has to be safe.
To achieve this safety is upon all of us. Individual “superspreaders” have been in the headlines around the world and the same risk factor applies to our little safe haven. To avoid banning anything and everything fun, we hope that every participant of the AutumnWappu and orientation weeks commit to conduct themselves according to the current restrictions and common sense. Naturally we’ve done and continue to do everything we can as LTKY to ensure that the events are safe by design and the prerequisites for responsible actions exist. We felt that it is better for us to organize the event ourselves, so that we can have additional safety measures compared to people going en masse to the local pubs by themselves.
At the core of Skinnarila Spirit is taking care of eachother. During the pandemic this shows as social distancing, wearing masks and also as an atmosphere, where it is ok to remind others if they’re not acting responsibly. We’re all human and/or teekkaris, mistakes happen and some things might slip our minds when we’re filled with Wappu spirit. This is also an opportunity for self reflection; can we conduct ourselves even while intoxicated? I claim that we can and if this proves to be a problem, it might signal the need for some self-evaluating.
I’m myself guilty of feeling the urge to attend student events and Wappu very much. Last spring was supposed to be my Magnum Opus, after years of working with student culture I could leave my handprint in the annals of history. But in the end no teekkari or kylteri tradition nor any event is so vital, that as a consequence one of us or of our loved ones falls ill or even dies. Many of our beloved events have been cancelled or postponed and the remaining ones have been revamped but it does not mean that the Karelian teekaridom and kylteridom couldn’t have a worthy Wappu, including the baptism of the freshmen of the year 2019 that have waited for it so long.
The baptism on the 5th of September will be streamed, so others than the participants don’t need to attend in person. The baptism will be staggered and the queue will be supervised so as to maintain social distancing. There will be a separate baptism for those, who do not want to risk coming to the harbor. This will be an individual baptism, where the participants will be baptised with a down-to-the-minute- schedule at the boat slipway in Skinnarila. If you want to take part in this version or you feel like not attending at all, contact me at [email protected]. I will not have anyone’s title of teekkari or kylteri be denied just for taking care of your own and others’ health.
Even with such a heavy message, I want to wish everyone a fun, wild, responsible, first and hopefully last AutumnWappu!