Benjamin Javitz - Authorbenjamin.email@example.com
Benjamin Javitz - Photographerbenjamin.firstname.lastname@example.org
How many student representatives does it take to start a new year at THS? KF, the Union Council, currently has 44 seats - and even though we missed a few chapters (namely Fria, IsB, OPEN, TBas and TT) in Nya Matsalen on Tuesday evening, the meeting promised to kick off the year with some bangers: a visit from KTH President Anders Söderholm & THS Inspektor Christer Fuglesang, elections, a 0,019hp course in economy and free food - what more could you want?
Important: since Union Council meetings are held in Swedish, all quotes in the article were originally in Swedish and have been translated to make the statements accessible to all readers.
What is the Union Council? KF (Kårfullmäktige) is the highest decision-making body of THS! With representatives from every chapter, KF makes decision regarding THS' budget, our statutes and policies and elects important positions in our student union (among others the Union President, Vice President and entire Union Board. You can read more about KF and find out about the next meetings here: https://ths.kth.se/en/about-ths/union-council
18:02 - With not even 2 minutes delay, Teo Elmfeldt, current Speaker of the Union Council, opens the first meeting of the highest body of THS and his excitement gets even the last chapter representatives munching on the burgers served earlier to listen up! Going through the formalia, Teo explains how the meeting will work and what the audience can expect. Some sad news: Frida Grönberg & Carl Hedin have decided to resign from the election committee.. which leaves Vendela, Arthur, Amanda, Arvid (all previously in the THS Management Team), Amandus & Cecilia to carry the torch. They have a lot to do, with Management Team elections coming up soon (apply here: https://ths.kth.se/en/Apply-THS)!
18:10 - KTH President Anders Söderholm on stage! He has promised to come to every KF-01 (so the first meeting of every year), and today he’s speaking about the importance of student influence, our reception (“We have one of the best receptions in Sweden at KTH! A big thank you to everyone that is involved!”) as well as how industry and government impacts education at KTH - and how he and the management at KTH have to find a balance between what outside forces want and what students would like to study.
He also goes into detail about the current “campusöversyn” (campus review): KTH spent a bit too much during covid (along with inflation, rent increases of 15-20% and exploding energy costs) - and now needs to figure out which campus is the least controversial to close 😲 Not to mention that Mommy and Daddy (aka M, KD & L) keep reducing our lunch money every year, so it’s time to cut some losses.
Interestingly, Anders focuses on KTH Kista and Södertälje in his speech. KTH will try to come to a decision about this in November: does it make sense to move most or all KTH operations and programs from Kista & Södertälje to the main campus and to Flemingsberg? “We don’t want money to move from education to premise costs. [...] The campus review is one option that we’re exploring.” - “We won't move our operations away from Södertälje and Kista if that isn't good for our operations! And if we end up having to move our operations away from Södertälje and Kista, we want to improve them at the same time.” KTH is also optimizing big parts of the University Administration (Verksamhetsstöd) to cut down costs.
There is another option KTH wants to explore: increasing the amount of students that are put through education. Either by offering more exam opportunities and increasing the speed at which students can finish their education (hence the wonderful word “genomströmning”/”throughput”..) or by just taking in more students and thereby receiving more money from the Swedish government.
“This is a difficult situation. We won't go bankrupt, and we do have a catalogue of measures we are working on. I believe that it’s part of my job that you don’t notice anything about these issues and that your education won't be impacted.”
18:28 - Now it’s time for all-time favourite Christer Fuglesang to take the stage. Along with being a professor at KTH, his greatest achievement has of course been to be chosen as Inspektor of THS! Oh, and going to space.
As Inspektor, Christer is now going into his third and last mandate period and is tasked to check our decisions against Swedish law and interpret THS Statutes if there are ever any big disagreements that need adult supervision to clear up!
Christer doesn’t leave before handing over a present to THS President Niklas Carlbaum - a signed copy of his new book “Astronautens guide till galaxen”!
18:34 - Teo’s little THS introduction for the new members of the Union Council! The slides look “a little bit complicated” , but we dive into governing documents and organizational structures nonetheless. “Top, va? Nu blir det ännu torrare!” (Great, right? Now it’ll get even drier!), Teo says, and starts talking about policies and operational directives 😴 “Any questions? Everything crystal clear? Awesome!,” he exclaims to confused silence in the room.
18:41 - Next we have an introduction from John Kåberg, chief-of-staff for THS. He asks “Why staff?” and explains the different permanent employees we have at THS - “So that’s us! We work here, many of us have been here for a long time. I could be a bit provocative and say: Welcome to our house!”
18:50 - Oh my god, the reports never end. Karl from the Union Board explains what they’ve been up to. Preparing for the elections of the Management Team, starting to look at investigating possibly extending Nymble, developing work around the work environment at THS and some more.
18:57 - It’s John again! Earlier this year, KF approved a 5,2 million SEK renovation of the restaurant kitchen in Nymble. Not much of the construction was visible, but it was actually finished in time before the reception started - and ended up costing 900 000 SEK less than anticipated. The restaurant now (finally) has a kitchen with the capacity to produce the 350-400 lunches they sell every single day - without having to store and prep in other rooms and hallways in the building and with the working space needed for our employees there.
Interestingly, there was one day during construction where the construction disturbed a spex rehearsal in Nya Matsalen (by the English Improv Theater Club), and John decided to ask the workers to take a break. “They said: “that’s gonna cost!” But we considered the student event to be more important”
19:20 - After a short break, KF discusses how they want to hold meetings, votes and decisions this year. If you’re interested, take a look at the meeting documents here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1SlZPIybyY4yKZsvC2f_7Rr9dw0u55e4z
You’ll find an agenda and all the meeting documents there, and can read up on what happened during the meeting. KF will also use VoteIT this year, an online voting system adapted for these kinds of meetings. If you or your association is looking for something like that, reach out to Teo at email@example.com, he’s happy to help!
Another super important point in the meeting order for KF: “Bastu till folket!!”/”Sauna to the people!” - Teo is tasked to always make sure the sauna in Nymble is open after every meeting.
At 19:36 we’re done - For anyone that was here for KF-01 in 22/23: this discussion was about 5 hours shorter than last year!!!! Woohoo so efficient 😀
19:43 - now we’re discussing the new THS budget for the year. And we start with a 0,019hp course in THS economy! After that, it’s time for questions:
“Where in the budget is the restaurant renovation?” - Sofia seems a bit unsure where the 5,2 million went 😳 It is actually in there as a depreciation, which means we will reflect it in the budget with 250 000 SEK per year over the next 20 years instead of putting the whole sum in this year.
Comment from Erik, previous Head of Business Relations at THS and now representative for D-chapter: “Budget looks great! If we change the sponsorship budget from -1 million to +1 million it looks awesome! Mats [THS Head of Sponsorships & Strategic Partnerships) is smart so that can definitely work!”
Decision from KF: budget approved!
20:16 - Next point on the agenda is the election of a new member of the Speaker’s Presidium for KF. Teo is currently alone even though he is supposed to have a Vice Speaker by his side and a Secretary to document the meetings. The only candidate unfortunately isn’t approved, mainly based on the fact that they don’t speak Swedish.. Teo is asked about his opinion: “the only thing I can say is that it would not reduce my workload as Speaker significantly to have a non-Swedish speaker as Vice Speaker”. Considering that KF operates completely in Swedish unless someone requests an interpreter to translate every statement, that’s not unexpected.
20:35 - Fika break! We tried to take a photo of a whole muffin, but they disappeared too quickly, so here’s a few crumbs. “These muffins are amazing, so fresh!", says Adrian, THS Auditor (also currently alone in his post - reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining him!). Thank you Restaurang Nymble for the great food!
20:45 - Second to last point on the agenda: Filip Axelsson has been working on a document called “THS Views” that described what THS should argue for or against when we talk to KTH about all the different aspects of education, campus life at KTH and more. He asks for feedback to make sure the document will be based on students’ wishes: how much should this document cover on the spectrum from “Only questions about education” to “Should we really have a king or not?” - probably somewhere in the middle. Who should be involved in the revision of the document? “Probably as many students as possible”
21:15 - Last but not least: THS wants to produce its first official songbook since 1995! Erik from the songbook committee argues that a new songbook would encourage common events, common song, gasque and student culture among all the chapters. A short workshop follows, and Erik takes home feedback about how to include different chapters’ traditions and versions of different songs, English translations, electronic or printed versions of the book and more.
21:32 - And now, only 3,5 hours later, Teo declares the end of the meeting and bangs the speaker’s hammer on the table for one last time tonight. Believe it or not, this was one of the most efficient KF meetings in a while. Many decisions, a lot of information, and almost no delays - lots of reasons to celebrate!