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When I say KTH you say…? Tech, university, good, bad, stressful, accomplished. Everything and anything. But KTH is Valhallavägen, Flemingsberg, Kista, and Södertälje. It’s masters, bachelors, medicine, tech, business and innovation, or so that’s what we’re told.
KTH is more than just the buildings on Valhallavägen, we have 3 other campuses students reside in, the ones known as the ort-campuses. But how does this work out when the center of all student activities is Valhallavägen? All the events, most chapters, and the heart of the school? When THS operates out of Valhallavägen and does its bidding there.
What is it like to study outside of the main campus and what’s their relationship with THS? Well, I decided to go around to the different ort-campuses and have a chat with the presidents and representatives of the respective chapters. This is what they had to say.
The bright light of my tablet screen illuminates my face as I’m scrolling down my notes app reading over the questions I’ve prepared for this moment. The smell of a newly cracked energy drink and coffee envelops the room that is OL’s office. Colorful art and the huge OL logo adorn the wall facing the windows screaming out their presence to the world. I hear the door creak open and I look up to see a guy with a small frame and a huge smile walk in, and realize this is Hugo Augustsson, the President of Ingenjörssektionen Flemingsberg, or IsF for short. I introduce myself and he takes a seat, extremely thankful and seemingly excited for this opportunity presented to him.
IsF is the chapter that entails all of the Flemingsberg campus. It's the combined chapter for the 6 programs available for students there with 8 different committees. Traditions at IsF mirror those of other chapters and the difference between the two are not as grave as you’d imagine.
Despite operating out of Flemingsberg, Hugo spends a lot of time at Valhallavägen and something he loves in his own campus is how familiar it is in comparison to Valhallavägen. Flemingsberg campus is located in one building with multiple floors students use, everything is close and comforting and not as confusing as main campus, Hugo says.
I ask him about the relationship IsF have with THS and what that looks like, and here he emphasizes the fact that he’s been newly elected and doesn’t fully have the means to answer this question yet. He says that THS was very forthcoming and helpful during the reception, more so than he thought they would be. They were available to answer any questions and queries, as well as attending their meetings and their Nollegasque.
However, the communication between THS and IsF is lacking, Hugo says. Information regarding events and meetings is hard to come by if you’re not a part of the many email chains or have an ear to the ground. In Nymble there are posters and advertisements for the many chapters' events all over the place and that kind of exposure is lacking for and to IsF. He wishes there was more information available online that was accessible to both the students and chapters so everyone can be included.
He feels that being a part of an ort-campus is great, but it also means having to fight a little extra to get your voice heard and get the same attention as the chapters on site.
Hugo mentions that they currently have a member that’s previously been a part of the THS Management Team and find it's gotten better, but that theirs is a unique case.
He wants to underline that the campus being in Flemingsberg isn’t the problem, but that of the people involved with THS and the effort and communication shown toward the orts-campuses.
My thoughts and questions quiet down as he leaves us with that last tidbit as the interview wraps up and he exits the room with a big smile on his face.
If you want to know more about IsF you can visit their website. They have their pubs every Friday at 17:00 with their mästeri. The chapter operates as its own family, something that makes them stick out, Hugo mentions. They’re always happy to collaborate and work with the other chapters and work toward creating fun opportunities for all.
It’s cold as hell, but it reads as 3 degrees with the sun out today. ”Hey that’s Sweden!” I typically say when someone mentions the weird fluctuating February weather. Today’s the day I’m talking to the most forgotten campus of them all, Södertälje. A cookie in hand, and my brain on alert, I scroll through my notes app once again waiting for my interviewees to walk in. The clock strikes 12:15 and I know it's time to work when I see two tall guys outside the door. They introduce themselves as Oskar Lundberg, president of Telge Teknologsektion, and Emil Wik, studienämndsordförande (SNO) representative.
In Södertälje there are 3 programs available in their newly renovated building, the familial atmosphere comforting in contrast to the cold big halls of Valhallavägen.
Telge Teknologsektion, or TT for short, is a small chapter with 5 committees. Being such a small chapter does come with drawbacks, Oskar explains, they don’t have enough older students, or faddrar in Swedish, for their reception. And the majority of students who involve themselves in TT have their time is split between two campuses which hasn’t allowed for many traditions to form either.
The lack of tradition allows them a lot of freedom in running their chapter though, says Emil. Oskar agrees: he became chapter president despite only being in his second year!
I mention THS and their role at TT, the forgotten chapter, Emil says. Nymble meetings revolve around Valhallavägen, nothing applicable to the ort-campuses. They’re invited, but not included. Their SNO relationship with THS goes a long way though, Emil says. The time Emil and Oskar spend at Valhallavägen allow them to absorb information about events that are going on and that’s how they keep up. I reflect back on Hugo's perception that it’s a disadvantage not having ears on the ground for the information to be reached out to all audiences, or in this case both IsF and TT.
The disappointment hangs thick in the air, and I wonder about solutions they have. Meetings about orts-campuses, THS presence at chapter meetings, dedicated information spread about and to TT, an office at Nymble and an Ortscampus day in the same vein as the THS union day are all points Oskar brings up.
Although, they do both praise the efforts of Valborgpubsrundan where they had a big engagement the previous year and something they’re looking forward to this year.
Södertälje is a familial campus where eryone has their place to be themselves. TT might be small, but it has a lot of life and energy to give out to its members. They have their pubs every Friday, as well as an upcoming event called Olympiska Spelen that you can find out more about on their social media.
My glasses are coated in fog as soon as I enter Kistas campus, wet and cold from the snowstorm outside. I’m immediately impressed at the size of the campus, as someone who hasn’t stepped in here once I’m intrigued. I call the number of my interviewee and see a blond girl coming out of a room to greet me. It’s Linnéa Wahl, president of the JML committee and board member of IN-Sektionen at Kista.
We sit down in a small, brightly lit project room and start the interview. Linnéa starts to talk about Kista and her bubbly personality is contagious, I can’t help but to get excited with her.
Linnéa explains that Kista campus holds 3 Swedish taught programs with an international bachelor, as well as many different masters. Their chapter, IN-Sektionen, has been around for a long time and is actually one of the biggest chapters THS has. IN-Sektionen have 6 committees and 2 Qlubbmästerier, which one might find surprising and unique at an ort-campus. It’s a very active chapter.
I prod into what their THS relationship is like and Linnéa speaks to me about her experiences from a JML president's perspective. It’s easy to miss information about THS events and meetings if you’re not a part of the correct email chains, which are many and confusing Linnéa says. Meeting times are also inconvenient for an ort-campus with times like 17.30 when it takes at least 45 minutes to commute into the main campus from Kista, not to mention places like Södertälje. A great solution to this would be for the availability of a Zoom link for those not able nor have the time to commute that time.
Linnéa thinks it's sad that they’re not as heard nor seen, and she thinks people’s stereotypes of students at ort-campuses hurt the overall student life quota. Although she makes it a point to mention that the Valborgpubrunda has done wonders for their chapter marketing and the previous year was a huge success. She also agrees that having an ort-campus day would be a great idea for the further exposure of the chapters.
Linnéa makes it a point to bring up THS and its event communication where student life at Kista is well known around Kista but most things THS are a questionmark.
The reception is something incredibly vital for the chapter, as they’re planning it all year long, and Linnéa thanks the efforts of marketing their chapter to its success and its sheer size and membership. THS matches them in the engagement and has members present for the reception and their gasques, although their chapter meetings often miss a THS representative.
She paints the aura of Kista as being relaxing with less stressed energy to be in this building compared to when she commutes to Valhallavägen. She urges people to join the chapter with their various committees, 2 pubs a week, and fun events. She also mentions coming to see them on the 23rd of April for Valepubsrundan!
I can clearly see a theme between these 3 interviews, and I’m sure you can as well. THS has to become better with its communication. Did you know about all of these things on these campuses? I’m sure you didn’t, I surely didn’t know. And I think that’s the problem. Certain events, dates and problems are made more of a big deal than others on THS and its not a good look for a supposedly inclusive student body. We all deserve the same amount of effort being put in, regardless of the campus you choose to study at.
So what is it, KTH or Valhallavägen?