Every autumn, 6,000 new students embark on transformative educational journeys at KTH. They are welcomed into their academic world through the reception. The biggest annual student event in Stockholm by a wide margin. But how big is the reception, and what does it cost?
I spoke with the Reception Council, comprised of some 70 heads of reception who plan the reception for a whole year. Together, we came up with estimations to answer that question. 12.1 million SEK is the short answer. Note that this is a very conservative figure as it does not consider any expenses incurred by newly admitted students, such as payments for gasques or other parties. For perspective’s sake, 12.1 million SEK is very close to the operational cost of all of Handel’s student union SASSE during a typical year (around 15 million SEK).
Of this figure, 53.4%, or about 6.5 million SEK, comes directly from the chapters. 31.3% of which is financed through the chapter’s operations and KTH grants. The rest, around 2.7 million SEK, or 22.1%, comes directly from reception-related sponsorships. THS Central contributes another 2.2 million SEK, or 18.1%. Ordered by magnitude, this sum is spent on the International Reception, THS remunerations, administrative costs, internal Nymble renting costs and upkeep, as well as the Reception Council.
The reception is a collaborative effort between THS and KTH. Demonstrating this fact is the remaining 28.5%, or 3.5 million SEK, which are contributions by KTH. Counted towards this sum is the education for reception functionaries, the Welcome Ceremony in Stadshuset, rental costs for KTH premises, and roll call (upprop) for national students.
KTH knows the value that the autumn reception holds and is well aware that they would never have the resources to organise a reception even close to the scale of the current one without help from students. In total, the reception engages 1,500 functionaries who together put in nearly 320,000 hours to make the reception happen. That is well over 36 YEARS, or 53 hours per newly admitted student. Working typical office hours, it would take a single employee 177 years to match that amount of work. All functionaries are volunteers, but if they were to be employed and compensated per KTH’s hourly rate for students, it would cost another 63 million SEK.
Monetarily speaking, this means that the reception has a value of around 75 million SEK. But the truth is that the reception is a priceless investment for the future of our union and student life at KTH. The level of student engagement in chapter and union activities at our university is unparalleled in Stockholm, perhaps even Sweden. And we at THS firmly believe that our reception is a key driving factor in this.