Digital celebration for students who remained over the holidays
For many international students, the pandemic this winter ensured that there was no going home for the holidays, so a group students from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science pulled together and created a digital grab bag of activities to lift their spirits and ring in the New Year.
Alexandra Leyton, a communication officer for the school, tapped the school’s student ambassadors to come up with “something fun to help reduce the students’ isolation” during the break.
“At an early stage, we feared that the Christmas and New Year holidays would be particularly lonely for this group of students, given the ongoing pandemic,” Leyton says. “The students really felt the need to meet other people, and Zoom should not be underestimated as a tool for promoting social interactions. In this day and age, it has become a new way of hanging out, after all. We noticed a lot of students opening up and putting themselves out there.”
The ambassadors organised a raft of competitions and games, such as “draw and guess”, quizzes in Kahoot, online gaming days, and screenings of, among other things, Sweden’s cherished Donald Duck Christmas Special. The various EECS student sections also contributed with a virtual escape room through Zoom, where participants had to solve different tasks together. Additionally, a coronavirus-safe outdoor treasure hunt was organised in the Lappis area, in which individual students would look for hidden treasure around their surroundings.
Mandar Joshi, a master’s student in Information Technology was one about 60 students who participated in the activities. “I though these festivities were really fun,” he says. “I got to see, speak to, solve questions with and compete with people from around the world. It really illustrated the diversity among the students at KTH.
Joshi says that after having used Zoom for almost a year, participating in the digital competitions was second nature. “The most fun activity was the digital escape room, where the various student sections at EECS had set up different tasks online for us to solve as a group,” he says.
KTH Innovation also spiced up the holidays with a special innovation challenge aimed at those staying in Stockholm. The brief was to submit an innovation that addresses sustainability during the holiday season.
“We thought those who can’t go home would appreciate an outlet for creativity and an opportunity to work together,” says Lisa Bäckman, marketing and communications responsible for KTH Innovation. “It was inspiring to see the innovative spirit at KTH in action – a real gift in return!”