Half time! The first semester of the academic year 2020/2021 has passed and so has the first half of the term of office for the UPS Board and the UPS financial year. A semester that of course was largely characterized by covid-19, but also by new meetings, dear reunions and zoom engagement. To give all of you members an insight into what has been going on both in various zoom rooms and initially the “real” world, here is a small summary.
One week before the start of the semester, the usual UPS welcoming week started, and what a success it was! UPS received more new students than ever during the welcoming week with the theme “back to reality” and despite the distance kept between the teams, the atmosphere and the enthusiasm were impossible to miss. Thanks to all the friendly new students, buddies, chief buddies and of course our fantastic generals Alva, Elsa, Tove and Sara who made the week possible. The Master’s committee also arranged a welcoming week for the newly admitted master’s students and we were also extra happy to receive 32 exchange students for UPS.
Once the semester started, UPS also started its regular operations. The seminar rooms at Gamla Torget were (responsibly) filled during the committees’ start-up meetings, the Sports and Activity Committee broke records in the number of activities during a week with the hike, start up-meeting, football training, and buddy – reccematch, and Polmagasinet handed out its first issue already during the welcoming week! New or previously less active groups also started up after the summer – UPS ‘own choir PolCapella and our beloved equality officials resumed the spring’s important initiative to start their activity group. We even managed to arrange a gasque in a customized format and for an evening enjoy the UPS ‘own band and spex-group!
On October 20, the UPS board decided to suspend all physical activities for the time being and only conduct online activities – a very difficult decision, of course, but which was considered necessary in view of the new restrictions. At present, the association’s activities are covered by the so-called “covid-19 law”, which limits participants to physical activity to 8 people in association or university premises, and the association follows developments closely. However, this has not prevented us from arranging activities. The Contact Committee and Committee of Education arranged a popular zoom election night watch party for the american election and later hosted the popular “på-spåret” quiz and this year’s digital “Networking Day” arranged by Networking Day’s project group.
Our dear Polriks representative Vera von Otter has also represented UPS in the umbrella organization for all bachelor degree programs in political science – Polriks that during the semester has put together two very interesting lectures. The Radio Committee “late lunch with pk” has made sure to keep us updated on the latest domestic political events, the Communication and Marketing Committee has equipped us with the iconic UPS pullover, the Event and Culture Committee has helped us get the Christmas spirit through their Advent calendar and UPS collected 11 800 SEK for the “Musikhjälpen”.
A lot of work has also been done within the organization. The Department of Political Science has for some time been dealing with a financial deficit, against which the so-called “future group” has submitted proposals for action. UPS has been represented on the department board by the Committee of Education and, together with the Uppsala Student Union, has pressed for the solution that benefits our members the most. As the situation looks now, it will mean changes in the course political science A’s seminar structure and perhaps some other changes to the A-course which will be noticed during the next autumn term.
Within the board, work has also taken place on UPS’s structure and organization, which has resulted in work on an alcohol and drug policy that will be presented at the annual meeting. A project group focusing on sponsorship issues has also begun its work with the aim of structuring how the association works with sponsors in the future. On October 25, UPS also held its first digital extra membership meeting and filled all of the association’s vacancies! I do not think we could have gotten a better response to that the association’s work is appreciated and is important for our members. A big THANK YOU to everyone who gets involved in the association and who helps us other members to create the best possible study time!
So what happens now? Of course, this year of activity has not been what either of UPS’s trustees or members expected – we are in a crisis in the way that our primary operations – arranging activities where our members can meet and get to know their fellow students, is not possible to conduct in the way as it has been before. BUT that does not mean that we do not do everything in our power to find new ways to do just that. This week, UPS launched its discord – a new opportunity to communicate with other members and hopefully get to know someone new. The general application and planning for the welcoming week 2021 has begun, the committees have planned for zoom yoga, zoom quiz, exciting lectures and much more! In addition, preparations have already begun for the UPS annual meeting to be held in May, where a new board and new elected representatives will be elected. When the conditions make it possible to meet again physically, we will be the first to make it happen!
I would like to end with a call to seize the opportunities that actually exist to participate in activities – remember that UPS exists for the sake of its members and how important social activities are for our mental health!
Hoping that we can soon see each other outside the zoom rooms,
Your President, Hanna Persson