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Greetings from Ikiteekkari: 'This is a huge test'

Krister Ahlström, honorary doctor and business influencer, urges the Aalto community members to preserve their social networks.
Krister Ahlström istumassa puutarhassa.

In the midst of wrenching changes caused by the coronavirus we should not lose sight of the common good, of the need to preserve our networks and our spirits.

Back in 1924, the Grim Bearded Engineer (Jämeräpartainen Insinööri) urged the students to have fun, but also to support the community. So he organised a Tempaus  (Activity) to collect money to finance Finland’s Olympic Team.  All subsequent Tempaus Activities had some social dimension, next was a children’s great party in the Messuhalli exhibition venue, then came others. In the summer of 1939, students and faculty participated in fortification work on the Karelian Isthmus, after the wars the Teekkarikylä, our student village, was built, then came projects to support  Finland’s economy, its exports and many, many  others.  Those were not always easy times, and the Grim Bearded Engineer always urged us not to forget our greater missions in life. And to have fun, i.e. to allow ourselves some selfishness.  He is, of course a myth, but he has inspired tech-students now for almost 100 years. His vision is still very relevant.

Now we are thrown into a crisis. What happens when the whole of Aalto University goes online, and we cannot meet our colleagues as much as before?  This is a huge social test, and I am afraid it might continue for months ahead. We, you my readers, are well-informed and self-motivated, and I am sure we cope pretty well with living online and confined to our homes. That is the ‘selfish’ part. We wash our hands as required, do social distancing, and brace ourselves for the inevitable major economic damage which remains after the corona subsides.

But do think about preserving your social networks, friendships and other contacts near and afar. And think about how you still can contribute to society as a whole. The Grim Bearded Engineer will notice and smile approvingly!

Ikiteekkari Krister Ahlström

Eternal Teekkari (Ikiteekkari) Krister Ahlström is a long-term influencer of Finnish business life. He is also, among others, honorary doctor in the field of arts. The title of Ikiteekkari and entitlement to use the Ikiteekkari chain is the most valuable token of honour in the technology students’ community. The title and chain of Ikiteekkari can only be awarded to a former member of the Student Union of Helsinki University of Technology or Aalto University Student Union, and it can be held by only one person at a time.

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