Rectors speech by the opening of the academic year 2019-2020, Volda University College

International students, international staff and guest lecturers, and our many international student festivals, add an extra dimension to our college and our community as a whole. It makes Volda that much more interesting and colourful. We are very happy that so many new international students have chosen to study here with us.

Travelling abroad means meeting new people, new ideas and new cultural expressions. We are starting this cultural safari of yours in Norway, today, by offering pieces of world music. Some of the music presented on this stage is Norwegian folk music. Created a long time ago by people in our region. And performed today by excellent young musicians, attached either to the region or to the college. The door is open. The music is playing. Now it is up to You.

We all wish you a warm welcome to Volda.
But is this the right expression to use? To wish for someone to have a “warm” welcome? For us people in the north, the word “warm” has traditionally only had positive connotations.

But is global climate change changing our language so that warm is no longer a good thing? On TV, the weather forecast no longer happily announce record high temperatures. The recent record high temperatures will be surpassed in the near future.

The UN sustainability goal no. 13 is to take action to combat climate change. How can we as students and academics contribute to meet this goal? One option is to sit back and hope for new technology to help us. But knowledge of global warming has been around for a long time and recent technical innovations have not been able to stop climate change.
The key is how we as human beings act on this knowledge. The key is our beliefs, thoughts and actions. What we learn in school, discuss in media, what we express through arts and culture, and what we emphasise in politics, planning and administration.

Education, media, arts and culture and planning and administration are some of the many fields of study at Volda University College (VUC). By becoming a student at VUC, you become a part of our academic society and our shared vision: Knowledge for the future. The future is not defined by finance and technology alone. The future is about people.
The weather forecast predicts some rain showers today and temperatures as low as 12 C. But after this record warm summer, I hope you will appreciate the cool autumn in Volda and some raindrops on your face.

Going “out” in Volda can refer to two things – either nature or culture. About this, let me give you a piece of advice close to my heart.

1) Keep doors and hearts open. Ask people how they are and care about the answer. Care for each other, whether on campus, at the student house or online!

2) Some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world surrounds us. Mountains and peaks, wild winds, and clean water – in abundance. The towns and villages here lie between the open sea and the wild mountains. The changing sea can be dangerous, and many lives have been lost in the mountains, this summer included.

Enjoy the beauty of our mountains and the sea – but be cautious and find out what is safe! Ask the locals!

We have many students, but none to spare.

Skrevet av

Johann Roppen

Professor dr.polit, rektor ved Høgskulen i Volda frå 1.8.2015.