Dear students, staff and friends of our university,
Today is a special day. For our new students, it marks the beginning of a new life with new routines – and maybe a new way of thinking. For the rest of our students, today means continuation – but also a new beginning with new challenges and new opportunities. For others present today – staff as well as external partners and collaborators – we would like to extend our sincere gratitude for your contributions to our university.
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to a new academic year at the University of Stavanger! And a special and warm welcome to the 455 new international students.
The years as a university-student are formative years. Most of us have experienced that we graduated from university as a different person – more mature, shaped and inspired by new knowledge and friendships. Now it’s your turn to set out on this exciting journey.
Rest assured that we will support you on your way. We hope you will thrive as a student at the University of Stavanger. Your academic success and well-being is as important to us as it is to you.
The University of Stavanger puts great emphasis on innovation in teaching and learning, - entrepreneurship and societal impact of research.
We are known for transferring insight and technology from the petroleum field to other fields – such as medicine and environmental-friendly energy solutions. This has been possible thanks to creative researchers and students who work hard to bring forward new and innovative ideas. Such as the UiS students who have used technology from the petroleum sector to create an automatic mattress that changes the patient’s position while the patient is asleep – the purpose of which is to avoid pressure ulcers. The mattress, Tidewave, is now close to being launched in Norwegian hospitals and nursing homes.
Also, one of our ph.d. students, an offshore technology graduate, started up with oil, but ended up developing a simulation software for the wind-power industry. In 2016, Ole-Eirik Vestøl Endrerud achieved a commercial breakthrough with his fast-growing company Shoreline.
«I’ve never tried that before, so I should definitely be able to do it». This quotation from Pippi Longstocking effectively sums up the thinking of a typical entrepreneur. The character Pippi Longstocking, or Pippi Langstrømpe, created by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, is famous for her strong will and determination. My advice to you is to bring out your willpower, to be ambitious in your studies and engaged in the student community. Find your perfect study spot on campus. Take breaks. Be social. Discuss your subject field and listen clearly to other arguments. Take part in dialogues and debates. That’s how you’ll learn who you are, what gets you going and what to pursue.
Internationalisation has always been important to the Stavanger region, and it is one of the cornerstones of the University of Stavanger. Today, internationalisation is perhaps more important than ever. For the challenges we face cannot be solved by any one person or one nation alone. We need to stand together if we are to solve the major challenges of our time: Climate change. Refugee crisis and mass migration. The battle for sustainable solutions.
In this respect, internationalisation concerns each and every one of us, but internationalisation is also important on a more personal level: International skills make you more attractive to future employers and gives you broader opportunities as an entrepreneur. You may learn a new language, and it gives you the pleasure and advantage of getting to know people with different backgrounds.
Therefore, we strongly encourage our Norwegian students to study abroad as part of their time at UiS. We offer several exchange programmes and will do our utmost to make sure your learning outcome will be relevant and valuable. Going abroad expands our perspective. It gives us a chance to gain new insight and knowledge, and inspires us to reflect on the justification of our own beliefs and values. That is an extremely valuable experience.
As a student you must do your own thinking. You must be critical and construct your own knowledge. Our professors and teachers will help you take ownership of the subject you study. And remember, studying is not only about memorising facts and blindly accepting what you hear or read. It is more about gathering evidence, analysing what you take in and arrive at your own conclusion. To seek knowledge is a lifelong pursuit in which it is important to stay curious, reflective and open-minded. Therefore, while you are a student at the University of Stavanger, do not be afraid to challenge the well-known and explore the unknown. As Pippi did, and in line with the motto of our university.
Finally, I want to thank the “Fadder festival board” and crew for working around the clock to make this opening day happen – and for making it possible for our students to meet and make friends with each other this first week.
Good luck on your journey! Use your opportunities! It starts here today!