Hello and a Happy New Year to you all.
As we start our second semester at King's, we welcome back all our students and offer a very warm welcome to our new King's students, as well as those of you who continue to study remotely.
Now, for many of you, your exams were in January – and I hope those have also gone well. As we start this new semester, I'm pleased that teaching is resuming in person and I'm looking forward to seeing you on campus again as you return not only to your classes but also to the cafes, the libraries and the study spaces – including this one, The Exchange at Bush House.
Now throughout the year, as well as being an informal study space, The Exchange hosts workshops and exhibitions created by students and academics from across King's. So, opening soon is Shots for Hope, which features images of sustainability created by our students and staff. I hope you will come around and see it
But as you come back to campus, we need your help to keep it safe. We have a very good monitoring and testing system in place, but we need your support to make it work. Therefore, all students and staff must wear a mask while indoors on campus. Wearing a face covering is compulsory inside all our buildings, including our teaching spaces and libraries, unless, of course, you're exempt. For students and staff coming to campus, you're expected to test twice a week when you're on campus – and if you're using Lateral Flow tests, please record your results properly via the GOV.UK website and make sure you get your free hot drink at King's Food with your negative test result proof. And finally, there is very strong evidence that boosters offer enhanced protection from serious illness. So, we encourage you to get your vaccines as soon as you can – and I have.
Now, it's not just important to be safe, it is even more important to look after yourself and each other, especially through these dark days of winter. Our virtual January Welcome to King's is taking place right now, featuring Life in London talks, campus tours and much more. For many of us the new year is also a time to reflect on our personal ambitions, to take stock and perhaps even start something new. So, 2022 might be the year for you to join a KCLSU society and try K-pop dance workshops, perhaps with the KCL Korean Hallyu Society, or join the KCL United Nations Association. Well you take your pick, you might even want to enhance your employability skills as a charity trustee through the Board Bank, or enter your world changing idea into the Policy Idol. You can find out more about all of these extracurricular opportunities we offer on these pages.
As a part of all of this, I'll be hosting King's alumna Josephine Phillips on Wednesday 19 January, for a virtual in conversation event. Now she is the founder and CEO of an alteration app, a clothes alteration app, Sojo, and a rising star on the London start-up scene. You're sure to find her inspiring, as I really do.
Now, while speaking of our great alumni, I must talk about the great one we have recently lost, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Archbishop Tutu studied theology at King's in the 1960s and was a fellow of King's College. He was a world leader in campaigning against apartheid and for race equality, and also a great supporter and campaigner for LGBT+ rights. Few have had as positive an impact on this world as Archbishop Tutu. He will be sorely missed.
But I don't want to leave you with that sombre news, I wanted to share with you a wonderful surprise. Right in the midst of winter around Christmas, a single cherry tree in the Maughan Library sprung into full bloom. Now I've tried to figure out how this happened. Some say it's a different species. Some say it's a warm winter. Some even say it's global warming. Now, I don't know what it is, but it is beautiful and uplifting and I make a point of walking past it every day.
So, I hope you have a successful start to 2022 and I encourage you to find some time between your studies to explore the world of opportunities we have at King's that go beyond academia. A warm welcome again and the very best wishes for a wonderful 2022.
Shots for Hope images credits:
Dulce Alarcon Yaquetto (Research Affiliate, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience) & Esther Lie (Volunteering Engagement Offer, King's College London)