It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
The epic clusterf*ck that has been the year 2020 has punished us all, no less the small student community here in Mikkeli. Nonetheless it has also brought us closer together. An enemy of my enemy truly is my friend.
Some wise man once said “Quality over quantity.” NESU-Probba however is an outstanding exception to this rule. Traditionally we have had ten (10) sits in a term, each more hype than the previous one. This year however our hand was forced to cut this down to four (4), but each one was a great success despite an uncertain and wayward year.
For the purpose of this text we will analyze our timeline from the summer of 2020, when every other school was on a summer break but we didn’t stop the madness here in Mikkeli. Our rigorous program’s Spring semester continues through the summer and our Baba’s need to unwind every now and then. Our classic outdoor Kesäsits were held in mid-August, with our soon-to-be second-years, a bunch of alumni and many ulkkarit. The Kesäsits were held at Kaihu beach and included great weather, warm sun, cold beer and swimmable waters. The theme was the infamous Tiger King-documentary and fittingly Carole Baskin, Joe Exotic and one of his husbands showed up to toast. These Sits also saw the traditional Summer cruise of the Mikkeli fraternity, McFreeriders across the Lake Saimaa.
Soon after this, the semester started with Orientation Week in late August. NESU-Probba has a long tradition to co-operate with Probba Ry to organize the O-Week Sits during this week and to participate in ‘Running Baba’, a “Fuksisuunnistus” type of event circling around Mikkeli. This brings many senior students from other cities and our own alumni to town. One of these guest stars was none other than the NESU-Finland President of 2020, Mr. Julius Gran, who spread the international NESU spirit for the freshmen and represented our ‘mother organizations’ interests on Mikkeli soil. While Running Baba was an astonishing success as always, we were sadly forced to postpone NESU’s main event, the Sits, to later in the year. Mikkeli suffered a brief Corona outbreak not long after and every other of our organizations had to move their plans further too.
When the dust had finally settled and the community had recuperated, NESU decided to take the first action to bring back some of the Mikkeli-Spirit. We introduced a new concept for Sits; A hybrid approach with contact and distance features. These spooky sits held at Halloween saw the venue and sits people divided into four different locations across Mikkeli. Each had only about 15-20 people in them to balance the event with social distancing principles. Every venue had their own toasts from the NESU-Probba board, so by now each of us have had the honor to share the mantle of the Toastmaster. The proggikset and sketches were pre-planned, distributed and rehearsed with all the Toasts, but still every Sits location had their own freedom to execute the event as they saw fit, in the given timeframe. Even our lovely alumni and third-years were able to participate in their own 20-minute segment through Zoom. Once again, NESU-Finland was represented by Probba’s very own enchantress Seela Suhonen.
The hybrid Sits were a great success as everyone really enjoyed themselves and the Sits flow was maintained regardless of the unusual circumstances. The feedback collected afterwards mirrored this, as all the comments were praising and understanding of the measures we took. Our own goal was to first and foremost introduce the Freshmen to the Sits culture and traditions. While these hybrid type of events will never do justice to the real thing, our goals were met with flying colors. Many of the freshmen were, surprisingly to us, so inspired that the NESU Info Evening we held later in the Fall gathered an unprecedented audience. We believe that this concept is highly applicable for other NESU cities too in the future;).
Now our future sights are set at the legendary NESU-Dagen that will be held in Mikkeli for the year 2021. As this is our chapter’s first time organizing this event, we are more than fully stoked to see this monument of effort, spirit and networking be realized in the following months. Our prayers go to that end, as we still cherish the faint spark of hope that we will be rid of this pandemic mess in the near future.
With bestest of regards,
NESU-Probba Board ‘20