“HA Almen,” shouts Dana Minbaeva, Professor and Vice President for International Affairs at CBS, from the podium at Tivoli Hotel’s congress hall.
Clapping, shouting and whistles follow from the new HA Almen students.
“I have high hopes for you. Digital Management,” continues Dana Minbaeva.
A large group of students stand up, clapping and whistling loudly.
“International Business and Politics,” she shouts.
Students start shouting from the balcony: “Who are we? IBP! Who are we? IBP!”
2,935 new bachelor students were invited to the first official day at CBS, also known as Responsibility Day, at Tivoli Hotel.
The day saw a string of speeches, including one by HRH Crown Princess Mary, who asked the new students to remember that, “we all have a responsibility for our common future,” and that “it is not a responsibility we can choose to take – it is simply one we have.”
She encouraged the new students to speak up if they have an idea to improve their surroundings.
“Remember that the greatest takeaway of responsibility is that you a have voice and it can be heard,” she said.
Responsibility came up again and again during the speeches, including the speech given by EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. But how do we – the students and CBS – avoid paying lip service to the word ‘responsibility’?
Gregor Halff, the Dean of Education, has previously described Responsibility Day as a tradition that teaches students about values and how to create value. It’s about taking responsibility. And one way of doing that is to ask three questions.
“You can put the word responsibility into action by asking three questions, basically: How does a specific decision impact others? How does it impact others that I don’t know or can’t ask? How do I make the people around me ask the first two questions as well?” says Gregor Halff.
Listening to others creates better decisions
After Margrethe Vestager’s speech, the students and staff were able to ask the Commissioner questions. Quick off the mark, Dana Minbaeva asked what skills students should acquire in order to enter the future job market.
“No matter how hard you study, you can’t know everything. So make sure you listen to other people who have different skills and competencies than you. Together you can establish a strong foundation for taking decisions,” replied Margrethe Vestager, who was also asked what she thinks about Donald Trump and his hairstyle.
“We are setting the direction”
The new students also got a few words of inspiration from CBS Students, the student union at CBS. They started out their speech by asking new students to come clean by standing up if the following simple questions applied to them.
1: How many of you have hit the snooze button even though you had to get up in the morning?
2: How many of you have made up an excuse, so you didn’t have to go to an event?
3: How many of you have lied to your parents?
4: How many of you have crossed the street on red?
Nearly everyone stood up for all the questions, and Nima Sophia Tisdall, Chairman of the board of CBS Students, and Djanour Issilam, Vice President of CBS Students, wanted to make a point out of it.
“Maybe you’re wondering why we’re asking you to be honest about such small things. We do these things and think that they don’t hurt anyone. But they can turn out to have an impact we didn’t foresee,” says Nima Sophia Tisdall.
Both Djanour Issilam and Nima Sophia Tisdall asked the new students that they lead the way to a better tomorrow, and told them that they are here to drive change.
“We are setting the direction of the future. We are facing major challenges, and we need to do even better than the ones before us. And that starts with events like this, it starts at CBS, and it starts with us,” said Djanour Issilam, Vice President at CBS Students.