Anyone working or studying at the Ecole hotelière de Lausanne will agree that campus life is an integral part of the EHL experience. A walk around the F&B outlets in the central part of the building inevitably entails bumping into people, swapping ideas, hatching plans - in brief, making things happen! With the quick transition to remote learning, virtual classrooms and a campus on strictly reduced capacity, the fertile hub of human interaction at EHL has inevitably been impacted - but it's far from being diminished.
Reduced but still thriving
The school has worked hard to keep its 125-year old reputation intact, both for hospitality education excellence and for the dynamic, interconnectivity among all its players. The Covid measures have meant that a reduced number of people are allowed on campus at the same time. Students and staff are allocated regular days where they are authorized on site. This has enabled the campus experience to continue breathing, admittedly with fewer people but all with the same vibrant intentions.
The campus remains an incredibly dynamic place to regularly meet friends and colleagues - yes, we're all wearing masks and respecting the distances - but we can still meet to exchange news and views. Most of the convivial campus food stations are open with a well-spaced out array of seating possibilities, making it a wonderful place to catch up over a coffee or lunch.
The Michelin-starred training restaurant, Le Berceau des Sens, has continued to welcome the Preparatory Year students to spend 10 days working in its renowned fine dining environment. In lockdown the restaurant has only been open to EHL staff but training has been in full effect despite the enforced masks and social distancing measures. Thankfully, coronavirus has not managed to reduce the elegance and deliciousness of the food.
Life on campus with increased safety
EHL has put in place many initiatives to ensure the safety of students and staff on campus. Masks are mandatory for everyone unless when eating or drinking. Contactless payment systems have been installed for all food & beverage purchases.
Furthermore, all across campus, hand sanitizing stations are readily available and social distancing is enforced in classrooms and study areas. Alternative study hubs separated by makeshift walls and plexiglass have been set up around campus to ensure everyone has a safe spot to work from. We are fortunate to have such a large and well-laid out building as our main facility, within which many self-contained study spaces have been created. These measures are fundamental in ensuring a safe campus that students can feel comfortable in.
Work experience and internship opportunities
The EHL spirit of teamwork and family has continued to support students at this difficult time in their search for jobs and internships. Thanks to the EHL network, many students have benefited from guidance and internship offers from our strong alumni base and industry partners.
EHL Alliance, in charge of forging links and partnerships in all areas of business, has worked especially hard in underlining the transferable skills that EHL students possess, making them a valuable asset in many neighboring sectors such as finance, consulting and healthcare. Furthermore, EHL has been able to organize online Career Fairs as well as a Master’s day to support internship and job searches as well as further education options. It has been imperative for students to continue networking and engaging with industry leaders throughout the pandemic.
The rise of virtual events
Over 1500 students and faculty attended 29 virtual conferences last year which demonstrates the incredible opportunities that the school was able to set up. Many students at EHL are part of the vibrant and varied community of student committees. Committees are a wonderful place to meet with different year groups and collaborate together. Students have come up with innovative ways to keep their committees active throughout the pandemic.
“In less than 48 hours, The EHL Photo Committee managed to organize an entire online event to send out postcards during the school quarantine. Over 100 postcards were sent from EHL students and we managed to raise the spirit of the students and help foster the interaction within the EHL Family”. Louis Triomphe, 2020 President of EHL Photo.
“For EHL Recap/Students Helping Students SHS we developed a new website so students can access our course material more easily, we made our events free and moved them online onto Microsoft Teams. We adapted our review material for students to be able to understand it without having to attend a live session and recorded our events so that anyone could access them at any time. Furthermore, we are bringing back the Buddy Program because now more than ever it’s important for new students to feel connected to campus”. Rachel Glenn President of EHL Recap/SHS.
“The last Young Hoteliers Summit (YHS) conference was adapted to online format in just one week. We still managed to pull off a virtual conference that reached a wider audience than we otherwise would have been able to accommodate in the Aula. We could also book speakers who were previously unable to physically attend the summit. For the next conference we are working to provide a full experience and create various “hubs” to mimic what the conference would look like if it was on campus. Here is a link to YHS website if you want to learn more about it: https://www.yhsglobal.com”. Ilona Churkina, Member of YHS.
"For myself and hundreds of other EHL students who have graduated in the last year, I don't think we could ever have imagined that our journey would culminate in an online livestream and to receive our degrees in the mail. But as the digital natives that we are, we certainly didn't miss out on enjoying the ceremony and celebrating with one another virtually. There were also the small touches, from the Microsoft Teams-themed yearbook to personalized messages from our friends that made this graduation a truly memorable occasion. If you ask me, the EHL spirit has been very much alive even throughout these strange times." Kimberly Yoong, recent graduate.
"The nature of the EHL Mountain Committee is all about living outdoor adventures together. The Covid regulations have thus had a significant impact on our ability to organize events the way we we used to and have consequently pushed us to explore the digital side of the mountain world. We have remained engaged with the student body through Kahoot games and our Instagram account. We are currently working on more exciting online projects and are intensively preparing to be the first off the mark when outdoor activities are permitted again." Sophie Carmine, BOSC 3, EHL Mountain President.
Fewer numbers on campus does not mean lesser ambition or intention among the students. The sense of purpose, industriousness and business-as-usual attitude still reigns high at EHL; its core values very much at the heart of the university experience: Excellence - Family - Respect - Learning - Innovation.