Today, as the quarantine of 2,500 Bachelor students is lifted – the largest single quarantine order in Switzerland – I am confident that we can face the future with more serenity and preparedness, drawing on vital lessons learned from this situation.
I would like to firstly salute the wide majority of EHL students who had not attended the private parties found to be the source of the recent Covid contamination, and who have shown great understanding and patience in this situation. Fortunately, all positive cases identified seem to be recovering well, and I am confident that this necessary general quarantine will help to keep the entire community safe.
We are living in unprecedented circumstances, forced to redefine our behaviors and what a “new normal” will look like. And as I look back at the 127 years of EHL history, what stands out is our strong resilience as a School, as a community and as 25,000+ individuals. This legacy of pioneering spirit does not come by chance. It is a constant effort to re-evaluate the status quo, learn from each situation and evolve so that we drive change together. That resilience is what defines our value of innovation and what will help us emerge from this situation stronger than before.
We have already made great strides this year in the implementation of new academic models which not only provide flexibility to manage the capacity on campus in real time for sanitary reasons, but also enables a broader advancement of education.
EHL’s vision of education in the future will redefine the way we teach and learn, providing a comprehensive environment for all students to develop in the most beneficial way.
And while we continue to enforce strict sanitary and distancing measures on campus, we must continue to be vigilant, to enforce safety precautions with the utmost firmness and show personal responsibility in taking every step to protect ourselves and others. Social interactions are an integral part of university life – and this too must be redefined for a new normality of student experience. Discussing, debating, exchanging, and yes, even partying, may still continue in a new format. We encourage all students and committees to organize virtual events, to interact with digital channels and to hold physical events within the scope of measures implemented on campus or with the same precautionary measures off campus.
When such events happen, we are reminded of our purpose, our principles and our values, which have taken us farther than our founders could have ever hoped.
EHL came to be 127 years ago with one fundamental ambition in mind: to create a school where Swiss excellence in service could be taught and passed on to the next generation of leaders. To serve means to care. Caring for clients, caring for each other and caring for high standards with every decision we make, and every step we take.
All around the world, we read about “the world’s best hospitality school being struck by an unprecedented quarantine”. The quarantine has passed and soon, hopefully, so will this terrible affliction. What will remain, is our status as a global leader. This is a tremendous achievement, a lot of which we owe to our students and alumni who change the world every day through their passion and ambition. We must, however, never let our successes take us away from our continued purpose.
We have a responsibility to make sure that strong values and social responsibility remain our driving force.
Thank you all for your trust and support, and stay safe!