How SI Local Network Karolinska Institutet plans its events

NFGL Local Network Karolinska Institutet shares their decision-making and planning process when organising activities.

How SI Local Network Karolinska Institutet plans its events
Photo: Karolinska Institutet NFGL at the Stockholm City Hall

The SI NFGL Karolinska Institutet Local Network started in April 2018 with being awarded a scholarship. One fellow future scholarship holder came up with the idea to form a  WhatsApp group for the scholars who would be attending Karolinska Institutet. With this group being formed, our journey to Sweden felt much more comfortable and reassuring.

When school officially opened on the 3rd September 2018 at Karolinska Institutet or KI as it is famously referred to, we already knew each other and planned some activities, even before meeting at the SI kick-off event.

Photo: Members of Karolinska Institutet NFGL

The first meeting was held in October 2018, and luckily some final year scholars from the previous board attended the meeting. The former chairperson of the committee gave a detailed outline of how they carried out their operations, their decision-making process, the dos and don'ts of the network, and presided over the election for the incoming board.

It was made clear from the start that we are all leaders as required by the scholarship. So, we all collectively agreed to contribute actively and participate in network activities. We drew up an activity plan and responsibilities were shared among all the members of the network.

Our first event was a ‘productive fika’, a networking event with SI scholars not just from KI but also including scholars from Stockholm University and KTH. Decision-making and the organisation of events are usually executed in the same way. The underground work is organised by the person or people assigned to plan the event by continually updating the chairperson on their progress.

The organisers have the freedom to organise the event in the way they think is the best possible.  

Photo: Members of Karolinska Institutet NFGL

The treasurers prepare the money required for the event by consulting with the events manager and the person responsible for the event while the vice-chair always takes charge of the registration process.

Different people always come in to help if extra responsibilities need to be taken. The chairperson consults members of the network on the best course of action when a challenge arises, and the majority’s decision always wins.

So far, we have successfully executed three out of the six planned activities. However, our primary challenge is to come up with dates for the events, when everybody is free to attend.

As a network, we have decided to go ahead with planned activities despite not everyone being able to attend. This is because we are all aware of the intense academic environment and schedule.

To conclude, I would like to emphasise that constant communication, engagement and interaction have been vital in our network.

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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.