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On 31 August we opened the 2020-2021 academic year with a modified programme, as befits these strange times. To celebrate the start of the new academic year, an online live broadcast was held from Amsterdam Science Park

At the heart of the opening was a focus on students and staff, the importance of face-to-face contact and looking ahead to the future. President of the Executive Board Geert ten Dam: 'Whatever happens, the academic year is starting again. And I am happy about that. We are going to put heart and soul into academics and research, even under these special circumstances. I want to welcome you at the start of this academic year and especially to give a warm welcome to our first-year students. I sincerely hope that you will, also in these times, find your way within the UvA and our beautiful city.' During the opening, Geert ten Dam reflected on the consequences that the coronavirus has had so far on the academic community and looked ahead to a challenging new academic year.

UvAcare: student well-being

What were the past six months like for our students? Reinout Wiers, professor of Developmental Psychopathology, researched the well-being of students in corona times. Reinout Wiers: 'We know from research that, apart from COVID-19, about 15 to 20 percent of students experience serious mental problems. That is comparable to their peers outside the university'. Wiers continues: 'We started the UvAcare project a few years ago. A programme with e-health interventions, to provide support for students on a large scale.' Wiers also shared the results of a recent study conducted last summer among students in relation to the corona crisis, explaining the lessons and practical tips that we can take away from this study.

Musical contribution

The ceremony was concluded with a musical contribution from the UvA Sweelinck Orchestra, who played a rendition of 'Aan de Amsterdamse grachten' (Along the Amsterdam canals).

Online magazine 'Connect'

To celebrate the start of the new academic year we also launched an online magazine. Get to know the some people from our UvA community. What are their thoughts on the past year? And what are they looking forward to in the coming year? Read more in the online magazine.