During last week’s Opening Ceremony, held on Thursday, Sep.12th, the Student Government President Umberto Greco gave the following speech as an address towards the incoming freshers. President Greco emphasized the importance of IE’s key pillar values, such as Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Humanities, and Innovation, as well as encouraged the incoming freshmen to actively engage in campus activities.

The incoming class of 2023/2024 has already distinguished itself with its diverse composition. Nearly 55% is female. 38% are from Europe with 26% being from Spain. Latin America hails 15% of the total composition, 8% from the US and Canada, 7% from Middle East & Africa and 6% from Asia.

 

Opening Ceremony Speech

 

“Good morning everyone, and a warm welcome to our members of faculty, esteemed guests, and most importantly, our new incoming students. My name is Umberto Greco, I am a third year BBA student and President of the Student Government.

I would like to begin by congratulating every single one of you on having made it this far. You have graduated high school, and from here on, in this next chapter of your life, you are now part of the IE family. A family not that you are born into, but a family that you grow into. A family that is characterized by its essence, its values, and its four key pillars: Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Humanities, and Innovation. Each of these carry tremendous weight, and have defined and differentiated IE University and its unique education system from when it was founded in 1973. Making it to this day, among the best universities in the world.

But this, this is only the beginning. The beginning of a new era, and one that is yours to shape. The next four or five years of your life are going to be legendary. From late night study sessions, to epic nights at Irish and Pacha, you will make incredible friends, and create beautiful memories with them. And as the semesters pass, you are going to be amazed by the amount of knowledge that you have acquired, as well as impressed by your capabilities and how much you have grown. But I did say it is yours to shape. Because although you are in for a spectacular ride, it is completely up to you to make it spectacular.

IE University has countless of resources to promote your personal growth and shape your career path, it is simply up to you whether or not you make use of these resources. You may graduate with the same degree as your classmates, but what you do outside of your classes will define your prospects as much as what you do within the classroom walls. And this, this is one of the things I love about IE, simply how much it has to offer. Just to name a few, you have the Labs, where you can get real work experience in your very first year of university. We’ve got Campus Life and Student Services, who do everything they can to help you settle in and foster our sense of community. The career centre, which provides career advisors for whichever field you are interested in, and provide immense help in applying for jobs and practicing interviews. And lastly, countless workshops, inspiring guest speakers, student-led clubs, and many more invaluable resources that encourage you to dive into your passions and learn something new outside the classroom.

“A family that is characterized by its essence, its values, and its four key pillars: Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Humanities, and Innovation,” – President Umberto Greco on IE values.

Now it may seem daunting at first, knowing that you have so much at your disposal and that it is up to you to make the most of it, but you will soon recognize what an amazing opportunity it is. And my one advice, is to go for it all. Be it founding your startup, or joining a club. Participating in international case competitions, or winning debates. Learning and networking in workshops and conferences. Writing poetry, or making a short film. Just go for it all.

And I know, beginnings can be challenging and overwhelming. Having to learn a myriad of new names, getting asked the complicated “where are you from?” question, and getting used to a new city, language, and culture. But always keep in mind that you are all in the same situation. So do not be afraid to take the first step in meeting someone, its as simple as “Hola, qué tal?”. I strongly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and be proactive, especially now in the beginning. You might have heard this before, but I met some of my closest friends in my first month here.

As you are coming to the end of your orientation week, I hope it has been evident that the Student Government is for the students, made by students, and with the students. It is formed by a team of six students, and is elected by the student body every year around March. Our mission is to better your university experience, be it through the lens of academia or community development. However, we cannot do it on our own. We rely on your continuous commitment and participation, elements which are vital to improving our community life.

“And my one advice, is to go for it all.”

Like everything in life, be it your relationships, your career, or your hobbies, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. And this could not be more true than for our community at IE. I am constantly impressed by the achievements of some of my classmates, and by the grit and determination they invest in such achievements. I have friends interning at their dream jobs or working relentlessly on their startups. Friends that are studying multiple degrees in multiple universities at the same time. Friends working on daring art projects and friends who are olympic athletes. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of the talent we have here.

Unfortunately, our generation is stereotyped as lazy, entitled, and addicted to social media. And although there is a hint of truth to that, after all some of you have already uploaded “insta-stories” of this ceremony, we are a generation that does their best with the cards they have been dealt. In a time of economy uncertainty, and facing the dangers of climate change and growing inequality, it is our responsibility to make the change. We need to take care of our little blue planet, because, although Elon Musk will get us to Mars, this is our home. IE University has taught me that we do not have to wait to become prominent figures to enact such change. We can and should start now. Be it volunteering on weekends, or starting a nonprofit. Marching for the environment or fighting for equal rights. Doing pro bono work, or informing yourselves as well as those around you. We should all be agents of change. And we should also all make an effort to be more altruistic, because despite our differences and misconceptions, far more unites us than divides us.

Everyone on this stage is rooting for you. And although IE University will give you everything you need to succeed, you are the only one that can walk the path. You have been told that you will be the leaders of tomorrow. And I am here to tell you that what you do in these next few years will drastically shape the leader that you are going to be. So go on, go for it all, and make us all proud. Thank you.”