On a crispy September morning, I sat down and interviewed Gellert Turkevi-Nagy, the new President of the Economics Society at the University of Stirling. Our talk began with a theme that is rather common these days: the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, we started reflecting upon the sudden craziness which this world experienced earlier this year, and how just a few months ago we didn’t think twice when we were invited to go out (mask-free!) or mingle with multiple individuals at someone’s flat.
Gellert was elected as President in March, which was around the time that lockdown began. Nobody knew where the world would stand in a matter of months, weeks, or even days. I was curious to learn of his plans for the society and how he was going to conquer all the uncertainty of the pandemic this upcoming academic year.
Right at the start of the call Gellert spoke confidently of what he has carefully organised. One of his ambitions is to “create an open and diverse forum for academic discourse where students can share their ideas and learn from one another”, and to establish an engaging environment for all students across the University. This forum will be open for students to discuss the topics for the Economics Society’s two major events that are happening this semester on Climate Change and on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are many subjects that young people – University students in particular – find interesting, and one of them is climate change,” Gellert explained, telling me about the conference he has planned called ‘Bleeding Green: The Economics of a Changing Climate’. He also informed me that at the end of this conference, there will be a panel discussion on The Great New Deal.
“Climate Change is something of great interest when it comes to our generation, and it’s something that is on our minds a lot. It’s something we think of on a regular basis,” continued Gellert. It is an overwhelming topic which prompts anxiety due to the impact on our personal lives, but also the lives of future generations.
Despite it being such a defining topic of our generation, Gellert argues there is not enough discussion about it when it comes to academia and economics. This will be the forum’s purpose – to bring forth more discussion, but also to alleviate some of the anxiety individuals may feel.
Though the speakers are to be confirmed one should expect a variety of speakers at the conference such as a range of industry experts, political economists, environmental economists, and a number of lecturers/professors from the University.
“Attendees will therefore be exposed to a much wider range of ideas – ideas that they otherwise may not have access to. In the conference I would like to encourage discourse among attendees, and University students in general.” This function is taking place on the 17th of October mostly through Microsoft Teams and online streaming. It will be free of charge and will last the whole day.
“That’s the bottom line: to encourage young people to form their own opinions.”
The other major event this semester will be a lecture series titled ‘The New Normal: The Economics of a Post-COVID World’. This aims to help students acquire a deeper understanding of the pandemic.
The main themes of this lecture series will be: labour economy, how the current recession compares with that of 2008/2009, environmental economics, how the pandemic can transform university education, and what the pandemic can mean for young people entering the drop market. Furthermore opinions and views on how the pandemic has affected teamwork, leadership, and company culture will be shared. “There is oftentimes an information overload when it comes to the pandemic,” says Gellert. “It’s very important for students to be informed and to see how the pandemic can tie into more comprehensive subjects.”
“The same logic as with Climate Change applies with the pandemic,” he continues. “It’s going to take some time before the pandemic is going to be covered in depth in academia.” Hence why they will bring together industry experts to share their takes and expertise on the pandemic as it unfolds, and to provide help in terms of the exploration of the potential aftermaths of the virus. The lecture series (also free of charge) is planned to start mid-September and should span until December.
Although the Spring semester is still far away, Gellert is thinking ahead and has teased societal inequality and systemic discrimination as potential themes of future conferences since “these are topics which are definitely defining themes of our era, too.”
Be sure to keep up to date with the Stirling University Economics Society’s social media for upcoming events, communication regarding the exact dates and speakers for both events, and more:
Featured Image Credit: Stirling University Economics Society