Time capsule in FASoS garden: “Maybe the aliens will come across it at some stage”

On the left dean Christine Neuhold, on the right the time capsule hold by a staff member

Time capsule in FASoS garden: “Maybe the aliens will come across it at some stage”

Kick-off of the festivities around thirtieth anniversary

13-03-2024 · Reportage

A remarkable object adorns the garden behind the buildings of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) on the Grote Gracht. It looks like an over-sized thermos flask, but it is a proper ‘time capsule’. The text on the top ('FASoS 1994-2024') gives away the occasion: the faculty’s thirtieth anniversary. Later on this year, there will be other activities, such as a student gala and a large personnel party, but last Thursday afternoon was the kick-off of the festivities.

Amid a few dozen people in a timid spring sun, the object disappeared into the ground, close to a tree planted for the occasion (and sponsored by Facility Services). The tree is a symbol of the motto "FASoS makes you grow", said dean Christine Neuhold during a speech. The contents of the time capsule should give future finders an idea of what the faculty did at the age of thirty. Items enclosed include brochures of all study programmes, the latest scientific annual report and the faculty’s current strategic plan. Also, booklets containing stories about research and poems by FASoS researchers, to demonstrate the creativity of the present employees. Other items in the capsule (students and staff were invited to make submissions, from which the jubilee committee made a selection): a face mask from the Covid-19 days, a salary scale, a prediction of what FASoS education will look like in twenty years’ time written by ChatGPT, and letters by students to their future selves.

Whether the writers will ever read their own letters again, is still unclear: exactly when the capsule will be dug up, the jubilee committee has not decided yet. “I would love for this to happen in twenty years’ time, for the fiftieth anniversary,” said one committee member, “but my colleague wants the capsule to be forgotten about, so that a future civilization finds it by accident in a couple of hundred years from now.” Laughing: “Or maybe even the aliens.”

Forgetting the time capsule did not appear to be a great challenge. Even before the last shovel of soil was thrown over the object, the attention of most people present was already somewhere else: eagerly responding to the invitation “the bar is open”.

Photo: Joey Roberts

Tags: fasos,anniversary,time capsule,tree,students,research

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