Colm Harmon’s personal updates to the masses

Last week, students and staff received the awaited (or perhaps dreaded!) second personal update from fast-talking Harmon. The vice-principal, Professor Colm Harmon, has been sending out emails aiming to inform everyone of the Covid-19 situation from a personal perspective, as well as some updates on what has been happening around the university.

What is interesting, though, is that Harmon has become somewhat known for including little personal details about himself and his life, like how he celebrated his wedding anniversary last week or that when he lived in Australia, “everyone in Oz thought I spoke too fast, so me at 1.5x speed would blow their minds!”

The emails have generally been more informal and light-hearted. It is refreshing to have a connection with some of the authority figures in the university that go beyond the wall of formality and illustrate that they have a life of their own too, which is easy to forget at times.

In fact, Harmon has similar motivations as to the ones I mentioned; after emailing him for some more insight, he said that “the university is living through everything together – lockdown constraints, life events, exciting things and concerning things – so sometimes it is nice to think about things happening in your ‘real’ life.” 

He also acknowledged that communication this year in particular has been very information-heavy with Covid and the disruptions we have faced. “It is particularly important that we try to mix that very ‘directed’ communication with something that is a little more conversational in style, but also gives a sense of things that are going on (at least as I see them).”

There are some interesting bits that I have learned, such as that most lectures are watched at a faster speed, or that a third of Sports Union memberships have been new students –– fitness has definitely been vital for everyone throughout the pandemic; I for one have been a lot more into the gym-game than last year –­– and without the long walks of pub, club and flat crawling, first years definitely have more motivation to get active this year! 

I asked some students on what they thought about Harmon’s personal updates; most thought it was sweet, but they do not really read them. A second-year English student, who preferred to remain anonymous, said “I have read one or two and I think they’re pretty pointless. It’s sweet of him to do it, I guess, but I’d prefer hearing from the university when they’re actually instituting necessary changes.” 

Kitty Golden suggested that she “may respond with an update of her own and how shit it is… it just feels completely out of touch with what’s going on and how his students are feeling”. 

Others had a more positive reaction to the updates: Connie Zanden, a religious watcher of The Great British Bake-Off said, “I’m glad that Peter from Bake-Off got a shout out!” 

Our very own News Editor of The Student, Liberty Phelan, says “I love the updates from Colm! I was however, devastated to find out Colm is married in this personal update. He is gorgeous. But oh well, keep the updates coming!”

We will continue to cover any more updates from the Vice Principle. Perhaps we can get some winter recipes this time around, or maybe even get to hear what Colm’s plans for Christmas are!

Image: Colm Harmon