Una Europa Second Student Congress
The second Una Europa Student Congress took place last month at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Edinburgh student Rachel Weller shares her experience.
The congress brought together students from the eight Una Europa partner universities, Freie Universität Berlin, Alma mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, The University of Edinburgh, Helsingin yliopisto, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, KU Leuven, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne to collaborate and shape the idea of a European university of the future, with the focus being on creating sustainability on campus.
The hybrid event allowed some students to attend the Congress in person, with those who missed out on the opportunity of a year abroad jumping on the chance to get the opportunity to be able to spend time abroad and practice their language skills.
Rachel Weller, a final year Spanish and Classics student at Edinburgh said: “I was especially interested in this opportunity as my Year Abroad was cancelled due to the pandemic, and I was looking for other international opportunities to experience. When I found out that the Second Student Congress would be happening at Universidad Complutense de Madrid – the university at which I should have had my year abroad – I was also motivated to try and attend so that I could see what it was like, and to visit Spain for the first time. I contacted the Student Board to express an interest in getting involved with Una Europa and was invited to take part in the organisational working groups for the Second Student Congress.”
The Student Congress went by in a whirlwind considering the amount of time we had spent preparing it. I thoroughly enjoyed being the host of the event and seeing it all come together. I think it is easy to say that the best part of attending the event, specifically attending it in person, were the networking opportunities that it presented, and the ability to get to know all the different attendees from the different universities. It was also great to meet some of the people that I had been collaborating with online. I think the reaction of all the participants really shows how eager everyone is to collaborate and develop ideas and I hope that even more students can continue to get involved with the alliance.
The Congress aimed to raise awareness of Una Europa activities and highlight opportunities for students to get involved. The new opportunities for students are:
- Una Europa Affordably Abroad Taskforce
- Una Challenge: United in Diversity
- European Universities Community
The event also allowed students to find out more about sustainability initiatives from the different partner universities and discuss networking and communication ideas to help encourage wider involvement with Una Europa. The University of Edinburgh will soon have a student task force to help increase awareness of Una Europa on campus.
Speaking about her experience in organising the event Rachel explained that having a hybrid event allowed more people to be involved and allowed for the use of new collaborative tools giving participants the chance to get involved. Rachel said: “It was very interesting to be part of a hybrid event as it was the first that I have attended, and certainly the first I have had a hand in organising. I think it highlighted many of the difficulties that such an event presents in that in organising we spent a lot of time trying to make sure that online attendees would feel fully included, but equally we had to try and not lose sight of the participation of those attending in person. It was also great to have speakers join us online without them having to travel, as this broadened the people that we could get involved. It also presented opportunities to use new collaborative tools, especially the Miro Board in which participants shared their ideas and questions. I think there is plenty of room to make this style of event even more collaborative and learn lessons from our experiences developing this event.”
During the Congress students also had the opportunity to submit images of their campus to the Una Europa Photography Competition with winners being announced on the closing day of the Congress. View the competition winners.