Yes­ter­day the Gold­en Times pub­lished an arti­cle about the con­tin­ious and sub­stan­tial decline of the num­ber of Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties. The num­ber of announced cours­es fell from 75 in 2016 to 55 in this year. Philipp Blum, mem­ber of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Coor­di­na­tion Team (SUCT) for two years, has his own idea what needs to be done to stop this dra­mat­ic trend.

Summer University — Ideas for Changes

By Philipp Blum

Motivation

Philipp Blum

There are less and less Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties every year. In my opin­ion, it is caused by sev­er­al fac­tors. One that I find impor­tant and one that we could change is the lost iden­ti­ty and miss­ing con­cept of Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties. While some peo­ple try to cre­ate con­tent, oth­ers adver­tise it as drink­ing hol­i­day — or vice-ver­sa. Yes, we do have struc­tur­al prob­lems in AEGEE relat­ed to inter­nal edu­ca­tion, but I am very pos­i­tive this is get­ting bet­ter: The SUPS, as well as new the­mat­ic events, free­lance train­ing events and more engage­ment with Eras­mus+ will be fruit­ful. What I would like to tack­le is the iden­ti­ty of Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty and how to uni­fy the idea of the project again, rather than to have 50 or more cities doing what­ev­er.

Problems

  • The Uni­ver­si­ty in Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty is miss­ing
  • Out­go­ing Respon­si­bles are not adver­tis­ing SUs in the way they are intend­ed and Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties are not liv­ing up to what it could be. This is a spi­ral­ing effect.
  • The SU project is too flex­i­ble, whilst being too com­pli­cat­ed. SC, SC+, TSU? SSC? Have you read and under­stood all the rules in the CIA?

My solution

  • The name should reflect the con­tent: I would pro­pose to name the SUs as fol­lows:
    • Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty: 16 or more hours of tuition.
    • Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Plus: 22 or more hours of tuition.
    • Trav­el­ling Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty: 16 or more hours of tuition, can be focused on Tourism and Cul­ture. Should have more clear focus on Trav­el­ling.
  • More tuition! As writ­ten above, I would not increase it so much, just a bit, for a start. 16 hours is not even 12% of the time in a week. Also, I would urge SUCT to be more strict with “What is con­tent”.
  • Con­sis­tent rules:
    • SU dura­tion: 8 — 28 nights
    • SU size: 15 or more par­tic­i­pants
    • SU fee: 16€/night.
  • The learn­ing objec­tives and the main top­ic should go more into the cen­ter of atten­tion, instead of gener­ic cat­e­gories like “Sport”, “His­to­ry and Cul­ture”.
  • A fixed max­i­mum non-nego­tiable price at 28€/night.

Explanation

  • Why should the TSU have as many hours as a SU?
    • Because 16 hours is real­ly not that much. Oth­er­wise I see it as a ran­dom hol­i­day, not a Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty.
  • Why hav­ing a TSU any­how?
    • I first thought not to have TSU at all. But then there might be SUs that trav­el a whole coun­try and whose main con­tent might be the touris­tic aspect.
  • What about the num­ber of nights?
    • 8 nights is 2 week­ends, and you have to take one week off any­how. I don’t see how short­er events makes sense.
    • We have many weak locals that might not be able to do two weeks imme­di­ate­ly.

Conclusion

  • A tad more con­tent
  • A tad more mon­ey
  • A tad more con­sis­ten­cy
  • Bring the Uni­ver­si­ty in Uni­ver­si­ty back!

2 COMMENTS

  1. I under­stand some of the argu­ments, but i donät think that this is the best solu­tion. Before we had Sim­ple con­cept of LC and SC (lan­guage course and sum­mer course) and the TSU. There were 3 very under­stand­able dif­fer­ences.
    Lan­guage is very impor­tant for a lot of par­tic­i­pants as it is a clear defined course top­ic and had always clear expec­ta­tions. That was a small well defined group of SU clear con­nect­ed to edu­ca­tion.
    On the oth­er hand the SC were clear con­nect­ed to a very flex­i­ble top­ic. They were very often con­nect­ed to cul­tur­al exchange or top­ics about one spe­cif­ic thing like sports, lit­er­a­ture, music, etc.
    There were always some Par­ty SUs, but even this is OK. They still had a cul­tur­al pro­gram and teached peo­ple a lot about a coun­try and cul­ture.
    + was just a sign for more course hours, that means more focused in the top­ic and less on free time and par­ty.
    TSU was clear­ly focused and expe­ri­ence the adven­ture of an SU in more than one Local with trav­el­ling togeth­er.
    Orga­niz­ing an SU was much less com­pli­cat­ed before, as the SUCT was not con­trol­ling so much stuff and there weren’t the unloved manda­to­ry work­shops are most like­ly still very often cheat­ed.
    And the fun­ny thing is that in my first 7 years of AEGEE with the old sys­tem peo­ple came always back with a bet­ter knowl­edge about some­thing. They had always a vari­ety of cul­tur­al excur­sions and learned basic words in the hosts lan­guage and a lot about anoth­er coun­tries tra­di­tions and still of liv­ing.
    Now the strict rules make peo­ple doing non SU stuff in the same time, just to break the strict rules.

    RESULT for me: Bring back LC!!! and loose the rules for most of the oth­er stuff!

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