Summer Universities 2017: 65 Adventures All Over Europe

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On Fri­day, 3rd of Feb­ru­ary, the list of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties in 2017 will go online. This year, the AEGEE mem­bers can choose among 65 cours­es. Alto­geth­er 94 anten­nae are involved in the orga­ni­za­tion, reports the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Coor­di­na­tion Team (SUCT). Project Man­ag­er Lucia, Con­tent Man­ag­er Clau­dio Gen­naro, PR Respon­si­ble Ral­it­sa Mihaylo­va and IT Respon­si­ble Philipp Blum told the GT read­ers what you can expect this year. In a nut­shell: many Trav­el­ling SUs, 18 events in coop­er­a­tion with oth­er bod­ies, more con­tent, more lan­guage cours­es, an even bet­ter web­site and the SUs with the fun­ni­est names. We only say one word: “Stre­ich­holzschächtelchen”. Enjoy the inter­view!

The SUCT, includ­ing the appoint­ed CD mem­ber (from left to right): Clau­dio Gen­naro, Lucia G., Joan­na Pankows­ka, Philipp Blum and Ral­it­sa Mihaylo­va.

GT: How many SUs were reg­is­tered for 2017? And how much might this num­ber still change?
SUCT: We have 65 SUs this year! We checked all appli­ca­tions; for some we are still wait­ing for a reply, most­ly regard­ing the fee.

GT: How many anten­nae are apply­ing for organ­is­ing these SUs?
SUCT: If we count­ed right the num­ber is 94, of which two are involved in two Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties.

GT: The num­ber of SUs is low­er than last year…
SUCT: As you can guess from the num­ber, and soon will see in detail, there are quite some Trav­el­ling Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties with many, many locals, some­thing extra­or­di­nary.

GT: When will we be able to check the SUs? And when will the appli­ca­tion peri­od be opened?
SUCT: From the 3rd of Feb­ru­ary, you will be able to check all Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties – includ­ing dates, prices and a short descrip­tion. From 22th of March you will be able to see all details: More pic­tures, activ­i­ties and the well-known map of every SU! The appli­ca­tion peri­od will be from 22nd of March until 28th of April – again at noon.

The Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty of Barcelona in 2016

GT: How is the SU dis­tri­b­u­tion accord­ing to types?
SUCT: The dis­tri­b­u­tion looks quite the same as in the last years: three Sum­mer Cours­es Plus, and the rest split between Sum­mer Cours­es and Trav­el­ling Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties.

GT: How many coop­er­a­tions are there with oth­er bod­ies such as WGs or the Acad­e­my?
SUCT: At this moment, 18 Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties said they will have a coop­er­a­tion, which still has to be ver­i­fied by the Euro­pean bod­ies. As we set a strict guide­line for coop­er­a­tions this year, the num­ber will most prob­a­bly drop.

GT: Which body is the most pop­u­lar coop­er­a­tion part­ner?
SUCT: The Civic Edu­ca­tion Work­ing Group is a clear num­ber 1 when it comes to num­bers, fol­lowed by the Drink­wise Project. Also ACT is there this year!

One of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties of Athi­na in 2016

GT: How many lan­guage cours­es are there this year? More than the three of the last year?
SUCT: There is a total of sev­en Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties that are relat­ed to Lan­guage. Spe­cial lan­guage cours­es will be avail­able in Ger­man and Russ­ian, and there will be SUs with more than one ses­sion in Alban­ian, Geor­gian and Pol­ish!

GT: Which top­ics are the most pop­u­lar?
SUCT: Accord­ing to the cat­e­gories, His­to­ry and Local Cul­ture is by far the most pop­u­lar, fol­lowed by Sports.

GT: You checked all SU titles and top­ics — are there some that are espe­cial­ly inter­est­ing or fun­ny?
SUCT: It seems that AEGEE-Bur­gos and AEGEE-San­tander have tak­en the “Cata­nia way” of nam­ing this year: “YABADABASU!” is their title. We also see that more and more locals stick with their pre­vi­ous name and go by ver­sions or vol­umes or the year: “W.I.N.E. 2017: Water Isn’t Nutri­tious Enough”, “Fifty Shades of Blue Vol.2” or “Transsi­ber­ian Dream. On cloud 9!“ are just some exam­ples. AEGEE-Aachen fig­ured out that 67 char­ac­ters in a word are not help­ing in design­ing the maps, and reduced last year’s longest word in an SU Name to only 24 char­ac­ters this year. The word is “Stre­ich­holzschächtelchen”. Last but not least we hope that the SU “Won­ders & Myths: One SU To Rule Them All” will not dri­ve the par­tic­i­pants com­plete­ly crazy. We have to men­tion that also few names had to be changed, as they had an inap­pro­pri­ate rela­tion to activ­i­ties we would not like to pro­mote.

Of course many SUs lead to a beach, like the one of AEGEE-Ljubl­jana and AEGEE-Zagreb in 2016.

GT: One of your main aims is to increase the con­tent in SUs. You even cre­at­ed a com­pul­so­ry task of con­tent man­ag­er. What is that per­son doing and how was the feed­back of the net­work to that new posi­tion?
SUCT: Con­tent man­ag­er is a per­son who is going to receive a more per­son­al­ized sup­port from us regard­ing work­shops, pro­gramme, activ­i­ties, coop­er­a­tions and so on, as we had the feel­ing that the main coor­di­na­tor is over­spammed with e-mails from us and he might miss some impor­tant infor­ma­tion. Also we plan spe­cial guide­lines for the Con­tent Man­agers and some hang­outs to make sure that they know what counts as tuition hours and what is con­tent­ful pro­gramme.

GT: How many SUs are offered for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties?
SUCT: We try to be as open for every­one, and encour­age every­one to apply for every SU. There­fore, you will cur­rent­ly not find a sign that says “Suit­able for dis­abled peo­ple” on our Web­site, because it might make peo­ple feel like they are not wel­come on all the oth­ers. Yes, if you go hik­ing, it might not be wheel­chair friend­ly, but we are opti­mistic that prop­er descrip­tions will make appli­cants under­stand if it is the right SU for them.

GT: Last year saw a major and high­ly praised improve­ment of the web­site. Any­thing new or inter­est­ing com­ing up this year?
SUCT: Thanks for the com­pli­ment! The web­site this year will be in many parts the same, but we are work­ing on many details. One crit­i­cized aspect was the fact that infor­ma­tion is hard to find, and indeed it is hard to find every­thing you need.

The Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty of AEGEE-Udine dealt with the sit­u­a­tion of refugees and got the best eval­u­a­tion result.

GT: Also the gen­er­al SU video was pret­ty good. Are you prepar­ing new cool PR mate­ri­als for the net­work?
SUCT: Rali loves visu­als and she is putting a lot of effort into mak­ing the amounts of infor­ma­tion digestible for every­one. Apart from that, the main mate­ri­als will be the usu­al ones: maps, posters, mate­ri­als for social media. How­ev­er, we have cool and use­ful mer­chan­dis­ing planned again!

GT: How is the coop­er­a­tion in the SUCT? You con­tin­ue with near­ly the same team?
SUCT: We all see the ben­e­fits and draw­backs of hav­ing 50% of the team stay­ing – the input of the old mem­bers is invalu­able and it makes sure mis­takes are kept to a min­i­mum.  On the oth­er side, we have all been in teams where you first have to find your posi­tion, and know how it is to be lost in the begin­ning. What we can say how­ev­er is that our humour match­es up to 71,4 % and this makes work­ing togeth­er very relaxed.

In Sama­ra the par­tic­i­pants even went to a rock­et launch site.

GT: This year start­ed with the first of five Mini SUPS. This is a new con­cept and the first one has already been fin­ished. What is your gen­er­al con­clu­sion ?
SUCT: So far we have to say that the first SUPS in Berlin was real­ly suc­cess­ful and it moti­vat­ed us even more for the oth­er SUPS. We had 20 very active par­tic­i­pants, eager to learn as much as pos­si­ble, even offer­ing cut­ting off cof­fee breaks, just to hear more from our expe­ri­ence. You will be able to read more about the SUPS in a spe­cial edi­tion of GT arti­cle soon.

GT: Is it still pos­si­ble to apply for such a SUPS?
SUCT: Unfor­tu­nate­ly no.

GT: How is the SUp­port­ers Inter­est Group con­tribut­ing to your work?
SUCT: The SUp­port­ers help in fields like trans­la­tion, design and cor­rect­ing texts, but there is one thing that will be the main work this year: the prepa­ra­tion of the 30th anniver­sary of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Project! This week­end we had inter­est­ing brain­storm­ing ses­sions and got amaz­ing input on the pos­si­bil­i­ties that can be used for the cel­e­bra­tions. We will do our best to make the cel­e­bra­tion next year amaz­ing!

With Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties you can go to places which you would not dis­cov­er oth­er­wise — like dur­ing the SU of AEGEE-Gdan­sk and AEGEE-Katow­ice.

GT: Will you also put the polar bear on your pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als this time?
SUCT: “Same pro­ce­dure as every year, James”. For the non-Ger­mans, you might want to watch “Din­ner for One”.

GT: Any­thing else you would like to add?
SUCT: Indeed we would like to use this oppor­tu­ni­ty to show our love for the Sovi­et Union and proud­ly present our new domain: aegee.su! The idea had been pre­sent­ed last year, but we didn’t imple­ment it, and due to the help of Casper Rent­ing it became a real­i­ty this year! While it looks like just a gim­mick, it allows us to cre­ate sim­pler URLs that one can remem­ber, such as “organizer.aegee.su”, “outgoing.aegee.su” or “apply.aegee.su”.

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