Next EUniverCities meeting in Parma: 1-3 December

Theme of the meeting will be: A new student generation: new challenges for city & university

Aims of the network meeting in Parma

The university years are a milestone in every student’s life; beyond knowledge and degrees, the university experience play a key role in shaping the citizens of the future.

In the last ten years students have deeply changed: young generations, the so-called millennials, have different needs and different expectations.

Are universities ready to deal with this change? New flexible curricula and degrees are high on decision making agenda, new digital and physical infrastructure are a “must have” for any University, but that could not be enough.

The challenge regards not only the educational institutions, but affects deeply cities that host university facilities and that every year welcome new students.

The main objective of the meeting will be to reflect on these issues and try to answer to the following questions:

•          How have students’ behavior and expectations changed over the last decade

•          How can cities and universities deal with these changes?

•          Which are their new main challenges?

•          What does this imply for the cooperation between cities and university?

•          And how this cooperation can help in dealing with these challenges?

•          What kind of services and facilities should be designed and developed to meet these new needs and expectations? 

•          Can external partners help in dealing with this?

We see three key areas in which the challenges play out:

Education: flexible curricula, digitalization, more practise based education and how the city/city stakeholders can play a role here

Student life & well-being: Dealing with growing pressure, stress and & mental issues of students: how can students combine ambition with feeling safe, relaxed, healthy, social and comfortable; How can they find fulfillment in student life, volunteering work, develop themselves in student unions etc.  

Housing: Housing needs seem to be changing; dealing with different housing needs for national and international students in very tight & expensive local housing markets.

During the 3 days of the networking event, we would like to share ideas among partners, exchange some good practices, reflect together on these challenges.

After the welcome on the first day, on the second day the meeting will start with a panel of 3 speakers:

1.         A student representative from a European student association who will give his point of view on the new needs and expectations of students, especially after COVID-19, for a better integration in the city life

2.         A student representative from the University of Parma

3.         A student advisor who could talk about how students are dealing with this COVID-19 period... but also about their problems and expectations

Afterwards, the Municipality and the University of Parma will share their experience by presenting the Parma UniverCity project ("Parma Città Universitaria"), created with the aim of making Parma an increasingly university-friendly city by creating a student-friendly community model.

In the afternoon, the Network partners will present their best practices related to the 3 key areas mentioned above: Education, Student Life and Wellness, Housing.

On the third day, in the morning, we will have two parallel workshops, one for partners and one for students.

Students could discuss what they expect from their time as students from the city and university, and look at how those expectations are being met (or not..). Students will begin working prior to the meeting, through online meetings where they can get to know each other and begin discussing the topic.

Partners might discuss some concrete questions about the three key areas.

The two groups will meet in the plenary session for a final discussion, with the goal of producing a common document to share with our decision makers, finalized after the meeting, posted on our website.


Secretariat EUniverCities
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