Events - 23.10.2014 - 00:00 

10 years of the Children’s University

A decade ago, the University of St.Gallen launched Switzerland’s first Children’s University. This year, the young visitors to the University can expect an exciting programme with four lectures, as well as a competition and a sweet surprise.


23 October 2014. Switzerland's first Children's University at the HSG proved to be a great success. Thanks to visitor numbers that increased year on year, the University of St.Gallen had a record year in 2013 with more than 2,000 pupils. Children from the entire Canton of St.Gallen, the Canton of Thurgau and the two Appenzell Cantons have already registered for this year's lectures. In addition, registrations have been received from Winterthur and surroundings and the Vorarlberg. Prof. Dr. Caspar Hirschi, who is in charge of the public programme, perceives the reason for this success in the group of professors who teach the children with enthusiasm, on the one hand, and of course also in the curious young people who let themselves be inspired, on the other hand.

Four unrelated lectures

At this year's Children's University, four HSG professors will talk about their research topics in four individual lectures – ludically, and with examples from the children's own everyday lives. "The professors choose a topic which young people are already familiar with in many respects, but not in the way in which it is taught at university," says Hirschi about the selection of topics. The children will learn, among other things, who suffers the physical pain and who suffers the financial pain in a skiing accident, and what Gyro Gearloose and the iPod have in common. Also, the children will learn how a firm is established and kept alive, and how a computer affects brain cells. The unrelated lectures enable pupils to follow a topic even if they can only attend on one afternoon. Hirschi, himself the father of three daughters, is also enthusiastic about the topics: "If I were ten again, of course I'd attend all four lectures!"

Exchanging experience

In the last ten years, various professors have acquired experience at the Children's University. They exchange this experience "not least because the professors are somewhat apprehensive of appearing in front of so many children," emphasises Hirschi. The situation was almost as unusual for the professors as for the children themselves. Thus some professors would first deliver the lecture in front of their own children at home. "After all, their own children are usually the parents’ biggest critics," says Hirschi.

Whether Hirschi will rise to the challenge and give a children's lecture next year is something he has not decided yet. What has been decided is that the Children's University will be continued in the same format. "Hopefully with the same success."

Scenting university air

The Children's University aims to familiarise the HSG's youngest audiences with societally relevant topics above and beyond what they are taught at school. Children are given a "cheerful and exciting insight into an important stage in life which many pupils will go through in ten to fifteen years' time," says Hirschi. The Children's University is part of the public programme of the University of St.Gallen; admission is free. However, registration is required. Each child is given an HSG student ID. At the end of the lecture series, pupils who have attended all four lectures will be handed a participation certificate.

2014 Children’s University

  • Wednesday, 29 October 2014: Who is liable in a skiing accident?
    Prof. Dr. Vito Roberto, Vice-President and Professor of Private, Commercial and Business Law
  • Wednesday, 5 November 2014: How does an invention come about? Gyro Gearloose and the iPod
    Prof. Dr. Oliver Gassmann, Professor of Technology Management with special focus on Innovation Management
  • Wednesday, 12 November 2014: How to set up your own firm – and enjoy long-term success with it
    Prof. Dr. Thomas Zellweger, Professor of Business Administration with specialisation in Family Business
  • Wednesday, 19 November 2014: Do computers make you dim or bright?
    Prof. Dr. Sabine Seufert, Professor of Business Education with special focus on Educational Innovation Management

The Children's University will take place each time in the Audimax of the University of St.Gallen from 3.00-3.45 p.m. Admission is free.

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