Campus - 22.05.2017 - 00:00 

"Making the world a little better in 24 hours"

What would addicts like? What activities could asylum-seekers pursue in a cost-effective way? How do you organise a sleep-over party for children? These were questions that students were confronted with during the Student Union’s first 24-hour campaign. A review by student reporter Thomas Tarantini.

23 May 2017. "Making the world a little better in 24 hours": this was the cornerstone vision of the Humanity Team of the Student Union (SHSG), the organisers of the 24-hour campaign. The project was realised by three teams made up of four to five HSG undergraduates and exchange students. The Landegg Asylum Centre, Villa YoYo and the Addiction Care Foundation had agreed to act as partners. They, in turn, had the job of developing a charitable, social, ecological or intercultural project which would then have to be worked on by the students. The organisers announced the various functions on the occasion of the project launch on 11 May 2017.

The evolution of the 24-hour campaign

Humanity Team member Mona Awad (22) explains the evolution of the campaign as follows: "When we met at the beginning of the semester, Tobias talked about the 72-hour campaign in Germany. This takes place every year and runs to more than 300 social projects with up to 7,000 participants. We were enthusiastic about the idea of organising the same thing at our University for the first time." Besides Mona, who is studying for the double degree programme CEMS MIM with Marketing, the Humanity Team consists of Tobias Schinn (23) and Billa Gleichauf (20). SHSG Event Manager Krenare Berisha (23) was also involved in the organisation. The campaign began with a launching event at the HSG. To start with, participants listened to a speech given by campaign patron Christoph Frei, Associate Professor of Political Science with special focus on International Relations. Subsequently, the organisers allocated the projects and clarified some final issues. Then the groups were ready to get started on their work.

Students realise social projects

The Landegg Asylum Centre asked the students to show asylum-seekers favourably priced activities in St.Gallen’s everyday life. This could include leisure activities, cooking or educational options alike. The "Drei Weieren" swimming baths and miniature golf were particularly popular. Villa YoYo’s wish was a "sleep-over party" for the children they look after. Added to this, the students were able to redecorate the Foundation’s dining and living rooms. The Addiction Care Foundation came up with the "Make a wish" project: the group concerned was invited to try to fulfil various wishes voiced by people suffering from drug addiction. These wishes ranged from a simple ice-cream to a meeting with a player of FC St.Gallen.

Positive feedback

On Friday, 12 May, the team reassembled at the University of St.Gallen in order to present their results and to provide feedback. The students had been able to complete almost all their tasks. The feedback was extremely positive from both sides. The students felt that the encounters with unfamiliar project partners were very exciting, and they enjoyed the change from everyday university life. The project principals on their part were very pleased with the groups’ commitment and motivation. They expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to realise their projects and to gain new experiences.

The future of the 24-hour campaign is uncertain since the present Humanity Team will have completely new members in the coming academic year: "It would be very nice if the 24-hour campaign were to continue. We hope that even more students can be attracted to the event in the future, for the results speak for themselves," says Mona. The project principals, at any rate, showed a great deal of interest in long-term involvement. Accordingly, the Humanity Team regards the campaign as an excellent basis on which to make the world a little better.

Thomas Tarantini is studying Business Administration in the sixth semester at the HSG.

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