Campus - 16.08.2018 - 00:00 

Student Union launches the first Summer School

The Student Union's first Summer School was all about the digital world and met with a great response. The advertisement attracted precisely twice as many prospective participants as there were places. Now, the Summer School is planned to be continued next summer with three times the number of HSG students.

16 August 2018. "There is a great demand for programming courses at the University of St.Gallen. The few that are on offer are always fully booked," says Florian Wußmann, co-leader of the Summer School organisation team and committee member of the Student Union (SHSG). This resulted in the idea of offering intensive IT courses for two weeks in the summer. Participants would immerse themselves in various aspects of state-of-the-art technology. "In the Summer School, we want to provide students with an extensive introduction to the topic."

Digital world requires an understanding of IT

In a world in which digitalisation is becoming increasingly more significant, it is imperative to have some grounding in IT. "To become the successful executives of tomorrow, students have to have a profound understanding of digital technologies and their possibilities," emphasises Florian Wußmann, which is why the Summer School focuses on areas which were selected on account of their significance for the configuration of today’s world. In particular, he mentioned the internet of things, web design, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The run on the 35 places of the Summer School was confirmation for the Student Union that there was a great demand for courses of this type. "Interest was also expressed by Ph.D. students, but we had to limit the course to the Bachelor's and Master's Levels of the University of St.Gallen," says a student who has just obtained his Bachelor's degree in International Affairs and is continuing his studies at the Master's Level. Nonetheless, the organisation team had to turn down half of the prospective participants since 70 applications were received. "Making a selection was not easy. We made sure that the ratio between women and men and between the Bachelor's and Master's Levels was balanced. Also, we preferred those students who are involved in an association at the HSG, for example, or who strongly identify with our University in other ways."

For students with a basic knowledge

The venue of the Summer School, which will take place from 29 August to 11 September 2018, will be the newly inaugurated Coworking Space of the SHSG in Müller-Friedbergstrasse 6. Under the heading of the "Internet of Things", participants will learn how to automate and optimise their physical environment with sensors and codes. In the field of web design, students will find out how to develop an app for a new start-up, for instance. They will also learn how blockchain applications work and how they can use their data to improve projects. At the end of the Summer School, the main sponsor of the event will submit a case to the participants, who will then have to find a solution for it.

According to Florian Wußmann, the workshops are not aimed at IT cracks but at students with a basic knowledge. Above and beyond intensive work on internet technology, the Summer School also intends to offer convivial events during the two weeks, such as a guided tour of the city, a course on cocktail mixing and joint dinners.

Second edition with a hundred places

It is clear to the Student Union that the first Summer School will find its continuation next summer. Preliminary work for the second edition has already started. It will also be designed and organised by the committee and a team. The organisation team is headed by Bryan Giger, former committee member for IT in the SHSG, and Florian Wußmann, committee member for the representation of interests. The team is planning to offer a hundred workshop places next year.

The project depends on support. Namics, a full-service digital agency for e-commerce in St.Gallen, has agreed to act as its main sponsor. There is also cooperation with the University of Oldenburg. "Thanks to our supporters, we are able to offer the Summer School at a favourable price," underlines Florian Wußmann. Two weeks' participation costs 99 francs. The Student Union itself works on a voluntary basis. The same applies to the SHG Summer School.

Picture: Fotolia/monsitj

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