Campus - 22.09.2021 - 00:00 

The Assessment Guide: symbol of a campus culture of solidarity

In the voluntary coaching programme, older students give newcomers a helping hand when they have questions concerning their undergraduate studies – an offer that is popular not only in times of a pandemic. By student reporter Sven Schumann.

22 September 2021. This year, too, the SHSG is organising the Assessment Guide with the support of HSG Alumni. In this voluntary coaching programme, Bachelor’s and Master’s Level students are assigned to participating “assessies”, as the newcomers are affectionately called, to serve as an initial contact point for questions regarding undergraduate studies, the campus and student life. In the course of the matching process, assessies and guides can previously indicate preferences concerning gender and areas of competence. The latter cover the categories of “Uni/studies”, “Student life and partying in St.Gallen”, “Extracurricular activities” and “Sports”.

Besides the Kick-off Event that will take place in the second week of October, at which the pairs assigned to each other will get acquainted at an aperitif, there will be an additional event for the guides every semester. At these meetings, they will receive suggestions and tips concerning their coaching activities and be able to discuss the questions that have been raised with experts.

The assessies programme is very popular

The great number of registrations is evidence of the fact that the programme is very popular, particularly with new undergraduates. According to Denise Kaderli, this year’s project leader, just under 140 newcomers had already registered before the StartWeek. The number of registrations by older students who would like to volunteer as guides, however, is still lagging behind. In order to close this gap, the drum will have to be beaten for this at the beginning of the semester.

The need for advice and guidance is particularly pressing during the uncertain time of the pandemic. I was able to experience this myself in the role of a guide to two assessies. As a consequence of teaching being moved from the campus into students’ own four walls, it was very difficult to get to know fellow students. Despite the pandemic, questions concerning IAW, the purchase of textbooks and revision for examinations were still being raised. But in last year’s edition of the programme, the assessies were not left alone with their questions in this special situation. Like many other guides, I answered their questions through WhatsApp after the Kick-off Event, which had also taken place on our screens. Although the most important information could be exchanged through this channel, I’m looking forward to answering my new assessies’ questions over a cup of coffee in the Mensa or over a beer in the [ad]hoc.

Not only the assessies profit

While the assessies benefit from their “godparents’” wealth of experience, the guides gain valuable coaching experience as they profit from the above-mentioned events at which they can reflect on their own coaching. As a welcome side-effect, guides can also help revive the campus culture, which has lain dormant in the corona year, by facilitating the youngest generation’s integration into student life.

For Katja Alison Zimmermann, who was responsible for last year’s programme, the project also provides “a nice opportunity for giving something back”, for “we were all overtaxed and were able to turn to other students with our questions”.

To ensure that the programme will be able to make it easier for numerous students to take up their studies and find their way about the campus, it depends on the registration of many motivated guides as possible who would like to help their assessies while profiting from the programme themselves. Anyone who is interested please register here.

Sven Schumann is a 5th semester International Affairs student at the University of St.Gallen.

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