In an exchange with the region The premiere of “HSG Hautnah” took place on 3 April 2013. In the Gossau school, Gymnasium Friedberg, the University of St.Gallen presented university life, learning and research in Eastern Switzerland. 4 April 2013. More than 100 guests from the Gossau-Flawil-Uzwil-Wil region attended the first event of “HSG Hautnah” in Gossau. Besides guests from politics, small business and education, the HSG was also able to welcome the local population in Gymnasium Friedberg. “How do you perceive the HSG?” Moderator Beat Antenen opened the event with topical headlines about the University in the regional media. To “feel” the effect that the HSG has on the region and how the local population reacts to it was the aim of the evening. A varied programme of discussions with students, professors and representatives of the Fürstenland region, accompanied by musical and athletic performances by HSG members, awaited the guests. HSG student and dulcimer soloist Nicolas Senn and his guests talked about life, learning and research at the University. Martin Eppler, Professor of Media and Communication Management, told the guests that it took passion, a capacity for suffering but also a little bit of luck to become a professor. HSG graduate Jenny Rickenbach talked about her life as a student. President of the Student Union, Sebastian Götz, related how he tried to keep his finger on the students’ pulse, for instance by regularly visiting the various student associations. “Are you arrogant?” Before the second discussion block of the evening, some results of a representative perception survey were presented, in which the population of the Canton of St.Gallen were asked questions about the University in 2012. The study revealed, among other things, that a small number of the interviewees thought that the HSG and its students were responsible for the economic crisis. HSG President Thomas Bieger explained that many business universities had to deal with this question owing to their focused orientation. Since many graduates also occupied leading positions in corporations, this was another issue where connections were made with the HSG. According to the survey, the population perceived HSG students as friendly but with an inclination towards arrogance. Student Michelle Isler asked the Thurgau student Christoph Anrig: “Are you arrogant?” Anrig laughed and said that most of his fellow students were not arrogant but that there was always a small number who displayed a goodly amount of self-confidence. Furthermore, Michelle Isler wanted to know from ex-football professional Marco Zwyssig how the University had changed. The HSG alumnus stated that the HSG’s aspirations and perception had remained the same but that the HSG was moving with the times with events such as “HSG Hautnah”. Subsequently, clichés were also an issue in the HSG Song, interpreted by Kuno Schedler, HSG professor and member of the professorial band B110. The HSG’s challenges remain In the final discussion block Lukas Gschwend, the Dean of the Law School, compared the HSG with a tree whose branches were spreading into global competition. Success in this environment required, among other things, strong roots in the population. Gschwend then asked the Christian Democrat Cantonal MP Armin Eugster how he rated the HSG regional roots. Eugster replied that like the cantonal population, he considered the HSG to be a leading business university. However, he did not share its appraisal of already existing regional roots. Besides this criticism, Eugster also provided the HSG with an idea for improvement: the HSG, and its institutes in particular, should go for more cooperation ventures in the region, with the cantonal administration and with regional SMEs. Professor Leo Staub from the Executive School replied that the HSG’s executive education programmes, in particular, had very strong roots in the region. Although many courses had an international orientation, most participants came from the region, particularly for the courses of the SME Institute. The headmaster of Gymnasium Friedberg, Lukas Krejci, and the Chairman of Gossau’s School Council, Urs Blaser, were asked about the University as a location factor. If a pupil knew exactly what he or she wanted to study, this was already a cause for rejoicing. What his pupils could expect from a university like the HSG was something most of them already had a clear idea about. For Urs Blaser, the HSG is well rooted in the City of St.Gallen and the surrounding municipalities, but not further afield in the region. Athletic and musical entertainment The event was accompanied by music performed by the HSG Big Band and by Nicolas Senn on the dulcimer. From among the more than 50 sports offered at the HSG, the Japanese sword martial art Kendo and Team Aerobics were presented. The farewell address was given by HSG President Thomas Bieger, who said that he was surprised by the HSG’s diversity time and again, and this diversity had again manifested itself that evening. The University had to and wanted to improve itself constantly, in teaching, in research and in its contacts with the region. “HSG Hautnah” was a further step to intensify this dialogue.