Looking forward. A conversation with Professor Antonella Sciarrone Alibrandi
Could you describe how the Università Cattolica Alumni group has involved members in these times of the Coronavirus?
Right from the beginning of the emergency we thought it was important to make the best out of the situation because it was clear to us that the University should be seen to be active even when being on campus and attending classes wasn’t possible. Many of our alumni by now live in cities away from our campuses, some even outside Italy, so it has actually created an opportunity for us. Online activities were a new departure for us but they have been extremely positive and I think that we will continue to propose these sorts of initiatives in the future too.
We focused specifically on two sorts of virtual initiatives:
- We contacted some of our alumni to launch a series of videos where they recount how they are experiencing this unprecedented moment. Using the hashtag #Storiechefannobene (stories that do good), the idea behind these videos is to share ideas, good practice, and how to react and keep going during this crisis.
- We used the Blackboard platform to hold live online events along two lines:
- One-hour webinars aimed towards offering a key to understanding particularly complex and debated current issues in order to deal with them. Via a round table, the various peakers talk on such topics as technology and health, the role of Europe or communication in times of crisis.
- Cultural evenings with a musical and theatrical slant. During the Easter period we held performances of the Night on the Mount of Olives and the Gospel according to Pilate. Given the high number of participants, we have extended this calendar of events until late June.
Università Cattolica recently set up the Agostino Gemelli Fund. Can you describe how this came about?
The Rector, Professor Franco Anelli, began working on this project at the beginning of the crisis. We immediately looked at the economic consequences of the COVID-19 emergency and how they will affect the many Italian families who will find themselves in difficulty when it comes to their children studying at the University they have chosen. In the first instance, a decision was taken to set up a fund to meet the needs of families experiencing immediate difficulties due to the crisis, and this manifested itself in the allocation of an initial contribution of € 1 million. Further donations will follow, e.g. this year the ‘5 per thousand’ (a public taxation scheme in Italy) will be totally directed towards supporting students. The fund also welcomes contributions from individuals, associations and institutions who share the idea that for the country to really get going again, investment in the talent and skills of young people is an absolute necessity.
Article featured on Worldbound, edition n.4-2020.