YOUCAMPUS is the University of Pavia’s new digital community: a website which gathers information on the activity of the University and acts as a point of communication between students, professors, researchers, and technical-administrative staff.
The portal was conceived thanks to the project “P.A.V.I.A – Participate, live, enhance, imagine, plan the city” which is part of the student services in University Municipalities initiative, promoted and co-funded by the government’s Department for Youth and by the Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani (ANCI), and it will be online by the end of March 2012.
The portal’s content is divided into four main sections: Watch, Listen, Share and Inform Yourself. The community can experience, share, express and educate itself via a social network, an on-line newspaper, and on-demand internet radio and web-tv.
Inform Yourself contains information on cultural initiatives taking place at the University and in the local area. It also provides information on services, events and initiatives on offer to students and young people.
Each piece of information, indexed under a specific category (University, Campus, Events, Research, Pavia...) is purely textual or in the case of important events, linked to photo galleries, audio files (an interview or an extract from a radio programme), or videos of particular interest from the network.
This section aims to facilitate and encourage the citizens of Pavia and the University’s academic community to exchange experiences and content, fostering creativity and individuality within the community. In this section users can share stories, poems, self-produced songs, and photographs which reflect their daily life within a university setting.
Watch and Listen
The internet radio was launched on the 23rd of June 2008, thanks to the project “Pavia, the active city”, an initiative reserved for university cities and headed by the ANCI on behalf of the Department for Youth. In 2010 television web casting was launched thanks to the project “Grow together to help everyone grow”, presented by the Provincia di Pavia and co-funded by the Regione Lombardia, as part of the “New generation of ideas. The politics and routes of intervention for young people in the Lombard region.” Project which was conceived following an agreement between regions and the Department for Youth.
Following an investigation into the online tools and methods of communication used by universities and public administrations both in Italy and abroad, it became clear that web-radio and web-tv were becoming increasingly widespread and effective means of communication, particularly in view of their low investment and running costs. The investigation was made possible thanks to dialogue and collaboration between Italian universities’ web-radios, members of RadUni (Media association of Italian Universities) and Ustation.it (Media Network of Italian Universities).
It is common conviction – the editorial lines and contents themselves are proof – that university web-radios are much more than channels of communication for the institution.
In addition to their communital nature, web-radios perform the function of a public service and are able to perform scientific divulgation. They are instruments which promote dialogue and confrontation, establish sense of professionalism and responsibility in students and transmit a spirit of cohesion and sense of belonging amongst all members of the community.
Last year, the government’s Multimedia watchdog which operates within Formez PA (a centre for the modernization of Public Administration), issued the report “Visible Public Administration” which outlines the evolution of Italian public communication.
Roberto Santi, the director of the Multimedia watchdog states; “in this context a central role has been played by the multichanneled dimension of public administration communication...The monitoring activity carried out during the course of 2010, brought up many interesting points, but has above all made us aware that Italian public administrations are launching increasingly effective ways of merging multimedia content. In addition, public administrations correct or consolidate educational and service products so that they are increasingly congruent with citizens’ expectations.
“The choice of audiovisual production – continues Santi – frees information from bureaucratic language, rendering it more immediate and clear. Administrations which create videos generally aim to communicate with a young audience, the most evolved in terms of the use of new technology, but also the most difficult to draw close to public administration. It is primarily this audience which causes administrations to launch themselves on diffused social networking platforms such as Youtube, Youstream and Facebook; which render videos downloadable and audio attainable via podcasting”.
UCampus therefore answers the public institution’s need to be able to inform, communicate and converse with its users (in this instance a community of 25,000 students, professors, researchers and technical administrative staff) via innovative and immediate means of communication. This takes place via programmes on the web-radio, videos and video services published on the Youtube official channel; and shared on the pages of the portal www.unipv.eu, and through messages on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Furthermore, the University of Pavia with its teaching, research and residential facilities, is situated within a small-medium sized urban context (70,000 inhabitants), the town therefore becomes a sort of large campus, in which UCampus acts as a collector of the various voices of the community.
As a result of collaboration with the University’s degree course in Communication, the publishing office of the student newspaper and various associations within the university, UCampus has also become a permanent multimedia laboratory.
Students and young people have the opportunity to take part in and contribute to the running of the facility, from both an editorial and technical point of view, experimenting with new radio and televisional languages, creating original compositions and providing analyses on current affairs, campus life and the university’s protagonists.
The internet radio focuses on divulging university information. The programmes Unimag and Campus Life examine and report on the main events taking place at the University and in the past have provided useful information on study and mobility grants, student services, scientific research and on applications and their respective deadlines.
Special programmes have been realised following important national and international events.
For example, UCampus produced a series of programmes for the 2010 and 2011 World Food Day, in which professors, economists and contributors from the university spoke alongside national and international NGO representatives.
UCampus’ video productions serve to elaborate on University events and are journalistic in style. Live videos of special ceremonies and lessons are also filmed and broadcast on the internet via web-casting. In addition videos on course offers and student services are also available on the portal.