RUN-EU 2022 Students Week and General Assembly focused on wellbeing and the future

22 November 2022

Between 7-11 November, over 200 RUN-EU delegates, comprising students, researchers, academic staff members and associated partners from each country – drawn from industry, enterprise, regional government and society – as well as the rectors/presidents of the seven-member universities, came together as part of the second RUN-EU Students Week and General Assembly (GA), at the Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), in Finland.

The week of events was an opportunity for the RUN-EU Management Committee to meet in person once again and to reflect on the alliance’s first two-year achievements, strengthen cooperation, improve inter-regional collaboration between all members and associated partners, and plan for the future of RUN-EU.

It included visits to HAMK campuses in Valkeakoski and Evo, and the cultural visit called ‘Getting to know Hämeenlina’. These visits provided an immersive experience to the students and guests in the region and new opportunities to network.

Throughout the Students Week, over 120 student representatives from the seven partner universities participated in four different Short Advanced Programme (SAP) Challenges, based on ‘Aspects of Wellbeing’:

They were given the opportunity to delve deeper into the personal, ecological, societal and financial aspects of wellbeing and provide innovative sustainable real-life solutions for each challenge.

Jean Oliviera, a Master student of International Leisure and Tourism, from NHL Stenden, who participated in the ‘Aspects of Wellbeing – Financial Challenge’, said:
‘I highly recommend the programme. The SAP opens one’s mind to the possibility of a brighter tomorrow through means of innovation, creativity, and togetherness with students from different cultural backgrounds, life, and experiences. The idea of the SAP is to use the perspective of all participating students and merge them into the creation of a new product or resulting in a better way of looking at the world, in doing so helping higher education evolve and stay relevant as well as ahead of time’.

Camila Coelho, a Bachelor student of Translation and Interpretation Portuguese/Chinese – Chinese/Portuguese at Polytechnic of Leiria, who participated in the ‘Aspects of Wellbeing – Ecological Challenge’, said:
‘HAMK provided us a great week full of activities to be mindful of wellbeing. I got to learn about the finnish way of taking good care of nature, develop a concept for the improvement of the environment and also got to be involved in the preparation for the next stage of the RUN-EU. It was a privilege to meet all of the students who, like me, want to have a positive impact in the education. I am certain that the future holds better opportunities for more students to pave their way to success’. 

NHL Stenden’s Technology and Innovation student, Bonne Sijbesma, added:
‘Partaking in a SAP will not only result in personal development and experience but also in amazing memories and new connections with people worldwide. If I may speak for myself here, I’m sure I will keep these memories forever with me!’

© Ramon Jongschaap
© Katio Emílio

The RUN-EU General Assembly meeting gathered the whole RUN-EU community in a celebration of the excellent work done by the alliance in the first two years, and the achievement of the proposed objectives for the creation of a true pan-European university, providing for future and advanced skills programmes and becoming an engine of regional development.
RUN-European University representatives reviewed the alliance’s achievements so far. However, eyes are already set on the future, as RUN-EU expands from 7 to 9 partners and prepares to apply for new, longer-term funding. 

In their opening speeches, both the president Pertti Puusaari, and vice-president of HAMK, Heidi Ahokallio Leppälä welcomed all.

‘We, RUN-EU, have a great future ahead of us!’, said Pertti Puusaari.

The president of the Polytechnic of Leiria and RUN-EU Coordinator, Carlos Rabadão, addressed the plans for the future development and maintenance of RUN-EU:

‘In the coming years, the alliance aims to share best practices and positively influence the future strategies of each of its seven higher education institutions, as well as broader European agendas, including the development of the European Education Area, the Higher Education Policy of the European Commission, and the European Union’s renewed agenda for higher education.’

‘We are a truly European network that fulfils many of the European Union’s purposes and ambitions.
All investment we put into our European University will bring tangible and intangible results that go beyond our large academic community, and we can never forget that’, he added.

HAMK 30th Anniversary
and a new Double Degree

Häme University of Applied Sciences accomplishes its 30th anniversary this year, and the celebration event took place after the General Assembly. It gathered HAMK students and staff and all the RUN-EU delegates and representatives from all partners of the alliance. The representative of the associated partners reinforced the impact of HAMK and RUN-EU on the region, and its significance for the regions’ sustainable future.

It was a great get-together and an amazing opportunity to strengthen our collaboration.

On the occasion, the Presidents of the Polytechnic of Leiria and the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences signed the new Double Degree agreement on Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Mechatronics, in which students will be able to enrol in 2023.
Another big milestone achievement for RUN-EU

On the last day, HAMK hosted the Students Week final presentations, with four groups of students taking the stage to showcase their final projects, on the theme of each of the four SAP Challenges.
It was the confirmation of the student’s involvement in RUN-EU and the impact SAPs have on their lives. It was a very emotional moment as well, for it meant farewell, after an exciting and unforgettable week.
Until next time: We Are One, We Are RUN!

The next RUN-EU Students Week and General Assembly will take place at the Polytechnic of Leiria, Portugal, in October 2023.

Live updates from the event can be found on social media under the hashtags #RUNEUSTUDENTSWEEK and #RUNEUGA22.


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