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EUPRIO gets ready for Mannheim meeting

Not long now until the EUPRIO family comes together in Mannheim for our 2017 annual conference.

This year’s conference is focusing on how universities can successfully network with their cities, regions and companies, writes Nic Mitchell, and the event takes place from June 29 to July 2.logo Euprio Conference Mannheim 2017

Registration is open until 12 June – the same date entries are required for this year’s EUPRIO Awards.

Ideal venue to discuss networking

Mannheim, at the heart of the important Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region in Germany, is a great choice to talk about networking between higher education and the communities and locations in which universities are based, says conference organiser Katja Bär.

Katja Bär from #EUPRIO17 host University of Mannheim

Katja Bär from #EUPRIO17 host University of Mannheim

She is Director of Communications and Fundraising at Mannheim University and points out the institution was founded as a School of Commerce in 1907 with the help of Mannheim’s civil society at a time when industry leaders were looking for business education combined with education in a broader sense.

Katja says: “We’ve always been aware of the importance of networking and relationship building and ‘third-mission’ is a key word here.

“It is part of the Mannheim spirit to reject living in an ivory tower.

“Exchanging ideas and networking with our businesses and industry as well as our city and region comes naturally to us.”

Private-public partnerships are also important for fundraising and the university recently raised €13 million for its renovation project ‘Renaissance of the Baroque Palace’ – the venue for #EUPRIO17.

“These days we can no longer rely on the State to fully fund all our needs and we need the support of donors and generous patrons and Alumni and were delighted to win the German Alumni fundraising prize in 2016 for our latest campaign.”

Katja will be running a workshop on ‘Essential lessons for fundraising’ during the conference and says: “Getting people interested, getting them involved and getting them to become a part of your institution – or friend – isn’t that what all EUPRIO members are working for?”

Communicating beyond the gates

Among the multitude of workshops and lectures to choose from during the Mannheim conference is an interactive session (repeated twice on Saturday 1 July) led by Tricia Alegra Jenkins. This will look at how universities can build relations with marginalised and socially excluded groups that are unlikely to be represented as either students or staff.

Tricia Jenkins

Tricia Jenkins

Tricia gained the British honour MBE for services to higher education and is a recognised international expert in social inclusion.

She was the first Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Educational Opportunities, University of Liverpool in the UK, and is now based in Croatia as the founder of Catalyst for Dialogue, a small consulting company with a global network, which encourages conversations between different societal stakeholders, particularly children.

Her workshop will examine ‘Which local communities does your university normally communicate with, are there reasons for going beyond these, and how can this best happen?’

During the workshop Tricia will outline the concept of ‘Locally Defined Minorities’ within the context of the participants’ own institutions and explore how majority and minority groups in society are not determined by numbers, but by power relationships that determine access to resources in society, such as educational opportunities.

Using the Medicine Wheel as the framework for a holistic discussion, workshop participants will be asked to reflect whether their institution has any gaps in their relationships with specifically identified local communities.

The Medicine Wheel is an ancient tool that was used by our ancestors to find balance and harmony and Tricia has successfully used the tool for reflection, curriculum development and evaluation. Her holistic approach is particularly appropriate when addressing issues of a culturally sensitive nature, for example ethnic monitories and social exclusion.

Collectively the workshop groups will then seek to develop strategies for partnerships outside of a university’s traditional connections to enable the participants to continue the discussions in their home institution in a neutral and positively focused manner.

Making a point with Amsterdam society

The winner of EUPRIO Awards is invited to give a presentation during the following year’s conference as the association’s guest – with registration, travel and accommodation all paid for. And this year we welcome back Paul Helbing, Director of Communications at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

EUPRIO Awards 2016  winners from Amsterdam with  President Christine Legrand.

EUPRIO Awards 2016 winners from Amsterdam with President Christine Legrand.

His winning entry at #EUPRIO16 was based on AUAS’s series of ‘’making a point’ mini campaigns which tackled some of the major issues facing the city of Amsterdam, ranging from caring for senior citizens to the need to recycle the growing piles of garbage clogging the city streets.

In Paul’s workshop, participants will learn how over the last year the campaign has developed and how internal communications and student recruitment now work within the same framework as the corporate campaign, thus strengthening the ties between internal and external circles and groups around the story of the university.

The workshop (Saturday 1 July) will examine the ten steps of the Amsterdam approach and participants will discuss the following questions: What is the corporate story of your university? What are your aims? Who are the heroes of your communication strategy? Do you use a ‘crossmedia’ strategy or are you ready for the ‘transmedia’ approach?

More about the EUPRIO Awards can be found here 

* To find out more about the full programme for EUPRIO’s Mannheim conference and all the speakers, and to register for #EUPRIO17, go to the conference site.