The CIVICA Engage Track: new perspectives and valuable networking for undergraduate students
The CIVICA Engage Track is a bachelor experience open to students from four of CIVICA’s member institutions: Bocconi University, Sciences Po, SSE and LSE. The idea is to encourage strong civic engagement and create networking opportunities for students from other European campuses as well as organisations in Europe. It consists of two components: joining an Engage course at home or a host university or participating in the European Week, and completing a showcase assignment.
The first cohort have just finished their final showcase assignment and will soon receive their certificates. SSE students Erik Persson and Cecilia Falorni, both third-years in the Business and Economics program, were happy for the opportunity to explore new subjects and mediums.
“I have always had an interest in civic issues, but I have never taken the opportunity to put this interest into practice until I heard of the CIVICA Engage Track,” says Cecilia. “This became the perfect chance for me to dive more deeply into these subjects, while also meeting inspiring students from other universities and backgrounds with similar interests to mine.”
She did her showcase assignment on raising civic engagement – and indirectly, voting participation – in socio-economically vulnerable areas in Europe.
“As SSE is mostly a business school, certain sociological concepts were entirely new for me. While at SSE we practice a lot on writing reports, essays, and presentations, making a video was completely new for me, and thus a challenging but very insightful experience,” continues Cecilia.
“One of the best courses I’ve taken”
During high school, Erik had dreamed of studying abroad or doing an exchange. While the pandemic upended those plans, the CIVICA Engage Track offered a chance to venture beyond the world at home.
During the European Week, hosted remotely by the Stockholm School of Economics, he worked on a case involving how to get young people to save in stocks. When the time came to choose his subject for the last assignment, Erik decided to do a guide to sustainable investment for a younger audience, in the form of a podcast.
“Through the Engage Track I have been introduced to a lot of new topics,” Erik says. “I had never done a podcast before. Trying new things can be challenging in the beginning but we had great support.”
He especially enjoyed the course Business and Economics in Literature that he took at SSE as part of the track.
“It was one of the best courses I’ve taken in the past three years. Many of the subjects we study are very theoretical, so it was great to get to read, discuss and analyse books and poetry. I had never analysed a book that way before.”
What was the best part of the experience for the two students? For Erik, it was meeting new people and exploring how different perspectives can combine to make a greater whole.
“The best thing about this experience has been to meet different people. I got to speak to students from all over the world who study similar things but have a different approach from mine,” Erik says. “It would have been nice to have had the European Week on campus in person, but it was done really well. You really had the possibility to speak to everyone which you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. Even though it has been almost a year I’m still in contact with some of the people I met during the event.”
Erik will take a well-deserved summer break before starting a whole new chapter in the workforce.
Cecilia appreciated the opportunity to connect with the NGO Save the Children for her showcase assignment.
“I believe that the most rewarding part of this experience was to get the chance to get in contact with Rädda Barnen [Save the Children], an organisation that I admire strongly for their values and their important work. This has given me very strong learnings that I will bring with me in my future career.”
After finishing her master’s degree at SSE, she says she hopes to be able to contribute to society in some way.
“Taking part in the CIVICA Engage track has given me the opportunity to deepen my interest in societal issues, and I hope that I will be able to work in line with those values in the future as well.”