On April 15th, during the week filled with EleBocconi discussions, the ISU Committee debate took place on the Bocconi TV YouTube channel. Representing B.Lab is David Cicchetti, CLEAM student and the Isonzo Residence representative. On the opposing side, representing TEAMS is Valentina Tuveri 1st year student of the International Management program with a Bachelor’s degree in the BEMACS course. The debate was moderated by Pasquale Incarnato who was asking the main questions, while the candidates were also asked to respond to the comments of live chat. Here is all that you need to know!
What’s the importance of ISU?
Both candidates agreed that the ISU helps students with different matters that can be subdivided into 3 key macro areas: Associations, Residences and Fees & Funding. According to Valentina, ISU allows students to access higher education and enjoy other activities that they would not be able to partake in without the ISU. David also seemed to agree, claiming that the ISU committee specifically represents not only those who have scholarships, but also students who are members of university groups or live in its residences.
What will the candidates do to increase student working spaces in Bocconi?
Valentina noted the importance of students having a varied university life, emphasizing the working part. Pupils can currently be student ambassadors or access 200 hours of work on the condition that they have the scholarship. Valentina says that the TEAM’s objective is to increase the amount of these working spaces and have the university promote activities like mentorship for freshmen. David responded by proposing an American model: with the opening of a new campus, new job opportunities appear to be available for students. This increases the amount of workplaces for students, regardless of whether they have a scholarship or not, and simultaneously it creates a sense of inclusion and communal spirit.
How do the merit scholarships work?
According to David, merit scholarships are completely different from ISU, as they are based on excellent academic record and as they are independent of student’s financial situation. However, there is a problem as the merit award committee does not include student representatives, hence, B.Lab seeks to have at least one student representative in the board which would allow to familiarise the university with pupils’ experiences.
In response to that, Valentina added that high schoolers applying to Bocconi can indicate that they wish to be considered for the merit scholarship. Graduate students also have the opportunity to ask for it during the application for the Master’s degree process. However, according to her there are 2 critical problems. Firstly, undergraduate and Law students have a very limited amount of scholarships received. Secondly, the merit awards are delivered only during the freshman years, meaning that disparity among students increases as regardless of their academic achievements throughout the upcoming years. Because of that, TEAM is pushing for an increase in merit scholarships, esp. for undergraduates and Law students.
How would the representatives improve communication with the CASA Committee?
Valentina jokes that there is a love-hate relationship between ISU and CASA Committee. However, she claims that increasing the amount of meetings by the Committee would allow events to take place more efficiently and prevent any timing issues. Simultaneously, increasing flexibility of CASA would make networking way easier.
When responding to that, David claimed that CASA is completely independent from ISU. Yet, he agreed that flexibility is crucial and hence argued on increasing the working hours of CASA. He also noted that Bocconi should simplify reglaments and limitations in regards to videos and interviews, as that could increase flexibility as well.
To continue the discussion, Valentina responded to David’s comments by claiming that even if CASA is separate from ISU, it still has a major impact on ISU and its representatives. Therefore, taking care of the cooperation with it remains crucial.
How will they make education more accessible and Bocconi alumni more involved?
During the debate, David was asked to discuss new B.Lab initiatives focused at making Bocconi education more accessible. One of these was the idea to establish zero-tax loans, focused at helping those who struggle to cover tuition fees permanently or for a specific time period. David emphasised the fact that these zero-tax loans are not similar to the American model where students are at risk of indebtedness. He also proposed the idea of implementing partial scholarships (worth 65% of the full scholarship), that could help students whose households’ yearly incomes are between 25,000 and 50,000 eur.
The conversation then shifted to Valentina who is representing a program that puts a great emphasis on collaborating with alumni. She said that continuation of this relationship with alumni allows to create a strong and determined association community. This would help current students to learn from alumni and gain new opportunities like internships.
How would they improve the situation of university dorms and make subsidies more accessible?
For Valentina, this is a great part of the TEAM program. According to her, the current reduction of contracts and inability of students to stay in the dorms in summer is a problem. Valentina wants to set up discussions with Bocconi to showcase these issues to the staff and also promote creation of spaces where students could leave their private belongings when leaving Milan. She also says that it is important to create water dispensers in dorms in order to save the environment.
The discussion then moved on to the topic of subsidies. David explained that scholarships must be equal as currently some are able to secure their scholarships by gaining extra points, while others do not have such an opportunity. Hence, he emphasised that equalising the system is crucial to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in our university environment.
How will they facilitate the bureaucratic part of scholarships?
According to David, this can be done by having Bocconi publish official ISU rankings and being clearer with international students, as that way the entire process would be simplified. Valentina said that it would be important to introduce fee advisors, as they could guide students to understanding their economic situation and opportunities available to them. She agreed that international students often struggle much more and hence need additional advising.
In conclusion, during the ISU Committee debate a bunch of topics were touched upon. From ISU scholarships and merit awards to conditions in dorms and cooperation with alumni, it seems that both sides have extensive cases prepared. But regardless of the heated talks, both sides agreed to be willing to collaborate and work together in near future, regardless of the election results. Yet at the end of the day the future of ISU Committee depends on us, so don’t forget to cast your vote!