Student Work Group for the Third Mission

In October 2020, the Academic Senate of the SNS approved the formal constitution of a Student Work Group for the Third Mission, also open to former students of the SNS, to work side by side with the Third Mission Commission and its support structures in the creation, organisation and setting up of Third Mission initiatives, with particular reference to Public Engagement.

On several occasions, students have expressed the need for the SNS to allow greater openness to experiences parallel to scientific and academic ones, and to direct interventions of the student body outside the SNS. This need for greater openness as shown by the students may be expressed as the well-known concept of outreach: the missions of the university must regain the capacity for breaking out of their own perimeter and opening up to the outside world.

In recent years, the students have become the promoters of some successful initiatives that are part and parcel of the possibilities offered by the SNS to the city, and more. All these actions of social impact have arisen gradually in an impromptu manner thanks to the efforts of individual students and with the approval of the Direction of the SNS, and now constitute a coherent nucleus of activities; these are original Public Engagement initiatives that, side by side with dissemination, provide an activity of research and of methodological reflection, involve partners both public and private, local and national, increase the impact of the SNS on the surrounding area, generating social innovation through culture and creating awareness of it in a privileged target – students of the upper secondary school and of universities in Italy and abroad. The SNS thus maintains the important necessity for institutionalising the contribution of students, also in order to recognise and reward their creative and organisational contribution, in a context of empowered peer education.

In consideration of the sharing and participation of the entire community of the SNS and of its alumni in the planning of these initiatives, a Work Group has been set up of undergraduate and PhD students and former students for the production of public goods, with the aim of providing organicity, continuity and further momentum in the planning and co-ordination of all the student Third Mission activities. The Work Group aims to achieve each year a nucleus of initiatives regarding the production of public goods and Public Engagement of strong social impact, with particular attention to theatrical language in its potential interactions with the study sectors of the SNS. The initiatives of the Work Group will need to generate innovation and social inclusion, through the dissemination of culture, and to interest audiences of differing types. The activities will need to be innovative and capable of experimenting with, and when appropriate hybridise, different languages. The planning of the activities must be coherent with those lines of development considered the most advantageous. If possible, the activities should be supported by in-depth scientific and/or methodological actions carried out by the personnel and reference research structures within the SNS. The Work Group will also be able to co-ordinate other potential funding of student initiatives and of Third Mission training for the students of the SNS.