The Guest Blog

Guest blogpost by Lucio Laccarino, Optima Erasmus Advisor, on the left.

Optima Erasmus is a new model of governance, in which private companies provide resources of their own and invest in the European integration.

The investment is material, because we are dealing with an italian company that is able to finance special bursaries for Erasmus students, but at the same time is a project rich in simbolic values. It is a non conventional marketing operation which aims to position the brand of the neapolitan multiutility Optima Italia in arenas such as education, intellectual formation, the net (both internet and face to face relationships). It is non conventional because it takes advantage to all the means available for sharing contents in the web 2.0, produced directly by the web users thanks to the enormous storytelling potentiality offered by smartphone technology.

The importance of the themes faced, characterizes Optima Erasmus as a good practice, an ethical commitment assumed by a brand which has decided to invest in culture and in the new generations.

It is an extraordinary mix of communicative elements, which are able to attract the attention of the traditional media as well as to traduce from the on-line to the off-line many creative intuitions produced by a machine in development.

The Erasmus project is by itself a bottom-up integration process, made by the growth paths of the youngest european citizens. During the Erasmus the students sits exames in a foreign language, have close contacts with foreign educational institutions, meet other european students, adquire self-confidence and independence, away from their families for almost a semester. Nevertheless, in spite of the undisputed values that the Erasmus has in the construction of the European identity, the economical support to the students is insufficient. Optima Erasmus has intervened adding a bursary of 2.000 euro to the public subvention, for 8 italian students who gained the Erasmus Studio scholarship and departed from different italian cities (4 from Naples, thanks to the agreement with the universities Federico II and L’Orientale). The Optima Erasmus Students are the key players of a brand new format, create in order to give a great value, on the social networks, to the storytelling of their international experience. A sociality, that is a new format evoking the reality for the attention to the Erasmus everyday life that is reproduced on the social thanks to the narration of the Optima Erasmus Students through texts, fotos, videos, quotes, sensibilization campaigns, on the platform www.optimaerasmus.com

The storytelling of the study time, the didactic, the empowerment go on with the entertainment and the freetime activities of the students. Thanks to the combination of all of these components, Optima Erasmus has been presented in Brussels the past 18th of March in a press conference organized by a special testimonial, the First Vice President Gianni Pittella, who has stressed the more innovative aspects of the governance generated by this project. In Brussels, together with the Optima Italia Brand manager, Antonio Pirpan, have been announced the main news of the project for the future. In 2015 the special bursaries will be 10 instead of 8, with a higher amount of 3.000 euros, and it will interest not only the italian students leaving for Europe but also the Erasmus going to Italy from european universities. A private investment of more than 100 thousand euros, in bursaries and in the organizative machine, which aims to a stronger europeization through the searching of italian and european partners.

The mission of the project is very ambitious and doesn’t limit itself to the sociality storytelling of the Erasmus experience, but reaches the promotion of the Optima Erasmus Students by creating a link with the job market. The stories produced by the students will represent their business card for the companies which want to invest on leaders. The Optima Erasmus Students have been selected among many hundreds of candidates and have been proved to know how to stand out through collecting votes on Facebook from thousands peoples. Digital natives from italian and european universities, highly qualified and who have, also thanks to Optima Erasmus, the possibility to prove themselves and testing their chances to enter the job market.

The universities interested in the project have started to understand the importance of Optima Erasmus through enthusiastic institutional support, such as for the Università di Bari, which participates with two of the Optima Erasmus Students, which has dedicated to the project an entire page on its official website. Such organization effort needs a favorable institutional context for develop, with the partnership of more companies and the amplification given by universities and student associations, in a sort of constructive visibility which inverts the stereotipe of the South of Italy which needs support and suffers lack of projectuality.

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