Students from BSEU 390: Business in Europe and BSIM 390: International Marketing have joined forces with the Umbria regional government’s Office of Internationalization for an exciting service learning project. The project is based on helping the regional government preserve and promote the region’s traditional, high-quality handcrafted artisan products (ceramics, textiles and furniture) in Italy and abroad.
Both classes met with the Office of Internationalization’s director and manager and last Friday, students visited several artisan companies in Città di Castello, a picturesque town near Perugia. Having interviewed company managers, students now have a better understanding of the products’ rich history and their business operations’ strengths and weaknesses.
Now, the real service begins. In class, students will brainstorm and strategize how to promote these incredible artisan goods in the United States. As innovative young Americans, students will apply theories from class and their own creativity to preserve truly old Italian traditions. This real-life case study has practical benefits for everyone involved and is a great example of collaboration between different generations, languages, cultures and countries.
Education Interns meet with local teachers at Montessori high school to prepare their first workshop with English language students.
This time in the semester marks an exciting period at Umbra. Volunteer opportunities, service learning projects, and internships are well underway.
Students interested in volunteering with Monimbò, a local Fair Trade cooperative had an informational session yesterday with Milena, the volunteer coordinator of the Perugia bottega, Michele, the cooperative’s very own president, and Francesco, a fellow volunteer. They discussed what Fair Trade (equo solidale) is, how it looks in an Italian context, what student volunteers’ tasks will be, and the local and national events they can help with. The next meeting will take place tomorrow beautiful, newly remodeled bottega in the city center.
The Unicef workshop, where Umbra and University of Perugia students will make Pigotta dolls with the guidance of Italian volunteers, begins next Tuesday and will continue throughout the semester. The workshops are held in an old convent with lovely frescoed ceilings, a shot distance from Umbra. It creates the perfect energy to design and sew a unique, life saving Pigotta doll. Each doll is adopted and raises enough money to fund a vaccine kit for a mother and her child in a developing country.
Since you are already in Italy studying abroad, why don’t add a volunteer experience?
Umbra is excited to offer a special opportunity to study abroad students interested in volunteering with Monimbò, a local Fairtrade cooperative. Monimbò organizes a variety of cultural events, rallies, school awareness campaigns, and has a beautiful bottega in Perugia (near Piazza Italia in Via Bonazzi). Check out their website: http://www.monimbo.it/
Student volunteers will learn about Fair Trade philosophy and products, interact with customers, help other volunteers with bottega operations, and/or assist with Fair Trade promotion and major seasonal events.
Last semester there was the Marcia della Pace (peace and human rights march between Perugia and Assisi), Altrocioccolato (a national Fairtrade chocolate festival), EquoperTutti (an international public awareness rally).
This qualifies Arcadia students for the CLC Certificate and the Community Engagement Certificate for other students.
Check out Umbra volunteering opportunities in Italy where you can also watch a video.
The Little Blue What-To-Do, a local free press guide to Perugia just went live online. Two Umbra students, Frances Walsh and Sophie Schechter, were responsible for the editing of the pages that were transferred from paper to the digital version, and are still working on the editing of a new section of the guide. If you are curious here is a link to the sitemap of the guide. In Perugia the Little Blue is known as “the Perugian green card” by all foreign students that come to have an experience abroad in Italy.
Last week, the Business in Europe and International Marketing students ventured to Gualdo Tadino and Città di Castello. These two charming Umbrian towns are known for their artisan products including traditionally-made ceramics and furniture. Students interviewed the artisans in their workshops and learned everything from how paints are mixed as they were in the 1500’s, to how kiln firing secrets are passed down from generation to generation and sustainability efforts being made to preserve the wood supply in Italy.
Several workshops and a furniture exposition later, students now have the task of assisting the regional Umbrian government in uniting Umbrian artisans under a brand called ‘Umbria Artigianato’. With this brand, the local government hopes to strengthen and promote the local artisan industries both in Italy and abroad. This collaboration brings to life a real case study- helping preserve Umbrian artisan industries by ensuring their growth and success locally and internationally. This service learning project, which combines community work with classroom theory, will continue in the coming semesters at Umbra. Stay tuned!
Umbra Professor Antonella Valoroso went on Rai3’s well-known Italian radio show Voci della Città (Voices of the City) recently to speak about The Umbra Institute’s very own “Progetto famiglia italiana.” This experiential learning project, which allows Umbra students to make short, repeated visits to Italian households to provide material for cultural comparisons, has also given Prof. Valoroso a unique perspective into her own culture. She specifically cites a study done by New York Magazine showing that 85% of Italian men didn’t know how to use a washing machine, whereas the vast majority of American teenagers are all too familiar with them.
The Progetto famiglia italiana is an optional experiential learning component of Professor Valoroso’s normal course, Contemporary Italy: Culture, Society, and Trends. The project, which has been running for four years now, is a small part of The Umbra Institute’s larger community engagement plan, which also includes internships, service learning projects, and volunteer opportunities.
You can also hear the interview (only available in Italian) on the Rai website.
On Tuesday, December 14, members of the Umbra community (students, staff and professors) gathered in the historical Palazzo Sorbello while students from three different classes who have engaged in service learning projects shared their experiences and research.
The presentations represent various examples of the types of community engagements available at Umbra, ranging from interaction with local families and schools as well as companies with international operations, based out of Perugia.
Contemporary Italy. Culture and Society
Name of the project: La Famiglia Italiana –
- Courney Earle and Bailey Smith
- Katherine Enna and Phylicia Hoyt
Business in Europe/International Marketing Name of the Company: Umbra Cuscinetti S.p.A., Foligno
Human Development in Culture
Name of the Project: Exploring the Italy ecology from one classroom to another
- Marissa Garrock
- Tom Albert
- Emma Kong
- Jennifer D’Olympio
Independent study in Psychology:
· Jennifer D’Olympio