Initiatives aimed at enhancing the development pathway for leaders of the future and using sport to address emotional and mental-health concerns among university students have been named the best student projects from the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World Forum.
The first virtual FISU World Forum was held from August 12 to 14, with the event moved online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The student projects ran alongside the event, with the Forum concluding with group presentations of their idea.
The theme for this year’s student projects was "Promoting Positive Impacts of University Sport on Health and Wellbeing of Students as Tomorrow’s Leaders".
Seven groups produced projects, with nearly 100 students representing 61 countries taking part.
Group One presented a project to enhance the development pathway for leaders of the future, which FISU said focused on the holistic development of a person through sport, better health and active lifestyles.
The second winning project was presented by Group Two, which aimed to address mental-health concerns among the university student community.
FISU said the group's action plan includes implementation during annual events like International Day of University Sport and the FISU Healthy Campus project.
The project revolves around local activities on each university campus and aims to identify the main factors affecting the emotional exhaustion of students.
The main proposal of the project is to create an educational platform of good practices for dual career, recuperation, recovery, and enjoyment.
The groups delivering the winning projects will receive a special award from FISU and the 2020 FISU World Forum Organising Committee.
"Apart from project management, the pre-learning programme for students focused on leadership and work in international groups," Renata Renata Bojczuk, a member of the FISU Education Committee, said.
"Indeed, students were challenged, not only with the competition but also with the task of creating a team out of people they have never met before and couldn't meet in person.
"People from different continents, time zones and cultures.
"What was linking all of them was the passion for university sport.
"For me, the most valuable part of the student programme was that students learned how to work in international groups.
"How to respect and understand others’ views, attitudes, how to overcome the obstacles linked to working digitally, and how to enrich a project proposal with the diversity of ideas and unique experiences of each of the group members."
The groups were able to work on their projects prior to the Forum, including receiving access to some online learning sessions and guidance from FISU Education Committee members on how to develop and run a project.
The brief for the student projects was that the project should be relevant and realistic, while responding to real needs or being addressed to a concrete target group.
The winning projects were decided by a jury which included FISU Education Committee member Inés Maria Gomez, Education Committee and Student Committee member Viktor Kiss and FISU student ambassador Sabina D’Ess.
FISU's education and development Director, Lilia Barieva, and Fernando Parente, director of FISU Healthy Campus and relations with universities director, also helped chose the winning projects.
An evaluation survey has been launched among the participating students to further delve into how the student projects were beneficial for them.