Phoenix Project: when students can make a difference
Nearly 400 student applications, 40 internships and 10 field projects launched and 32 different institutions involved. The Phoenix project carried out by Bocconi and Citi Foundation closed with numbers that demonstrate one significant aspect in particular: the students' desire to engage in activities with high social impact and to make a contribution to a Third Sector that, due to the pandemic emergency, has been severely challenged in its ability to respond to social needs. On the other hand, the positive response in the many institutions and organizations that welcomed the students shows the interest in engaging with the fresh ideas and energies of 20-year-olds.
The result was a collaboration that, particularly through field projects, was able to highlight the students' contributions. In addition to the project with Cadmi, which saw some of the students working side by side with the operators of the association that deals with abused women, the Bocconi girls and boys developed, among others, projects that ranged from the elaboration of financial flow forecasting models for Doctors with Africa Cuamm, to the evaluation of the impact of one of the initiatives of Terre des Hommes Italia; from the drafting of a diversity/disabilty program for Fondazione Adecco, to the definition of the social report for Fondazione Buzzi.
Giovanni Carletti, in the second year of his master's degree in Economics and Management of Government and International Organizations, together with Edoardo Ardito and Luigi Roncoroni, carried out an impact analysis of the Francesca Rava Foundation's interventions in support of Italian hospitals during the pandemic. "I've always had a passion for the Third Sector, I'm also a scout", he says. "Working alongside the Foundation made me feel how much their work has an important social impact and how much ours could have with them". In addition, "I really appreciated the fact that we had a way to propose our ideas and be able to discuss them with them".
He is echoed by Alessandra Fattori, a first-year Double Degree China MIM student who, with Gian Marco Serra, Francesco Zollo and Giunio Panarelli, worked for Sesta Opera San Fedele on a crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising funds for inmates at the Opera prison: "A challenging experience, not only because a project in the field confronts you with the challenge of a practical experience and not just an academic one, but because we were confronted with a reality, the prison, which unfortunately and stereotypically, is a place to be hidden and to be considered a point of arrival from which one does not start again". An experience, therefore, that "enriched us also from a human point of view," the student adds.
The great variety and richness of Phoenix's projects and internships "demonstrate how Bocconi University's Third Mission is actually the first", adds Carlo Salvato, professor of business strategy and academic head of the project. "That is, putting our students in a position to leave a better world than the one they found, with their own professional and human commitment."
Silvia Boschetti, public and government affairs officer at Citi Italia, is also convinced of this: "The intuition we had together with Bocconi University in March 2020, so at the beginning of the pandemic, to provide concrete help to the third sector in terms of managerial methods and innovative energies, such as those brought by the students, proved to be correct. The presentations and testimonies of students and NGO representatives proved it. Phoenix was a project of real impact according to the objectives of Citi Foundation's pathway to progress program."