Written on 03 September 2021.
As part of the induction programme prepared for incoming first-year students this year, EDHEC chose to raise its future graduates’ awareness of a number of major challenges facing society. The climate emergency, ecological transition and the fight against sexual and gender-based violence were all tackled through a series of original initiatives designed to raise consciousness and change behaviours.
EDHEC marked its engagement in the fight against unacceptable sexual and gender-based behaviour by making prevention and management of risky conduct a theme of the events organised for the start of the new academic year.
On Thursday 26 August, over 700 Pre-Master (Year 1) students attended a conference under the title “Men, women and the rest of the world: what does a political vision of genders bring us?” delivered by Sam Bourcier, senior lecturer in sociology and specialist in gender and queer studies. The conference sought to offer students a conceptual basis and framework – both philosophical and sociological – for considering representations of gender, body and sexuality, the ultimate aim being to help young people better understand the mechanisms leading to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and thus fight it more effectively.
Later in the day, students also had the chance to learn how to tackle the issue of SGBV through exposure to practical and original situations.
Based on an educational game developed by the Open Leadership for Diversity & Inclusion Chair - “Sexual and Gender-based Violence: Acting and Putting a Stop to it!” - students were trained in the major principles of fighting SGBV. Split into small groups of seven and supervised by 60 coaches, they learned to identify risky situations and their legal implications, develop the right reflexes and adopt the best attitude to help victims.
To assist students throughout their time at the School, each young person received a card at the end of the workshop reminding them of the right reflexes and the useful contacts set up by the School to deal with SGBV situations: listening unit, psychological support, student sentinels and emergency numbers.
“Our aim is to revolutionise mentalities with regard to gender equality and sexual and gender-based violence, both of which are major issues for education and society. We wanted to tackle these questions by raising awareness among our incoming students right from the start of the academic year. By giving them a clear framework for understanding the issues, together with practical tools, we’re going to help them deal with SGBV situations and contribute directly to eliminating them”, underlines Hager Jemel, Director of the Pre-Master Year and the Open Leadership for Diversity & Inclusion Chair at EDHEC.
Building on the events organised for the start of the previous academic year, EDHEC stepped up its engagement with the environmental cause and entrepreneurship. The start of the 2021 academic year provided the opportunity to raise incoming students’ awareness of the climate challenge, through the means of a round table focused on the question of “How to make the company a driver of ecological transition?”, fronted by Antoine Vergnaud, EDHEC alumnus, together with Louis Pinot de Villechenon, co-founder of the Convention des Entreprises pour le Climat, and Astrid Tarteret, EDHEC alumnus and co-founder of Fermes En ViE.
As in 2019, the students also took part in La Fresque du climat, a collaborative, educational climate workshop based on collective intelligence. Guided by coaches and experts, students were split into groups of seven, so as to gain a better understanding of how the climate works and the consequences of its disruption.
Another prominent theme for the start of the academic year is entrepreneurship, as emphasised by the “Innovation Sprint”, a 12-hour in-person hackathon organised as a prelude to six-weeks of team-work. Participants are tasked with imagining an innovative solution to a problem set by a company, developing a prototype and then pitching the idea during a finals event scheduled for 8 October. Mentoring this first edition of the Innovation Sprint is Sacha Poignonnec (EDHEC alumnus 2002), an inspiring figure in entrepreneurship and co-founder and CEO of Jumia.
Further details on the key themes featured in the start to the 2021 academic year can be found in our two podcasts