International Students Visit Campus during EuroSim
Imagine 150 students spread out among a dozen classrooms, talking, debating, and defending their policies. That’s the environment created by EuroSim, an annual student-run simulation of European Union policy-making. In its 33rd year, the four-day international conference was held at St. John Fisher College for the first time in its history this March.
At EuroSim, students are broken up into groups that represent different constituents, departments, committees, and levels of parliament, including the European Parliament Budget Committee, political groups, and journalists. The overall goal is for students to immerse themselves into their political role. Throughout the weekend, dozens of debates and meetings take place, all working towards passing a prospective financial budget for the European Union (EU).
The first meeting began with each section of students meeting to exchange views and build coalitions. For students like Lars Ruf, from the University of Saarland in Germany, this was a nerve-racking time. Ruf acted as the director general for the budget commissioner and his role was to draft the budget proposal. With the help of his team, he turned a massive EU budget into a one-page proposal, which became the foundation for debates and discussion at EuroSim.
Ruf floated from room to room and observed how the students responded to the proposal.
“It’s like we invented a toy. Some play with it, and some rip it apart,” he said.
Students were fully immersed in the simulation. Each debate room was full of passionate students yelling over each other to speak their mind and defend their party’s views.
“Everyone has different views, but we help each other and give advice,” said Anna Marino, a student from Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
In addition to the regular debates and meetings, there were also several social events that took place off campus. The international students spent a day in New York City upon arriving to the U.S. Once the students were in Rochester, they met American students and everyone took a trip to Niagara Falls. Students were able to socialize, but some also used this time to plan for the busy weekend.
EuroSim came to a close after three full days. The Council President called for a final vote, which was successfully passed.
Dr. Sebastien Lazardeux, chair of the Political Science Department at Fisher, said the event was a great success.
“Students showed a level of engagement with the challenging process of making decisions within the European Union that extended beyond the work conducted during their meetings. Negotiations, bargaining, and attempts at persuasion found their way on the outside grounds of our beautiful campus, and during the various cultural and social activities students enjoyed during the week,” he said. “This is a testament to the power of this experiential learning program, and Fisher can be proud to have hosted such a meaningful event.”
This article was written by Chris Murray. A senior majoring in media and communication with a minor in management, Murray is an intern with the College’s Office of Marketing and Communications.