Discovering Lugano with the New York Times "Student Journeys"
Institutional Communication Service
18 July 2018
During the warm summer weeks of July, the USI Lugano campus is used to welcoming groups of high school students from all parts of Switzerland that come to discover Ticino and, most importantly, to learn Italian. This year, our campus welcomed also a different group of high school students – from the United States.
On July 13, a group of around 20 teenage Americans visited Lugano to discover the ‘scientific’ side of the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, at first with a visit of the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Cornaredo, then at USI, where they were received by Professor Lorenzo Cantoni (Faculty of Communication Sciences), together with his colleagues at the eLearning Lab and at the UNESCO Chair at USI.
The first part of the visit at USI was dedicated to explaining the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) applied to the tourism sector, focusing on sustainable tourism in world heritage sites. During the second part, the students were given the chance to test an “eye tracking” system, through which they could see how the eye movements of website users can be observed and measured, and how this analysis can be used to improve the quality/usability of websites.
“I was very pleased to share with the students a few of the research projects that are carried out at USI, and I very much appreciated their full attention and intellectual verve, as well as the quality of their questions”, commented Prof. Cantoni, who added “it was also a great opportunity to raise their awareness on the issue of responsible and wise use of communication technologies, and on that of the value of cultural heritage".
The heterogeneous cohort of students, aged 14 to 19 and hailing from all parts of the U.S., chose to visit Switzerland as one of the destinations of the “Student Journeys” organized by the New York Times, an initiative of the leading daily paper that offers young students the opportunity to discover the world by exploring specific topics, such as arts and culture, journalism and media, politics and economy, food and agriculture, and history. A form of ‘smart tourism’ with 15 different destinations to choose from, among which Switzerland and Ticino, which are part of the science and nature topic. During the one-week visit in the Swiss Confederation, the students visited – in addition to USI and the CSCS in Lugano – the CERN in Geneva and the Sphinx astronomical observatory on the Jungfraujoch. All this under the guidance of two young graduates who are experts in their respective fields of study and of a journalist and scientific writer who will report on the New York daily about these experiences.