After arriving at Glion, Master’s student Karim Ghedira quickly realized that there was lots going on, but there wasn’t a dedicated place to find out about all of the events and committees. So, putting his passion for website building and his entrepreneurial spirit to good use, he decided to take action.
The new Student Life website has just came out. Whose idea was it to start this project? How did it all happen?
Karim: When I arrived at Glion, I found it to be a very nice place, with a very nice view, very nice food, but then I realized that some parts of digitalization are missing, especially for student life. We know that there are events, we know that there are committees, we know that there is an ambassador program, but we don’t know where to go online to find out more.
As students, we receive a lot of emails about all of these activities, but you know, an email is not the same as going to a specific website and seeing all the latest news and activities. And then I had the idea: I developed the website. I went to the student affairs department and presented the idea. They were happy with it and we worked on it.
You generally love creating websites and you work on many websites next to your studies, but what did this project bring to you personally?
Karim: Personally, first of all, it’s an achievement for me. I’m an ambassador and I believe that doing something that is sustainable for the whole school is the whole point.
Furthermore, I believe that technology and digitalization is the future. I am doing the hospitality management course and I really believe that all the technological tools can be applied in any situation: in hotels, in relations with people, and in our case, for students in Glion. So I believe working on those websites can be useful for me, for my future career. This is why I’m doing my Master’s in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation. It is all about finding new ideas, and new ideas are more related to technology nowadays. So for me, this kind of project is practice for the future.
Does that mean that, after graduating from Glion, you would like to work in the field of technology or website development?
Karim: Yes. I would love to create digital projects. I have a few ideas. I would love to create an app that would help companies to understand the behavior of their customers better, and to sell the right product at the right time. It’s a mix of all that I learnt here. I would love to apply it for my vision and my own business afterwards.
What is the purpose of this new website?
Karim: First of all, this website is made for students by students, so it is easier for them to reach out to others. It’s easier to recognize the ambassadors and get in touch with them through the website. There is a chat bot that is managed by the students, so the committees and ambassadors can directly talk with other students, so it creates networking.
Secondly, here in Glion we have the Student Government Association that is leading many different committees and organizing events. This site is also created for informing the students about events and other initiatives that will take place, and to be able to involve them in a more efficient way.
When I came to Glion, at the beginning, I didn’t know what exactly the SGA is, I didn’t know much about the Ambassador Program, I didn’t know about the future activities planned. This website solves that problem for new students as they will be able to access it even before arriving, and they will be able to see how everything works. For example, they could see that there is a shuttle going from the main campus to HDA and Fresh. We can let students know all about that, so they can have a better experience.
At the same time, we are promoting all the events that will happen in Glion, for all the committees, online or offline, and both in and outside the campus. You can even book your tickets on the website directly. We also share news about things happening in the school, but also worldwide.
At the same time, one of the main Ambassadors’ tasks is to get student feedback. However, we realized that students never tell us any direct feedback, as they don’t really know who to tell and how this feedback will be treated afterwards. So we created a form where you can reach the right person for your feedback, and this person will then send you an email to follow up on your feedback.
There is also a forum option, right?
Karim: Students will be able to create posts in this forum and get replies directly from other students. For now, there are three main discussions, the first one is all about the pre-arrival information, so people coming to campus can hear about everything that is currently happening.
The second one is about announcements or promotions (student to student). For example, we receive a lot of emails from our peers about their accommodation. Instead of sending us email, they can now post their announcements here. Therefore, people who are interested in finding accommodation can watch out for new content, and people who are not concerned are therefore not bothered and annoyed.
And then, there is one topic for all surveys. As you know, we use surveys a lot for our research papers or different activities. Now we can post them here and the people who want to answer can simply access them, without needing to send an email to the entire school.
How can students access this website?
Karim: We informed the students about the website through different campaigns. In order to keep all this information internal and protected, the website is on registration only and people can only register with their Glion email address.
Do you see this website growing and will there be more features in the future?
Karim: There is a 2.0 version coming out soon, where there will be some kind of a loyalty program, or an option to visualize all the external benefits that students get when studying in Glion. For example, discounts in some of the restaurants and shops in Montreux. Students don’t know all of the benefits, and often don’t take an advantage because of that, so we would like to keep them informed. Maybe we will create personalized QR codes to make sure that each student can easily use these discounts in partner establishments, but that is still to be discussed.
You will graduate from Glion at one point, so who do you see taking over this?
Karim: The idea is to have a dedicated team each semester to update the information, reply to chat bot and help connect with students in general. Now we have a website, but a website without the right team is an empty website and the website with the right team will be a good and successful website.
This was your project as Student Ambassador. Do you think that Ambassadors in Glion get enough opportunities to work on innovative projects and do a lot of different things?
Karim: I can tell you that I had a different experience in another school in the past. I also arrived and proposed the same idea in that school to the student life supervisor, and nothing happened. They didn’t even want to hear about it. Then I joined Glion for my Master’s, I proposed the project to the student affairs here, and something did happen.
In Glion, the school believes that the student life is important, crucial actually. They want to improve it and they want to encourage students to do something useful for others.
A final word…
Karim: This website is innovative and Glion staff and students are innovative. Even though with this current world situation we are all told that events cannot happen, we know that they can always happen. If they can’t happen offline, they can happen online. With this website, we can finally visualize all the events and activities in one place that all students can access.