Students from Hogeschool Utrecht present their campaigns for women’s rights during a visit to Brussels

On the 13th of January, Hogeschool Utrecht organised a one-day event in Brussels focused on this year’s topic of the Ad Venture Student Competition; gender equality and women’s rights. The programme included a visit to the European Parliament where the students had the opportunity to go on a tour and have a taste of the exciting atmosphere of the institution. The highlight of the trip was meeting with the Dutch MEP Esther de Lange (Vice-president of the European People’s Party) who discussed her role in the European Parliament and shared her story about the struggle of becoming a successful female politician. Later on, the students were invited to present their campaigns at the Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel where representatives of the European Institute for Commercial Communications Education (edcom) and lecturers of HU shared their thoughts and offered their constructive feedback to the teams.

IMG_20170113_121818During the visit at the European Parliament, Esther de Lange – Dutch MEP from the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and Vice president of the European People’s Party, took the time to introduce herself to the international students of Hogeschool Utrecht and shared her own story of being a female in the predominantly male world of politics. De Lange shared several personal experiences with the students from the beginning of her career. Since de Lange is a member of the environment and agricultural committees, she gave an example of her first meeting with the Southern European Farmers in the Netherlands:

” I was 32 when I became a member of the European Parliament and within my first week I had to go to the Southern Farmers meeting. This meant a room with 500 farmers who were used to seeing a male politician, who is at least 50 years old…I would enter the room and you would see them go: ‘What? Oh my God, it’s a woman, and she’s relatively young’, and for the first five minutes I wanted to just let them get used to my appearance, so I would just make some small talk” said de Lange. After her motivational and inspiring speech, the Dutch MEP invited the students to an interactive question and answer session.

Following the Q&A session, the students of HU International were welcomed at the Erasmus Hogeschool Brussels to present their campaigns as part of the Ad Venture Student Competition.

The Ad Venture Student Competition is the first Pan-European competition organised by edcom which challenges student teams to participate in the creation and coordination of their own advertising agency. Throughout the duration of a couple of months, the students work on a campaign which need to comply with the guidelines of a brief from a real client; this year, the European Women’s Lobby. In the fight of achieving gender equality and promoting women’s rights, students were asked to create a campaign which highlights women’s past achievements – also known as HerStory- and engage European citizens to engage with initiatives on a national and European level.

As edcom members, both Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel and Hogeschool Utrecht manifested themselves by being actively engaged in this year’s Ad Venture Student Competition. Erasmus University College Brussels took charge of being the host of the event while the five teams of students from HU International represented their school by delivering very creative and diverse campaigns.

IMG_20170113_145046All the teams: Strategic Pink, Polnet, Movem, Jacob and #Whoman did a fantastic job at approaching the topic of women’s rights from different perspectives, employing various marketing strategies and types of research. It was particularly interesting to see how each team had a different target audience. Additionally, each team had its own impact method when presenting the issue to their audience: some teams wanted to make the audience passively aware of all the gender inequalities while others were strong advocates for actively engaging their audience in the campaign.

In the end, the day proved to be extremely productive and edcom’s Ad Venture initiative relevant as ever, as the students relished the opportunity to put their skills to the test in a real life professional and challenging environment, such as the European Parliament. All groups worked hard and ended up presenting creative solutions to raise awareness about a very complex issue.

On behalf of edcom we would like to congratulate all teams on their efforts and wish them good luck for their next endeavors!