USI Alumni during Covid-19: thoughts and initiatives

USI Alumni during Covid-19: thoughts and initiatives

USI has invited its Alumni to share thoughts and experiences in the age of coronavirus. A way to stay in touch and give advice, enriched by testimonies from various parts of the world. An updated list of the ideas can be found at this page with links for further details.

Gestures of solidarity: Nicole Bizzotto , who graduated in 2020 from the USI Master in Cognitive Psychology in Health Communication, has worked in several areas during this health emergency. Together with her classmate Granit Baqaj (graduated in 2019) she organised a crowdfunding campaign for La Carità Hospital, a fundraiser that allowed her to offer breakfast to healthcare staff as a gesture of gratitude for their work. With the facebook group TI ascolto - Support Group Covid-19 in Ticino, they also provided emotional support to those in need. These initiatives were reported on the news portal. 

With the Mille Gru association, Nicole then proposed a writing contest to tackle the emergency entitled " Poetic Antibodies ". "The epidemic will not quarantine imagination" is the motto of the initiative - in which many USI students took part - which sees writing as a way to take care of oneself and others. 

New business models and strategic vision: Marziale Brusini , a graduate of the USI Executive MBA in 2015, offers considerations shared on LinkedIn related to the corporate world. Are we ready to plan a new start that uses a different behavioural model, a business model that is more akin to changing needs and perhaps even more resilient? With this question, Marziale underlines the importance of strategic planning and re-evaluation of business priorities and processes, which take into account digitisation. A team dedicated to the study of trends and new organisational models, such as B-Corp or circular business models are some of the scenarios analysed by Marziale. For further details: Starting with a different approach ; La casa de papel, los indignados and new business models.

Work from home and software development : Luca Camerini (PhD in Communication Sciences at USI in 2011) reported on the online news portal the experience of the software firm WellD. While the immediate impact of the Covid-19 emergency was perhaps less important than in other sectors, working from home has led to new challenges, such as the definition of clear rules and adequate tools to work in new workspaces.

Why don’t we respect the rules? Cristina Carbone,  alumna of the Master in Cognitive Psychology in Health Communication at USI (2019), shared an article in which she proposed an analysis of people’s behaviour during Covid-19, from the perspective of social psychology and decision-making theories. During the emergency, countries adopted rules and introduced restrictions, with different effects. Why some people do not respect the rules, what influences the behaviour of citizens of the same country and with a similar culture? Cristina tells us about "Optimism Bias", or cognitive prejudices and a more complex theory, the "Terror Management Theory", and its implications. The full article is available in the attachment.

Tourism and travel in the age of coronavirus: Elia Frapolli , USI Master in International Tourism graduate in 2007, director of Ticino Turismo for seven years, and now a tourism consultant, voiced his opinion on tourism and the travel industry in an article published on Corriere del Ticino. Among the key elements Elia wrote about, we find "regenerative tourism", a concept entailing contact with greenery and nature, a trend already present and accelerated by the pandemic, and "transformative tourism", another concept based on the search for unique and particular experiences that can leave their mark. Elia Frapolli has also contributed, together with other tourism experts, to a report on the subject that was aired by Rete 4 Mediaset in its Quarta Repubblica tv show.

Online auction with VIPs: Aurelia Jaquier, a 2005 graduate in Communication Sciences at USI, works in Lausanne in the events sector. During this emergency, she recruited personalities from all over Switzerland, inviting them to auction off "something of themselves". From three hours with Nobel Prize Laureate Jacques Dubochet, to the polo shirt and racket signed by Stan Wawrinka, the list of the online auction at was soon filled with interesting items. The large participation in the auction made it possible to make a significant donation to Swiss Solidarity. Aurélia spoke about her initiative with LaRegione.

The role of marketing during the pandemic : Matteo Orlandi (Master in Marketing in 2007), currently Marketing Manager for Simi Group in Milan, proposed on LinkedIn a reflection on the role of marketing during this health emergency. Starting from Maslow’s pyramid of needs, which puts man’s physiological needs at the base and his safety at the next level, Matteo underlines how marketing during the pandemic plays an important role in supporting companies to inform, support and protect their employees, leaving sales or brand visibility objectives in the background.

Covid-19 and senior citizens in Italy: the two sides of social relations: Federica Rossi obtained her PhD in Economics in 2018 at USI and is now postdoc at the Politecnico Milano. Together with Professor Ilaria Mariotti and her colleague Mina Akhavan, she worked on the paper " Covid19 e anziani in Italia: le due facce della ’socialità ’" (Covid19 and the elderly in Italy: the two faces of social relations), trying to investigate why in Italy coronavirus-related deaths of the over-65s were higher than in Germany and Northern Europe. With this research, they focused on the different role played by the elderly in society, on aspects of daily life and variables such as intergenerational exchange, attendance, relationships with the family, all elements that can influence the differences between countries. 

The invitation to our Alumni is still open: share on Twitter and LinkedIn your experience with the hashtag #USIAlumni or write to