Promotional image of the U! Reading club with a background picture of people reading in a meeting
Promotional image of the U! Reading club with a background picture of people reading in a meeting
Three students are pushing for the creation of a U! Reading Club
Promotional image of the U! Reading club with a background picture of people reading in a meeting
The proposal for an alliance Reading Club is one of the student projects that has received support from the Unite! Seed Fund Initiative

Martina Massana Massip (UPC), Sacha Zimny (Grenoble INP, France) and Luísa Cardoso (Aalto, Finland) are the three students behind the U!Reading Club project. The initiative, which has been supported by Unite! and its universities through the Unite! Seed Fund for Student Activities focuses on the creation of a Unite! Reading Club that promotes critical thinking among its student, facilitating the exchange of ideas, discussions, recommendations, and experiences in an international and non-academic environment. It is the first professional international inter-university reading club. 
Martina Massana, a graduate student in Data Science and Engineering at UPC, is the project coordinator, along with Carme Fenoll, director of the UPC Culture and Community Area. Martina, Sacha and Luísa declare themselves avid readers, passionate about literature and they explain that 'we are convinced that through it we can learn more about other experiences and cultures'. With the Club they want to encourage students to 'enlarge their understanding and knowledge of diverse cultures and perspectives, while improving our ability to analyse and interpret complex texts'. They consider literature to be a great connection point for students across Europe, and ‘an incredible opportunity to find more common ground, sharing other languages and improving our skills for critical thought,’ Martina adds. 
For Martina, who has already published her first book (“Yo también soy diferente,” Penguin Random House), U! Reading Club is an initiative that can bring great cultural value to the alliance's polytechnic universities. From U! Reading Club, its promoters want to reach students at the nine Unite! universities and encourage them to participate in the activities that are organised. ‘We aim to create an association that promotes reading from multiculturality, offer students an opportunity to access culture from the same university and compensate for the volume of more technical disciplines that we already take to our degrees,’ comments its coordinator. 
They explain that their allies will initially be the different libraries of the Unite! universities, as well as the existing reading clubs in these institutions, whom they will invite to join in their proposals. For Carme Fenoll, ‘reading clubs promote critical reading and bibliodiversity, encouraging enriching debates and empathy.’ For the director of the UPC Culture and Community Area, it will be a good place to foster social relations between students from across the Unite! student community and, in fact, ‘they will be the protagonists of the project'. 
Certainly, students will be able to participate more actively as discussion leaders, presenting the club sessions and giving them a boost. These will take place through virtual platforms that enable the different participants to be brought together, gathered in each of the universities in person. The organizing team will select texts from different academic cultures and disciplines to expose participants to various literary and academic traditions. Its intention is to combine the proposals of classics in the literature of each country, with the works of young and emerging authors. Every month, a book from one of the countries will be proposed and, in the sessions, members of the Club will be able to present their ideas and thoughts. It is planned to invite the author of the book to the session and thus promote a direct debate and knowledge of the authors among the students. 
The team has planned close coordination with the different university libraries in selecting texts as well as with reference libraries in each country, facilitating access to the proposed books. The three students who promoted the initiative have also planned to organise an in-person event in Barcelona, coinciding with the Sant Jordi Day. On top of this, the UPC Libraries will maintain a catalogue of the texts read and debated, as well as the recordings of the meetings, a documentation that Martina explains ‘may be shared with future participants and will serve as a resource for academic research and collaboration’. 

 ‘Unite Reading is also a proposition that will favour mental health and personal enjoyment, beyond classrooms. We are really looking forward to starting!'

Carme Fenoll