Not many people know that the University of Milan...
The Università della Montagna (Mountain University) is a training and research centre that aims to promote the conservation and sustainable development of the mountain environment through:
- the prevention of hydrogeological instability
- the careful management of water resources
- the maintenance of biological and socio-cultural diversity
- the production of typicality and quality
- the protection of landscapes for the sustainable development of tourism.
Founded in 2011 thanks to a framework agreement between the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) and the University of Milan, the Mountain University is situated in the locality of Edolo in Valle Camonica (Brescia province).
The Itinerant University
The Itinerant University is a short-term experimental project devised to investigate the modern phenomena of subversive illegality “in the field”, and to define the topic of “difficult legality” in new ways.
The project, coordinated by Nando dalla Chiesa (author, sociologist, politician) is aimed at students, graduates and young researchers and takes the form of itinerant meetings and seminars in iconic locations known for their connections with the Mafia.
Launched in July 2013 with visits to the former prison on the island of Asinara organised by a group of students and researchers led by Nando dalla Chiesa, the project already has trips to Casal di Principe, Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Ostia, Palermo and Corleone under its belt.
Dedicated to the memory of judge Guido Galli, magistrate and professor of criminology at the University of Milan who was murdered by terrorist organisation Prima Linea on 19 March 1980 in room 309 in Via Festa del Perdono.
First celebrated in 2014 with an event at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, every year Justice Day sees the University welcoming legal experts, magistrates and lawyers through its doors for a day of events concerning topics that range from the death penalty to the defence of civil rights, anti-Mafia to forensic medicine, in an integrated, international setting under the overarching banner of legality and the efforts being made by institutions to create a culture of law and respect.
Free legal advice for prisoners
At the University’s Legal Helpdesk, law students work on a voluntary basis providing free legal advice and assistance to inmates of Milan’s Bollate prison, with the aim of ensuring the protection of their rights.
The Legal Helpdesk was set up in 2005 by a group of volunteer legal experts and members of the “Mario Cuminetti” association. It is the first ever experiment in “joint management” between operators and users; the volunteers from the Law Department are assisted by a number of inmates, trained in the field, who help their fellow prisoners to draft applications and documents for forwarding on to the appropriate judiciary.
Degree programmes and workshops in prison
The University offers free enrolment on a number of degree programmes for the inmates of the prisons of Opera and Bollate, thanks to an agreement signed in 2015 with the Lombardy Regional Office for Prison Administration.
The activities of the University inside the prison also include training courses for employees of the Prison Administration and a series of volunteering, training and research activities aimed at the academic community.
Every year a large number of students volunteer to work as tutors to help inmates study and prepare for exams, and take part in philosophical, literary and legal workshops that are held once a week in the prison.
A source of great pride for the University is having made possible, for the first time ever in Italy, workshop activities that bring students and inmates from maximum security prisons together. This unique, engaging experience, the first of its kind in Italy, is organised by Stefano Simonetta, professor of History of Medieval Philosophy.
The theatre of legality
Further testament to the University’s commitment to the rehabilitation of inmates and their reintegration into society is the series of theatre projects that first saw the light in 2014:
- “E io dico no” (“And I say no”), a show based on the collective accounts of young students researchers from the University on the “Sociology of Organised Criminality” degree course set up by Nando dalla Chiesa and first performed in 2014 in collaboration with Milan’s Piccolo Teatro.
- “L’attesa e la speranza: storie di confini”(“Waiting and hoping: tales of incarceration”), a narration and theatre writing workshop performed by the Department of Philosophy in 2016, marking the start of the educational opportunity offered to the inmates of Milan-Opera prison.
- Theatre workshops on the theme of Shakespeare, involving mixed groups of students, inmates and actors, organised by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature with youngsters from the Cesare Beccaria Juvenile Detention Centre, in collaboration with the Puntozero Teatro company.
- "L’infanzia dell’alta sicurezza" (“High-security childhood”), a show by Mimmo Sorrentino, performed in March 2016 in the Aula Magna in Via Festa del Perdono by eight high-security detainees, on stage outside the walls of the prison of Vigevano for the first time. This performance was followed in 2018 by the performance of “Sangue” (“Blood”), another work by Sorrentino performed with the involvement of detainees and prison officers.
Sexual violence against women and children is a subject that the University has addressed since 1996, through its Sexual Violence Unit at the Mangiagalli Clinic, now an assistance referral centre for cases of violence against women and children: Soccorso Violenza Sessuale e Domestica – SVSeD (Sexual and Domestic Violence Emergency Centre).
The centre, the first of its kind in Italy, provides assistance free of charge to thousands of people, and has become an important source of information about the problem. In addition to gynaecologists, nurses, obstetricians, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists, victims of sexual violence are assessed, cared for and supported by doctors from the Forensic Medicine Department and from the insurance company of our Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health.
The assistance protocol calls for the delivery of biological material, or other useful elements, to the Institute of Forensic Medicine where DNA tests can be carried out at the request of the judicial authorities.
The University organises and promotes numerous science events aimed at instilling a passion for science in the general public, especially the younger generation.
One of the most popular events is MEETmeTONIGHT, an integral part of the “European Researchers’ Night” initiative launched in 2005 by the European Commission.
In MEETmeTONIGHT, researchers step outside their labs to transform themselves into clowns, chefs and artists that entertain the public at various shows, events and interactive exhibitions with the aim of educating people of all ages about science in a fun and entertaining way.
As of 2017, MEETmeTONIGHT is held in the Indro Montanelli park in Milan. Adults and children alike can take part in hands-on scientific experiments at numerous stands dedicated to science, technology, culture, health and the environment, and interact with people who work in the laboratories on a daily basis.
The Physics Theatre
Four real-life scientists are the protagonists of “Luce dalle Stelle” (“Starlight”) and “Sotto un’altra Luce” (“Beneath a Different Light”), two stage shows written and performed at the University that combine creativity and scientific rigour with the aim of bringing the fascinating work carried out by researchers to the public’s attention. Researcher-actors perform amusing sketches and incredible experiments in a scientific tour de force that does not fail to elicit the spectators’ sense of wonderment, with the aim of generating a thirst for knowledge, and even, hopefully, a love for physics.
Thanks to its collaboration with institutions such as the Piccolo Teatro in Milan and the Veronesi Foundation, the Department of Physics has already put on seven shows at some of Italy’s most prestigious scientific festivals.
The Orchestra of the University of Milan made its formal debut on 26 May 2000, in the Aula Magna in Via Festa del Perdono. In just a few years it has become a prestigious musical production centre and an excellent school of music; its young, talented musicians have gone on to play in renown orchestras such as the Cherubini and the Verdi in Milan.
Established by Alessandro Crudele – still the director – and by the former Rector Paolo Mantegazza, Goffredo Haus, Alfio Bosatra and a large group of musicians – mostly students and ex-students – the University Symphony Orchestra enjoys a strong reputation, thanks also to its collaborations with prestigious international ensembles.
Part of the Orchestra’s plans is the academic Ensemble, a young, amateur group of students, professors and employees of the University that, having debuted in 2016 with a classical-symphonic repertoire, has become something of a “permanent nursery” since then, recruiting its most talented musicians for inclusion in the Orchestra.
The University organises workshops, teaching activities and guided tours for secondary school students with the aim of familiarising them with the world of university.
Among the most successful initiatives organised by COSP (University Study and Career Guidance Centre), in collaboration with the Lombardy Education Authority, are those hosted by CusMiBio, Milan University Centre – School of Biosciences.
Every year, CusMiBio organises two programs: “Sperimenta il BioLab” (“Try out the BioLab), a research experience in a real laboratory aimed at secondary school students and “Una settimana da ricercatore” (“A week as a researcher”), a competition that provides a free, one-week internship at a university research laboratory.
CusMiBio also organises specific initiatives, aimed at teachers of Science, in the form of theory-practical refresher courses, conferences and working groups in collaboration with university teaching staff.
Nature lovers are also catered for with educational tours and workshops run by the Botanical Gardens in Brera and Cascina Rosa in Città Studi, where they can take part in chromatography and photosynthesis experiments and analyse the microflora and microfauna of water. Aside from learning about botany and environmental philosophy, students can also learn to paint stunning watercolours.
Hospital for large and small animals
The Veterinary Hospital in Lodi has been looking after large animals (cows, horses, goats and pigs) since 2005. Set up thanks to an agreement between the University, the Lombardy Region, the Province, the Municipality and the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, the Hospital is a place of training for students and a point of reference for farmers and the general public. Since 2018, pets and other small animals can be taken to the Hospital for Small Animals for treatment, advice or advanced diagnostic tests.
Both hospitals form part of the University of Milan Zootechnical, Veterinary and Clinical Experimental Centre of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine; besides animal welfare, its main mission is to protect the health of anyone who comes into contact with animals and the wholesomeness of animal-derived food products.
Faculty of Agriculture: research, teaching and production activities
The University also owns three farms, currently occupying an area of 145 cultivated hectares, for teaching and experimental work. It is at these farms that the Faculty of Agriculture carries out its teaching and applied and experimental research activities, including activities in the field of the ethical production of high-quality products.
The University of Milan “Angelo Menozzi” farm, with sites in Landriano and in Cornaredo, specialises in the area of fodder-zoological technology; the “G.P Guidobono Cavalchini” University farm in Borgo Adorno-Cantalupo Ligure, besides having a sheep farm, also specialises in fast-growing plants and lawns, while the “Francesco Dotti” University farm in Montanaso Lombardo, is mainly given over to fruit and grape farming.