Newsletter 3


by Sarah Staehelin

“And you’re sure that's all we need to do?” We asked the lawyer in disbelief.

We had called him to ask how to officially found an association.

The lawyer responded: “Absolutely! Founding an association is super easy. Grab a pen and write down the following sentences: ...”

He started dictating. Chaos broke out! We weren't ready for this! We were in the car speeding down the highway in the dark! What followed were a couple minutes of everyone frantically screaming and yelling, while Andi looked through everything he could find in the front seat. Dilana pulled out all the bags from the trunk and Sarah was just doing her best to not crash the car.

And just like that on the 28th of March 2020 “smusi” was founded. Our declaration of existence scribbled on the back of a parking permit, somewhere between Zürich and Thurgau.

While that surely wasn’t how we expected the founding to happen, it’s quite fitting. We had been planning an association for months, and by planning we mean thinking of what to name it. While we don’t remember who came up with the name “smusi” it stuck out as the obvious favorite for a long time. Why? Definitely not because it sounds like smoothie. A logo that was designed to look like a smoothie glass followed shortly after.

So, by the time we got to Lugano we had already sorted out Name, Logo, and Statutes (mildly updated from those we had written in the car). However, despite our collective experiences with student associations at ETH, the process of becoming a functioning association that actually had something to offer its students wasn’t always easy. The combination of the pandemic, having no money and almost no experience with Lugano or USI made for a rocky start. USI itself also wasn’t quite ready yet for our enthusiasm and the little experience with student life we brought from ETH. But luckily, we had a group of passionate people with some time on their hands and the desire (and flat space to spare) to do something with it. Adjusting to a new city, a new language, a new university all took time, but we eventually went from a group of students with a bunch of cool ideas in our heads to a functional student association.

Next to all the work we’ve done in Lugano we were also able to make an impact on a national level and participated in determining the course swimsa is going to take in the future. We’re proud of how active we were as a student association and have received amazing (and sometimes jealous) feedback from all over Switzerland on how well things seem to be going down here.

But now our time here has come to pass. In the past 2 years we have done our best to create an association that serves the interests of our students and we have done our best to create a solid foundation so those who come after us can focus on growth rather than survival.

A note to the new smusi Executive Board: Thank you all for taking over from us! We are excited to see what you all do with this and cannot wait to come hangout again in Spring of 2023.

Some advice going forward: We are a small course of study. Make use of that! Think of things you would love to do/experience with your friends and then do that, but for everyone. We’re so few students so our connection to each other is tighter than most other universities. Involve as many people as you can and support as many events and ideas as possible.

And to everyone who usually doesn’t organize events: Enjoy them but also help make them awesome! Give the people organizing new ideas, participate frequently and challenge them to do great things!

In general: Enjoy your time here, together!
That’s all we have to say. Goodbye everyone! It’s been a blast <3

Screenshot 2022-05-26 at 13.38.30

          Andi                      Sarah


by Livia Galli

Another semester will soon be over and as event supervisor I can look back on many successful events: our welcome event aka “Conquer Lugano”, a lot of pub quizzes, vin brulé evenings on our beautiful terrazza and of course the ski weekend which was for many of us probably the biggest highlight.

But even if we look to the future, it looks promising: the terrace invites us to hold another event under the new sun sails and there are still many other ideas to realize! Mark in your agenda Monday 30. May, from 6pm we want to welcome you for an Aperol-Spritz evening on our terrace on the 2nd floor.

Moreover, it is rumored that there will be a small goodbye party in the last week because many of us are leaving soon to spend some time as cand. med. in different hospitals.

Since I'll also be away for a while, we're looking for a new events supervisor that we can hold many more events in the future. If you are interested in this exciting position - contact me!

Best wishes, Livia

Association against sexual harassment and discrimination

by Adriano Caflisch

As in unfortunately most if not every profession, sexual discrimination and harassment, especially against women, doesn’t spare the world of medicine. Despite the medial attention this topic has gotten in recent years through campaigns like #MeToo and others, offences happen on a regular basis in hospitals and medical offices. In a non- representative, anonymous survey conducted by Tamedia last December, 252 female medical professionals reported that they had experienced sexual harassment or assaults at their place of work – more than half of these went further than exclusively verbal harassment. 398 professionals reported having experienced sexual discrimination. The survey was sent out to over 4600 medical professionals, 605 female and 35 males filled it out, but the results are difficult to reproduce for the whole of Switzerland. Since the offences are mostly committed by male doctors of a higher rank, complaints about such incidents go unpunished far too often – if they are reported at all. Medical students and residents are especially at risk, since they often stay in one hospital, ward or doctor’s office for only a short time period, which makes them an easier target for such uncalled- for experiences.

Since medical students here in Lugano have already encountered or experienced several situations of sexual discrimination or harassment in their clinical activity so far, a small group of the 2nd MA has launched an association trying to shine a light on the importance of this topic. Associations like this already exist in Lausanne and Fribourg (CLASH) or are being built at other medical faculties across Switzerland. Most importantly, our association aims to offer a contact point for medical students to report incidents of sexual discrimination and harassment. Other ideas such as launching a poster campaign at EOC and offering workshops with trained actors and actresses to train our students on how to react should they encounter a situation of sexual discrimination or harassment are also possible steps to be able to fight such situations.

Given the fact that the four of us will not be around for long anymore due to our practical year until March 2023, we are looking for motivated students that share our aims to tackle these problems, are not afraid to speak up and would like to continue our work that has really only just begun.

If you feel like that would be something for you, please don’t hesitate to contact either: Saranda Dragusha, Rahel Schmidt, Yael van der Geest or Adriano Caflisch.


Sources: Tagesanzeiger

FemTech Summit 2022

by Rahel Schmidt

Did you know women are 50% more likely to be misdiagnosed when it comes to heart disease? Did you know 70% of people who suffer from chronic pain are women, yet 80% of chronic pain study participants are men or male rodents?

We are a group of international and interdisciplinary students and professionals organizing the 2nd FemTechnology Summit taking place on June 1-2nd 2022 online 15:00-19:30 CET. The summit will be virtual and completely free to attend, although registration is required:

FemTech is a new industry branch set to tackle unmet demands of female* health and wellbeing with innovative solutions. This summit is geared towards creating a platform for informative and educative discussion about the challenges and solutions emerging in the field of FemTech with perspective from researchers, clinicians, innovators and tech entrepreneurs. It is also a good opportunity for students from various medical faculties + engineers to meet each other.

Further information about topics, speakers and registration can be found on our website:
If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by replying to this email.

Let’s keep moving forward together!

Best wishes,


Rahel and FemTechnology Team