Hungarian University Sports Federation
Current Headquarters: Budapest
Website: www.mefs.hu Published 12 February 2021
Firstly, for those who do not know, please tell us a bit about your NUSA...
The Hungarian University Sports Federation (MEFS) was founded in 1907 as the second university sports federation in the world and first in Europe, and currently has 34 member universities and 34 sports association members. As the responsible body for university sports in Hungary, MEFS considers making sports a value and a fashion for young people in higher education a priority task. Following the main strategic lines specified in the Alfréd Hajós Plan 3.0, we can achieve our goals, which Hungarian university students in the short term, as well as the health conditions of the entire nation and the economy in the long run, can profit from.
Can you describe some of the major events your NUSA has hosted in recent years, both national and international?
MEFS has since 2015 hosted the following national and international events:
- 2020 FISU World Forum – a first-ever online event
- 2017 FISU Steering Committee meeting
- 3 European Universities Championships
- 3 World University Championships (other 2 were to be hosted in 2020)
- 2017 MEFS General Assembly for the 110th anniversary of MEFS foundation with the participation of Mr. Adam Roczek and Mr. Matjaz Pecovnik
- 2019 Ambassador’s Meeting – breakfast with 25 ambassadors and representatives held at the University of Physical Education
- MEFS every year organises between 38 and 40 sports in the Hungarian National University Championships (MEFOB), we are every year active in IDUS event organisation, coordinate numerous recreation sports campaigns and are currently launching the Sports Mentor Programme with nine universities involved in the project.
What have been some of the highlights for your NUSA in recent years?
The greatest highlight in terms of international success was the pioneer organisation of the 2020 FISU World Forum, having been able to attract 106 FISU member countries. In these difficult circumstances, we were able to save the event and organise it on an online platform and in 2 months adapt brand new organisational tasks. Also, a new MEFS global strategy has been created called Alfréd Hajós Plan 3.0 which will be presented as a government proposal soon to significantly develop university sports in Hungary.
"We will host the EUSA European Universities Games in 2024, so in the next years, we will work on promoting intensively the participation and the engagement of students in university sports in Hungary to organise the biggest Games ever."
How important are the EUSA events – both sporting and educational – for your NUSA?
EUSA events are important and will always be so. Year after year we are committed to promoting European Universities Championships and European Universities Games by delegating the best possible student-athletes to participate. We would like to promote also the educational events to involve students in the work and the various projects related to university sports and sports in general. We will host the EUSA European Universities Games in 2024, so in the next years, we will work on promoting intensively the participation and the engagement of students in university sports in Hungary to organise the biggest Games ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted university sport across the world. How was your NUSA able to adapt to the situation, what activities have you still managed to organise and are there any positives you have noted from these difficult circumstances?
As a unique initiative in 35 sports, 15 universities and more than 200 training opportunities were available to anyone in multiple languages, something the MEFS offered for Hungarian students to not be left without movement during the quarantine. Thus, MEFS found a solution available to everyone by gathering the online sports offerings of universities by training type, launching an online campaign called "Stay home, stay active! - #NotSoBored!". The database included professionally reviewed, own, or recommended content created by universities in the form of videos, articles, and movement recommendations. With the situation improving during the summer of 2020, MEFS was able to launch again the National University Championships in some sports, and with the beginning of the new academic year, most of the sports events were held without spectators, while training and competitions are being organised according to a very serious health protocol, based on the recommendation and guidelines of the National Institute of Sport Health. With the second wave of the COVID-19 crisis, since the middle of November 2020, universities were required to hold their education online, therefore currently there are no National University Championships organised, except in basketball. We hope to be able again from April to start our sports activities and very much looking forward to having the daily routine back in university sports.
Finally, what does the future of university sport in your country hold?
We consider it a priority to create real value communities in connection with sports at universities, which can help to overcome social and generational problems, and which will reflect the lifestyle and life quality improving the strength of the Hungarian intelligentsia and the future intellectual elite. We need to provide young people with the opportunity and practice to be active in physical culture at least three times a week and to create an opportunity for our elite athletes to develop a dual career. We consider it extremely important to use the potential of movement literacy and movement culture to make it clear to everyone that working knowledge, decision-making and responsibility in other areas of life depend on the regular, lifestyle-integrated practice of this field of education to a large extent. We believe that we can achieve the above goals together with systematic work, with the love of and respect for young people.
EUSA wishes the Hungarian University Sports Federation well for all their future endeavours, and looks forward to seeing their NUSA members and student-athletes at many of our events in future, especially at this summer's European Universities Games in Belgrade!