EUSA Insider:

Italian University Sport Centre

Founded: 1946
Current Headquarters: Rome
Website:                                                                                          Published 13 November 2020

Firstly, for those who do not know, please tell us a bit about your NUSA ...
CUSI (Centro Universitario Sportivo Italiano) is the National University Sport Federation founded in 1946 in Padova. Nowadays the legal and operative headquarters are in Rome, close to the National Olympic Committee. CUSI’s mission is the development of University Sport in Italy with the purpose of positively influencing the leaders of the future with the important values of university sport. For the last 70 years CUSI has retained a federal identity matrix, associating as many as 50 CUS (Local University Sports Centers) with a heritage of 650 sports facilities and 140 000 students involved every year.

CUSI promotes studies, research, development and training projects with all the Italian Universities. The Italian vision, according to the FISU vision, concerns new targets of the academic sport sphere, and has pushed the sports world to go beyond competitive activity. Sport, especially university sport, not only concerns the management of sports facilities and the promotion of federal academic sport, but has become an important means in the country’s social policies, a tool to contrast deviances, to promote integration, inclusion, wellness and new lifestyles, a way of training, useful for research and new job opportunities.

Can you describe some of the major events your NUSA has hosted in recent years, both national and international?
Last year Italy hosted its biggest university sport event: the FISU World University Summer Games in Napoli. In previous years we have hosted three FISU World University Championships: Cross Country (Cassino, 2016), Speed Skating (Baselga Di Pine, 2016) and Sailing (Lago Di Ledro, 2016). CUSI has also hosted three EUSA European Universities Championships: Volleyball (Camerino, 2015), Rugby 7s (Milan, 2017) and Table Tennis (Camerino, 2019).

Italy Universaide 2019

What have been some of the highlights for your NUSA in recent years?
CUSI’s history is dotted with great moments, moments of great depth and intensity for the national sports system. In recent years there are two that have stood out more than the others, one from a cultural point of view and one from a sporting perspective: in 2015 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of the University, the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) and National Olympic Committee (CONI) within which CUSI was invested with the responsibility of envisaging project ideas to develop university sport as a vehicle for three main areas: sport, health and innovation.

Secondly, during the 2019 Napoli Universiade, Italy achieved its highest number of medals in the Games: 44, the best in CUSI’s history. Italy placed sixth in the global medal table, and first among European countries.

“University sport has become an important means in the country’s social policies, a tool to contrast deviances, to promote integration, inclusion, wellness and new lifestyles, a way of training, useful for research and new job opportunities.”

How important are the EUSA events – both sporting and educational – for your NUSA?
For CUSI, EUSA events and initiatives represent great opportunities to strengthen the dialogue with the universities and allow meaningful experiences for student athletes who are able to validate their formative experience. Participation in EUSA events in recent years has brought, in some cases, enormous successes to the Italian University movement.

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?
COVID-19 has negatively affected the lives of people, students and athletes, drastically slowing down the activities proposed by CUSI and its affiliates. During the lockdown, CUS used modern communication tools and technologies to allow some kind of continuity. Online gymnastics and other sporting disciplines were produced. Each activity was promoted to be done directly at home. The return to the fields and sports facilities began, with all the necessary precautions, only when the Government decree allowed it. The economic and organisational difficulties have affected CUSI’s life and health: for this reason CUSI has set up an ad hoc commission with the purpose of facing the emergency created and giving support to the entire movement.

Italy winter universiade 2017

Finally, what does the future of university sport in your country hold?
The immediate future of Italian University sport is to resume activities and return to the facilities as soon as the situation will allow it. The long-term future of CUSI is to strengthen relations with all the university rectors for a greater and more direct involvement of all the universities and all students in the area with national activities. Another goal of CUSI is not to forget its promotional nature and to allow student-athletes to impact society, both locally and nationally, as an example of a correct lifestyle.

EUSA wishes the Italian University Sport Centre well for all their future endeavours, and looks forward to seeing their NUSA members and student-athletes at many of our events in future!