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Cuba’s FEU, present on the steps of the University of Havana (UH). Photo: Archive

FEU towards the centennial anniversary with more ways to communicate with its universe

Tomado de Cubadebate |
February 7, 2019 - 16:45
Cuba’s FEU, present on the steps of the University of Havana (UH).

Cuba’s FEU, present on the steps of the University of Havana (UH). Photo: Archive

To maintain FEU’s permanence in time since December 20, 1922, when it was founded by Julio Antonio Mella, has always required the commitment of different generations of Cubans. The young people of our time also join the effort that begins in the brigades of each university center and extends to the National Secretariat of the organization, the group to which the student who leads the communicative processes, Santiago Jerez Mustelier, belongs to.

Santiago states that the fact that FEU has celebrated its 96th anniversary and begins to "recharge batteries" towards its centenary with significant advances in the field of communication, is due to the work developed over the years and to close events such as the IX Congress, held in July 2018.

Santiago Jerez, Secretary of Communication of Cuba’S FEU.

Santiago Jerez, Secretary of Communication of Cuba’S FEU.

The young man alleged that 30 agreements were adopted in the Communication Commission and that the main topics were related to the need of designing a communication strategy, the use of ICTs in defense of the Cuban revolutionary process, the importance of increasing radio broadcasting presence, the structuring and training of the Correspondents Movement, as well as the use of Twitter as a political tool and the relationship with the press media.

Just a few months before the start of the important meeting, the structures of the Secretariat of Communication have fulfilled almost half of the agreement. A FEU radio magazine released last November and a stronger Correspondents' Movement are some of the examples that corroborate this state of fulfillment. Nevertheless, efforts are still being made to carry on with the response to pending agreements and to maintain what has been achieved in terms of communication.

Cuba's FEU in social networks

The University is no stranger to the process of computerization of the society in which the country is immersed. A clear example of this is the inauguration of this academic year with 170 Internet links of institutions in the Ministry of Higher Education (MES)

In a September 2018 broadcast of the TV program Mesa Redonda, Dr. Walter Baluja García, then director of Informatization of the Ministry of Communication, said that university centers began the new school year with above 700 megabits per second of Internet access throughout the system, thus representing more than five times the access that existed on a similar date, but in 2015.

He also stressed that the technological or management conditions are not the same in all centers, but improvements in connectivity and Internet access have reached everyone and work continues to be done in order to optimize services.

Although FEU members can be found not only in MES institutions, but in other sectors such as the Ministry of Public Health, as medical students are also part of its membership, advances in connectivity are a common reality. Thus, the Internet and existing social networks are now an important way to practice communication, from and for students who make the University.

Since 2014 FEU is present in social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, where it has a greater number of followers. However, they are not the only networks, as Instagram and YouTube also reflect their work.

On Facebook, about 8,000 users follow Cuba's FEU page, while on Twitter more than 6,000 follow the profile with the same name. In this regard, Santiago Jerez comments that "it is on Facebook where we have the greatest presence and impact, since this is the network that Cuban university students follow the most."

“As for Twitter," he continues, "we are working to continue increasing its use and to achieve a greater presence of FEU members in all universities. In this sense, we have taken significant steps in recent months.”

Cuban youth continues to occupy space in the network of networks, a scenario where our social project is defended, where there come together the culture, traditions and history of an organization that, through these platforms, even reaches an international dimension.

Regarding the connection with the rest of the world, Santiago Jerez adds that: "Students and people of other nationalities who admire Cuban university students and FEU for being an avant-garde troop write to FEU de Cuba on Facebook. In this way we receive daily signs of gratitude, respect and affection from people who ratify their trust in us. Many a time they send us photos and articles to be published. The students of the Latin American School of Medicine, for example, thank us for the possibility of being able to study in Cuba.”

On the small screen: Corazón Universidad

Under the premise: "no matter where you are, from anywhere in Cuba: feel the FEU", Cuban Television (TVC) reflects the universe of this organization since November 2017. The television program went on the air for the first time as Noticiero de la FEU (FEU News), in tune with the celebrations for its 95th anniversary and with a monthly frequency on the second Thursday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. on the Educational Channel.

Regarding the founding moments, Santiago Jerez remembers how difficult it was to accomplish those first broadcasts, especially "because the news is made by university students who are not professionals in the field, but they are part of the Movement of Correspondents of the organization and the National Communication Group.

"At first it was recorded entirely in the television studios of the University of Informatics Sciences (UCI) and it was made with a trimmer, but it was very complicated when it came to editing, and recording began outdoors.

Challenges were never absent during the FEU News production process. Each broadcast demanded a higher level of preparation of young directors in terms of compliance with television codes, editing and graphic design. In this constant learning and accumulation of experiences, they never failed in their commitment, though, and a total of 8 programs of approximately 27 minutes each reached the viewer through the Educational Channel signal.

After the IX Congress, when it was proposed to shift the program’s channel, the university community and the Cuban people in general can now enjoy FEU space the second Wednesday of each month, at 6 p.m., through Cubavisión TV channel. This channel shift also brought about a change of the program’s name. It is currently called Corazón Universidad and is conceived as a magazine that includes works from different genres and provinces, as well as sections reserved for interviews, activity in social networks and opinions on certain topics, among others.

Santiago Jerez assures that "the magazine had always been one of the big wishes of FEU, and today it is no longer a dream but a reality. It is very gratifying when there are university students or people of all ages, even children, who tell you that they see the magazine and that they like it, and they congratulate you for each issue, because we always work so that one issue is better than the other".

Notwithstanding, the fourth year student of Journalism knows about the complexities of the communication process and he knows that from now on the mission is to gain an audience and maintain what has been achieved.

Recordings from Corazón Universidad Magazine.

Recordings from Corazón Universidad Magazine.

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