The student hackathon “Romania without file” took place between March 28-31, 2022 and was organized by the University of Bucharest and the Chamber of Deputies, with the aim of accelerating the process of de-bureaucratization and simplification of administrative processes. During the event, ten teams of students of the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences and the Faculty of Political Science from the University of Bucharest worked during one week with five parliamentarians to create communication campaigns to help change behavior regarding the request of copies for documents that the state institutions already hold.
“The Romania without file competition is an opportunity for us to create links between academia and society, links through which we can put the professional resources of the students and professors at the University of Bucharest for the benefit of the people. If we want a better society, we need the involvement of young people in the public sphere. We need to make their voices heard, and such competitions that bring them together with politicians, public administration and civil society give them the opportunity to be heard and make them understand that they are important and can bring about change if they choose to get involved”, said the vice-rector of the University of Bucharest, Sorin Costreie, present at the final of the event.
“The process of de-bureaucratization of Romania is one in which the political will is not enough, but a change of mentality is needed at national level, and young people are the first to be involved in creating this change. I was honored and glad that I was able to work, together with my fellow deputies, with the student teams of the University of Bucharest. What I saw in this competition these days gives me hope that we have the resources to build a better future for these young people, turning them into active and involved dialogue partners”, said the quaestor of the Chamber of Deputies, the deputy George Tuță, one of the initiators of the law on “thinning the file” on which the competition was based.
Five deputies worked as mentors with the student teams during the week of the competition: Viorel Băltărețu (PLUS), Sebastian-Ioan Burduja (PNL), Ana-Maria Cătăuță (PSD), Andi-Lucian Cristea (PSD) and George-Cristian Tuță (PNL). The five were also part of the competition jury, together with representatives of the academic milieu from the University of Bucharest, professors with knowledge in communication and political communication: Professor Camelia Cmeciu (FJSC), PhD, associate professor Alexandra Iancu (FSPUB), associate professor Claudiu Tufiș (FSPUB) and assistant Bogdan Oprea (FJSC).
The competition was won by the PRolitica team, consisting of students Luca Manole (FJSC), Anahara Alexandru-Yuuki and Vlad Măntoiu (both, FSPUB). The OVA team, made up of students Vlad Scutelnicu, Alexia Suchiu and Octavian Șerbănescu (all FSPUB), ranked second. The podium was completed by the Creative Bees team, made up of Ana-Maria Isabelle Ţone, Ramona Turcu and Mihaela Iorgulescu (all FJSC). All the winning projects propose concrete solutions for communication campaigns aimed at changing the behavior related to requesting unnecessary copies, with an emphasis on copies of identity documents. The proposed campaigns targeted the general population, as well as a number of 10,000 local government officials.
“It has been the first time we put together the ideas of our students and the experience of politicians, pursuing as a real benefit the change of mentality and behavior that our society so desperately needs. And the experience of the three intense days of work shows us that such interactions deserve to be created more often, because the results of such competitions can significantly change for the better the Romanian society”, said lecturer Anamaria Nicola (FJSC), the organizer of the competition.
“This is just a small step on the road to de-bureaucratization and that we still have a lot to do, but we can contribute with the expertise and resources of the university to the efforts being made at the national level. Moreover, we will continue the process of efficiency and de-bureaucratization at the level of our own institution to give an example of good practice that many other organizations need”, added the vice-rector Sorin Costreie.
During the “Romania without file” competition, students presented communication projects designed to support the implementation of the “Law on thinning the file”, which stipulates those public institutions are no longer allowed to request copies of notices or other documents issued by institutions or bodies of local public administration. Even though the law was enacted at the end of last year and came into force on January 1, 2022, there is still a reluctance to implement it.