Germany (Freie University of Berlin) University Sports Center at Freie Universität Berlin Receives International Award

The European Network of Academic Sports Services (ENAS) has awarded the “UniSport-O-Mat” project, created by the University Sports Center (UniSport) at Freie Universität, with the 2022 ENAS Award. The award, which includes 2000 euros in prize money, is presented annually for particularly innovative ideas relevant to the field of university sports in Europe. The “UniSport-O-Mat,” consisting of a series of questions surrounding sporting aims and preferences, provides users with a list of recommended activities based on their responses.

The twenty-fourth annual ENAS Forum and Assembly took place in Porto, Portugal, from November 8‒11. Here, Freie Universität Berlin’s “UniSport-O-Mat” made it onto the shortlist and was ultimately one of three finalists. In the final round, project coordinator Selina Blatter and UniSport staff member Olivia Mahling presented the tool to an audience of university sports specialists from across Europe. Using a mix of live demonstration and presentation, the pair were able to convincingly bring across the key ideas behind the online tool in an entertaining yet practical way.

To the team’s delight, Freie Universität’s “UniSport-O-Mat” was later announced as the winner of the ENAS Award at a gala dinner. “The ideas that previously won the ENAS Award were always so groundbreaking and inspiring; I never thought that Freie Universität would one day be among the winners,” says Christian Mundhenk, director of the University Sports Center at Freie Universität Berlin.

Other universities were also impressed by the tool and showed an interest in implementing a “UniSport-O-Mat” at their own institutions. “The number of discussions we had beforehand and the positive reactions we received after the presentation show just how much potential the idea has,” says project coordinator Selina Blatter. One of the main ideas behind the “UniSport-O-Mat” was to make the tool available to other universities once it was finished. The project team plans to follow through with this next year.

The “UniSport-O-Mat” was designed as part of the project “Bewegt studieren – Studieren bewegt! 2.0” with the support of the Techniker Krankenkasse and the German University Sports Federation and developed by computer science students at Freie Universität.

After answering eighteen questions on their athletic aims and preferences, users are provided with a list of recommendations. The individualized results show the wide range of sports activities offered by the University Sports Center and which are best suited to the respondent. The “UniSport-O-Mat” is an excellent tool for discovering new types of physical activities, especially for people who may be less familiar with what is on offer at the university or who are unsure whether a particular course suits their needs.