By Nelly Sander Photo: MIT
How can students help make their university campuses more sustainable? This was the challenge that MIT-Denmark posed to over 150 university students with very different academic backgrounds from MIT in the US as well as the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Copenhagen Business School (CBS), the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), the University of Copenhagen (KU) and Aalborg University (AAU).
Just as sustainability is central to AAU, climate action is a top priority for MIT, an institution that also sees the need for global solutions. The university thus launched the Green Campus Challenge where they invited students to develop proposals to create a more sustainable campus while expanding their cross-cultural competencies and knowledge of how sustainability is perceived in other cultures.
− We need to work together to make the future more sustainable and our campuses are the perfect place to start, says Madeline Smith, Program Manager for MIT-Denmark.
The challenges were divided into three main areas: interior design and common spaces, energy, and food and waste. They had to be tackled from a global perspective and the students worked in teams that all included both MIT and Danish university students.
TECH Pro-dean Jakob Stoustrup, the AAU liaison to MIT for the competition, is also enthusiastic about the impressive wins for the three AAU students, as well as about the collaboration with MIT in general:
− An interdisciplinary competition for sustainability fits perfectly into our work at AAU, especially in terms of the megaprojects, which we are also in dialogue on with MIT. We are generally delighted to be working with MIT as we share the goal of engaging our students in making the world a better place and we both recognise that achieving this requires collaboration on many levels.
- The Grand Prize winning team was Green-(In)-Spire, who proposed the Campus Sustainability World Fair –an area on campus where it is possible to create events and international fairs that present technologies and inventions for campus sustainability.
Team members: Allison Lee (MIT), Anna Worning (AAU), Erik Koors (SDU), John Liu (MIT) and Kiara Wahnschafft (MIT).
- The runner-up team was FreeCyclers with their proposal for Freecycle Space – a central area where students can donate and pick up things that are too good to throw out, such as books, kitchenware, clothing, etc.
Team members: Eva Smerekanych (MIT); Isabel Dolp (CBS); Niklas Ludvigsen (CBS); Melissa Møller (AAU) and Shristi Rijal (SDU).
- The Danfoss Award was won by the UniGreen Farmers, who proposed UniGreen Farms – where the university provides a roof terrace / research facility in an urban environment with the opportunity for interdisciplinary research collaborations between senior researchers and junior researchers and students.
Team members: Brian Li (MIT), Federico D'Ascanio (KU), Frederik Bøllingtoft (AAU), Julia Romero (KU) and Kosmas Subashi (KU).