News - October 2, 2017

Students speaking: this is why I participate in the Green Student Challenge

Linda van der Nat

Following student competitions such as World Solar Challenge and iGEM, Wageningen is organising its own competition in 2018. The registrations for the Green Student Challenge opened yesterday. These three students will be participating.

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An introductory evening was held on 20 September, during which students who were interested could discuss their ideas on the future development of urban greenhouses. The teams are to design a greenhouse that is as sustainable as possible and that involves citizens in the sustainable production of healthy consumer-grade foods.

Seventy students attended the event, according to project coordinator Rio Pals. She tells us that at least three teams are being created. Giulia Homs, Hao Yan and Wouter van der Does are among the students who will register. What is their motivation?

Giulia Homs (MSc Climate Studies)

‘This year, I am one of the committee members of SAW, the Student Alliance Wageningen. But I would also like to simultaneously develop in different areas. This project requires us to work with students from around the world, each with a different background and from another field of expertise. We now have a group of eleven, and we already noticed during our first meeting that each one of us reaches different solutions. I find that a very interesting aspect. The subject, building the most sustainable urban greenhouse, really appeals to me. I have focused on the environment from a very young age: separating waste, saving energy, etc. This challenge provides an opportunity to tackle the topic at a larger scale. Besides, the results of changing something specific are far faster than trying to change something at policy level. Our team already has a lot of ideas, but we still lack a course. We will meet again next week, and hopefully select a plan. I really want to meet this challenge.’

Hao Yan (MSc Landscape Architecture)

‘I’m not a person that greatly enjoys challenges, but this one I simply could not resist. I study Landscape Architecture, and I have participated in quite a few competitions over the years. However, these were mainly competitions in the area of landscape design, during which you collaborate with other designers who have the same point of view, the same background. This challenge, on the other hand, is an interdisciplinary collaboration. We have the opportunity to work with experts in the areas of planning, agriculture, engineering, policy and even economics. Together, we can achieve something that a single person never could. I absolutely think this could change my way of thinking as a designer, and I expect I will gain experience that will be useful for my designs.’

Wouter van der Does (BSc Biotechnology)

‘What really appeals to me is the combination of horticulture and the requirement to integrate it in an urban environment. Additionally, we have to keep track of sustainability, efficiency and economic feasibility. This makes the search for suitable production methods much more interesting. Last year, I decided to stop rowing at a high level, so I was looking for something to spend my newly freed-up time on. This seemed like a good way to broaden my horizons on the intersection of my studies and interests. As a biotechnologist, I mainly focus on the smallest organisms, which is why I would also like to have a look at the big picture. We have a very international and truly interdisciplinary team of people with backgrounds ranging from horticulture and biotechnology to economics and social studies. I am the only bachelor’s student on the team.’

Has this piqued your interest? Further information is available on the Green Student Challenge website.

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