Student - December 8, 2009

Second in national sustainability game contest

Armed with a 'green deal' and a promotion campaign for the electric car, a Wageningen student team battled its way to a national sustainability cabinet. And it came in second in the finals of this nation-wide simulation game which took place on Wednesday 2 December in the Forum.

The Wageningen 'Synergy Cabinet' receives the second prize.
The team and other finalists of the Nationaal Duurzaamheidskabinet were quizzed with questions such as: How many washes can you get out of the electricity in a lightning flash: 10 or 10,000? Contestants had to promote sustainability while pretending to be the cabinet of a country such as the Netherlands. In four preliminary digital rounds, the teams had tackled issues such as water, housing or agriculture. They had allocated budgets and answered multiple choice questions.
Real world
'Our decisions were mostly based on political strategies. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here', says Roel van Veen, student of Applied Communication Science. Roel and three other Wageningen students fought their way to the finals. 'Some teams had really good things to say concerning sustainability, but you need to bear the economy in mind first and foremost. The real world is like this, too, I'm afraid.'
Ten out of the 1100 teams which signed up for the game contest made it to the finals. The finalists included students and employees of consultancy firms. There was a team comprising civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety, and a team with four secondary school students from the Achterhoek, a region in the east of the Netherlands. In the finals, the mock cabinets pitted their wits against one another in debates and in a knowledge quiz. In addition, they presented their plans in a promotion film.
Extension cord
The film by the Wageningen students was shot on the Forum car park. In the film, a woman standing next to an electric car declares: 'Thanks to this cabinet, I'm driving on electricity now.  But I can't find the charging points.' The camera then pans to a man with a reel of extension cord. 'But the Synergy Cabinet takes care of this too', says the man. Then, a slogan flashes across: 'Environment and economy, 1 + 1 = 3.'
The film continues with images of windmills, the city and heather fields, to the accompaniment of a cheesy song from the film Wall-E. Then Muriel Denayer takes over. This student of Climate Studies plays the role of the Prime Minister of the Synergy Cabinet. In a charming Flemmish accent, she argues that environment organizations and the private sector should work together for more effectiveness. Her cabinet wants to subsidize sustainable energy and create jobs with a 'green deal'.
Mona desserts
The team of Muriel and Roel clinched second place at the end. 'When we signed up, we did not even expect to make it to the finals', says Muriel. The first prize went to four students of Technical Business Studies at the Avans University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch. They have won a trip to the world climate conference in Copenhagen.
Will Muriel and Roel carry on in the world of simulation games? 'Not right away', laughs Muriel. 'Unless we could go to Copenhagen ...' The four students will look back fondly at their weekly working dinners with pangs of longing. 'The Mona desserts went really fast.'
P.S.
What about the number of washes possible with a lightning flash? The answer is 10; a lightning flash doesn't contain that much energy.

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