Inspiring children to think about the future. That is the aim of Shell’s Bright Ideas Hub, which was officially opened on Monday 22 January on the lawn in front of Zodiac. Around 30 students protested against the hub.
© Guy Ackermans
The bright yellow ‘igloo’, which will also be visiting other towns, will stay in the amphitheatre next to Zodiac for two weeks. A total of 35 classes from local schools will be visiting to prepare for Shell’s Bright Ideas Challenge.
The aim of this competition is to bring children into contact with science and technology in a playful manner, thereby investing in the future, says Shell Social Investment manager Anne Schreuder. The jury includes Nobel Prize winner Ben Feringa and Wageningen food expert and cultured meat designer Atze Jan van der Goot.
The challenge focuses on three topics: clean drinking water, sufficient food and clean energy. ‘The world won’t change by sticking to the old ways,’ an animated computer voice says to the children. ‘Dare to think and do things differently. Perhaps your smart idea will transform the world.’
Shell is collaborating in the hub with Wageningen University’s science centre for schools. It already organizes its own annual design competition for schools. This year, it decided to tie in with the Shell initiative. The collaboration means that after children have visited the tent, they move on to Phenomena, where Wageningen inventions and research projects are on display.
They include Meteorology’s measuring tricycle, a blue energy generator and a 3D food printer. Schoolchildren have to use the principle of reverse engineering to figure out what the devices do and how they work.
Incidentally, the Bright Ideas Hub is not just for children: anyone else who is interested can take a look on any day after 15:15.
On Monday afternoon, around 30 students protested in front of the Bright Ideas Hub. They think Shell does not belong at a sustainable university and can’t understand why WUR wants to collaborate with the oil company in this way. ‘We realize that Shell wants to use this event to teach primary school children about global problems, but we feel it is wrong to let a company do this that is responsible for so many of these problems,’ says student Emiel Spanier of Fossil Free Wageningen.