October 31rst-November 3rd, 2019, Tallinn, Estonia
Sustainable Cities in the Nordic-Baltic Region is an intensive four-day course and competition focusing on multidisciplinary and practical urban planning and collaboration. The course brings together students, teachers, professors, practitioners and other leading experts from the Nordic-Baltic countries to share ideas and work together on a real-life planning case, taking on the challenge of developing sustainable cities.
On 03rd – 07th September 2019, a student conference (summer course) was held in Lviv (Ukraine) on Sustainable Innovation in the Circular Economy.
The Summer Course is an initiative of the German offices of the Baltic University Programme in Hamburg and Zittau (Germany), in cooperation with the Ukrainian National Forestry University (UNFU), as part of the Baltic University Programme (BUP).
It is organized in cooperation with the European School of Sustainability Science and Research (ESSSR) and the EU Projects “FORCE – Cities Cooperating for Circular Economy” and “LARS – Learning among Regions about Smart Specialisation”. The summer course is meant to acquaint delegates from various countries about matters related to circular economy for catalysing sustainable development in the Baltic, as well as foster international and multicultural learning.
Two students from the FESRD were selected for the conference: Nikoleta Košecová and Dušan Bálint.
On the first day of the conference, all students were registered, followed by accommodation and dinner. The following day was full of interesting lectures about the role of environmental, technological, economic and social innovations for sustainable development with examples from Germany and Ukraine.
The lectures were followed by a walking tour of the city, where we had a guide tour of the history of the city. On the third day, the academic sessions were supplemented by field visist to companies already working with circular economy principles and “Zero Waste” initiatives. Participants could choose an excursion to three different companies that reprocessed the waste of another company than the main source. Both Dušan and I chose Carlsberg, where they told us about the reuse of water, packaging materials and carbon dioxide.
The second excursion took place in the furniture manufacturing company. The owner told us a brief history of the company. This was followed by a tour of the business where we could see how it worked.
On the last day of the conference lectures and "games" were prepared, where we were to work together as a team and solve various problems related to the circular economy.
Sustainability Applied in International Learning and Teaching (SAIL), 26 June - 3 July 2019, Szczecin, Poland - Aalborg, Denmark
The SAIL for Teachers was carried out on board the sailing ship "Fryderyk Chopin" during one week sailing, starting from Szczecin, Poland, ending in Aalborg, Denmark. The aim was to enhance understanding of sustainability issues in global and local perspective, train teaching and learning methods, give skills for working in multidisciplinary international environment and support teambuilding capabilities for university teachers.
The academic programme included lectures, workshops, presentations and discussions on sustainability issues on thematic areas. The course gave an overview of the current situation concerning some of the most important issues of education for sustainable development in higher education, learning and teaching methods. The participants contributed with their own expertise and each participant presented their contribution as a part of a thematic working group, resulting in live discussions on the topics (such as sustainable development goals, biodiversity, forest and water management, biological science statistics and big data, etc.). The participants represented different disciplines supporting multi- and interdisciplinary approach. International working groups and three sailing group watches, promoted multicultural teambuilding, thus directly participating in the operation of the ship itself, so that they can directly experience its management - from sail setting, steering to sustainable cooking in the kitchen or boat cleaning.
Representatives from 20 universities from 9 countries in the Baltic region participated together. The Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra was represented by prof. Ing. Radovan Kasarda, PhD. (FAFR), doc. Ing. Radoslav Židek, PhD. (FBFS) and Ing. Kristina Candráková, PhD. (FHLE).
Hydrological workshop organized by Baltic University Program was carried out in Zakopane (Poland) between dates 10. – 13.6.2019. The main goal of the workshop titled "Sustainable water resources management in high mountain in the Baltic Sea Region" was to earn relevant information about a new monitoring and sampling techniques for analyzing hydrological processes and organization hydrological monitoring network for different kind of purpose in the mountain region. Theoretical part consisted of lectures on water resources management and their sustainability. Practical part took place in Tatra National Park, where the water flow by different methods was measured by taking samples of water. Certificated drone flier showed us possibilities for exploration of the Earth by the drone. A workshop was concluded with a discussion on the possibility of designing measures to improve a water quality.
Participant students were from Belarus, Georgia, Turkish, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Luxemburg, Russia and Poland. Slovak University of Agriculture was represented by PhD. students from FHLE (Lucia Toková, Martin Manina, Vladimír Kišš) and one student from FESRD (Marina Valenčíkova).
During 25 - 28 April 2019, student conference was organized by the Baltic University Program with the support of Uppsala University in Sweden on the topic "Sustainable consumption and circular economy". It was attended by five students who represented SUA in Nitra, namely: Simona Halásová, Barbora Malecká, Adam Šimurda, Veronika Zábojníková from the Faculty of Economics and Management and Bc. Dušan Bálint from the Faculty of European Studies and Regional Development. The conference venue was at the wonderful Four Lakes resort Nelijarve in Aegviidu, Estonia.
The conference took the form of lectures on sustainable development, the circular economy and how to combine both strategies for a better future in the world. The program included various workshops during which we had to apply the acquired knowledge to practice. One of them was a workshop called "ImPACT" - the main task was to reduce emissions through calculations, in which we had to take into account the consequences on population incomes or technological advances. Another interesting workshop was entitled "In the Loop game", which consisted of a social game where we had to use the information gained from lectures on various strategies to reach the goal.
The conference also included a student parliament. The purpose was to choose a new student representative to represent us for two years at all BUP events and conferences and to participate in international congresses focused on sustainable consumption and development. The election took the form of a secret ballot of the participating students, which could choose from three candidates.
Students worked in mixed international teams and had the opportunity to meet people from different countries of the Baltic region. Evening activities, such as the BUP Olympics - sports games, cultural evening, where students had the opportunity to taste sweets and snakcs from 12 countries, as well as sauna and bathing in the lake, contributed to better cooperation and understanding between participants.
The Baltic University Program is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of sustainable development and environmental protection, getting to know new people and different countries. The program offers several opportunities not only for students but also for teachers or PhD. students. Every half-year, the presidium will go to another country and we are very pleased that Slovakia will take over this position in the first half of 2020 and we firmly believe that the next BUP student conference will take place in Nitra.
Authors: Simona Halásová, Veronika Zábojníková
The meeting of the heads of BUP National Centers took place at the University of Uppsala, Sweden and was aimed at discussing the activities, actions and goals of the Baltic University network, which activities are mainly implemented through national centers in the Baltic countries and in the EU countries.