As the year draws to a close, let’s take a moment to savor the victories. Here is a first hand account from the SDU Environmental and Resource Management students who participated in an exciting activity challenging them to think about sustainability in the real world:

The entire innovation-sprint adventure started when one of our classmates posted on Facebook an invitation to the Sustainable Campus Hackathon, where students, innovative change makers, across all universities were invited to participate at the event hosted by Student & Innovation and oikos Copenhagen in collaboration with CBS PRME, CBS Case Club, CBS Feminist Society and MarketingLab. Since we were having the sustainability course, most of us showed a high interest in the event, therefore we decided to sign up – as teams of 3 and individually. Shortly after the deadline, 5 of us were selected to be part of the event. Matteo, Thore and Evelina as a team and Aleksandra and Constantinos individually, but it turned out they choose to work as a team as well. Prior to arrival we received the 4 UN Sustainable Development Goals planned for the event and a background description with some of the challenges the campus is facing it. We had to make a top 3 priorities among the goals:

  • Healthy and sustainable food
  • Green infrastructure
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Mental health

The event started on 16th of November 2017 in the afternoon with a workshop focusing on team work, the four different ways of thinking and the four-colours according with the Whole Brain®. We were asked to choose the dominant colour and place it under our names to focus on having different colours in each team, as this would create incentives for innovation. As Matteo, Thore and I formed a team beforehand, we were happy to realize the different colours in our team. Our later behaviour, turned out to be according with the colour description.

17th of November 2017 was the official start date. Overview of the motivational speeches held by the key panellists:

  • Flemming Basenbacher the Chairman of the board of directors of Carlsberg, focusing on circular economy and how the UN sustainable goals are vital in achieving a more sustainable society
  • Per Holten Andersen, the principal of Copenhagen Business School, CBS challenges and incentives towards sustainability
  • Ida Auken, the former Minister of Environment in Denmark, “Optimism is a duty” & “You, the students are going to solve the sustainability challenge”

The key panellists’ speakers were followed up by a speaker specialized within each of the goals. For the Healthy and sustainable food, the Goal on which all 5 of us worked on, the speaker was Marie-Louise Thøgersen founder of food political Tænketank Frej. A final presentation on presentation performance was held before starting working on the challanges. The team work started on 17th of November at 13:30 o’clock and ended with the semi-final presentation on 18th of November at 15:00 o’clock.  24 hours of brainstorming, marketing strategy, sustainability analysis, business case, scenarios, mentors’ pro and against the ideas, elevator pitch and a 4 minutes intense presentation, followed by 2 minutes of Questions& Answers in the semi-finals.

The overall evaluation criteria for the solutions:

  • Addresses key issues
  • Is economically feasible
  • Is implementable
  • Asseses impact and has large potential impact

The Final was exciting as we got the chance to hear the 4 presentations, we could vote, have an opinion and influence on the winner – SUPO, point system in which you could earn points each time you did a sustainable deed; such as, biking to CBS. Pelle Pedersen motivational speech raised a lot of questions in our minds, especially by his statement “You have to position yourself for the future, and you do not do that by following everyone else”. The Finals were followed by a networking reception with snacks and bubbles.

Sustainable Campus Hackathon 2017 sum up = amazing & motivating speakers, 67 students with different background and from different universities working on SDG’s innovation challenges to create a more sustainable campus, thinking out of box, working on “real life” sustainability challenges and realizing that “Optimism is a duty” as Ida Auken, former Minister of Environment said.

/Evelina Velescu Msc. Environmental and Resource Management

Article based on the LogBook made by Matteo, Thore, Constantinos, Aleksandra and Evelina, available here.