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Students at the world’s edge

Students of the Sustainable Global Technologies studio course talk about their experiences in Mexico, Uganda and the island of Lesbos on 16 May.

Three student groups carried out field trips to three different corners of the world with the task of finding means to improve local conditions in cooperation especially with the locals, but also with other students and operators. Before the trip they made careful preparations and compiled a project plan. At their destinations they both learned to know new people and found out about new working practices, as well as learned about themselves.

Lift Lesvos; refugees in Europe today

The student group on the island of Lesbos, was tasked with finding solutions to the refugee crisis. The students provided concrete help by clearing the shore of life vests, the number of which totalled half a million on the island. In addition to littering the environment, the vests also created dangerous situations when people are getting off refugee boats.

‘In the beginning, we felt helpless because when we managed to clear up one place, we found another one with just as much clearing up to do. The feeling disappeared when we realised that it was still something concrete that we could do to help,’ say students Oona Anttila, Faisal Al Barazi, Melanie Wolowiec and Eve Zorawska. Architect and Project Researcher Kristjana Adalgeirsdottir is the group’s mentor.

UniWASH Uganda

The group of students in Uganda had been given the task of developing a concept in which human waste would be used as a fertiliser. Working with the locals, they discovered how important it was for them to see how composting worked and what its advantages were. Concepts related to composting were developed in collaboration with Unicef, Biolan and local universities. The project is implemented in cooperation with Aalto University’s IDBM Master’s programme.

‘We learned how important it is to interview the locals and that way gain knowledge and an understanding. There was not so much written information available in Uganda, so the interview method was useful for that reason, too,’ say Matias Heino, Pok Leung, Meri Sipilä and Katariina Yli-Heikkilä. Researcher Anne Hyvärinen from Aalto University’s research project New Global is the group’s mentor.

Aalto LAB Mexico

The students in the village in South Mexico worked with water-related questions. They taught local children about water and compiled a manual providing instructions for how to examine water. The village is a culturally rich Mayan village with a very modest way of life. Aalto LAB Mexico was started in 2012.

‘The cooperation was interaction: we learned from the villagers just like they learned from us. We learned a lot about how we can concretely use our education in conditions that are different from those we are used to,’ say the members of the student group i.e. Christine Everaas, Mikael Hyövälti, Ville Lindgren, Mareike Rohrdrommel, Roy Snellman and Philipp Tost. Architect Anni Hapuoja and researcher Claudia Garduño are the group's mentors.

Aalto Lab Mexico 2016 from Antti T Seppänen on Vimeo.

Part of Aalto Festival

Sustainable Global Technologies studio course presents its work on 16 May 2016 13.00–16.00. Venue: Laituri, Kamppi (Narinkka 2, 00100 Helsinki).

Read more http://aaltofestival.fi/2016/en/sgtstudio/

On the Sustainable Global Technologies studio course student groups participate in projects with the aim of solving real problems in the world. In addition to workshops, project planning and meetings with mentors, the themes on the course include communicating about the project. For example, the students write a blog and update a Facebook page, and by sharing their awareness of individual problems they help find solutions to them.

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