This Day Came Too Soon

***Started writing on departure from Villa Maderni and reviewed once settled in the US (which is why it is just being posted).

The last day at the Villa Maderni is a bitter sweet one. An early rise to prepare to leave and press toward the final leg of my journey that has me feeling sad. Yet, through this lived experience, I am happy that I was afforded the opportunity to live it. Without a doubt the fastest 3 weeks I’ve ever lived and certainly one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had and probably will ever have. The GPP experience has benefited me in ways I would have never imagined. The collective minds of a multi-national and multi-disciplinary GPP cohort provided the sink of knowledge that inundated my mental sponge…multiple view points of opinionated subject matter, philosophical discussion and factual information on various topics have made me ‘enlightened’. Personally, I sit…I think, no words…stimulated by the intellect of this group of GPP participants, GPP administration, UNIBasel GPP, and the various students, staff, and administrators of the various universities we attended. I leave with a bounty of knowledge that no other 3 week period in my life could have provided me.

With one more day to sling my bag over my shoulder, I can honestly say that it is NOT full of regrets. The immersion into a society with so much to offer has no doubt changed my life, only for the positive. The people, the sites, the culture, and the languages amazed me. If anyone asks, I cannot provide negative feedback of either the program or the environment as it is a part of the experience…sometimes perfection lies in imperfection, and having all the answers affords no spontaneity, thoughtfulness, and learning. I loved the program as if it were my kin. It is my wish that growing professional students have the same opportunity I was given to improve themselves. Even though the GPP tasks are not 100% complete, I can say with confidence that I have increased my level of “Global Perspective” not only taking me outside of the box, but assisted in understanding the box and the world around it.

 Auf Wiedersehen! - Au Revoir! – Arrivederci!

-Ken

To Lucy and Olivio Ferrari

It’s not every day you get to meet an individual whose tireless efforts have an indirect impact on your life. I am fortunate enough to have met and shared a meal with such a person, Lucy Ferrari. Without her and her husband’s efforts, the GPP experience would not be comprehensive. Through the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Ferrari, I am able to experience the Swiss atmosphere with true historical preservation and ‘style‘ at the Villa Maderni. It is obvious that they have dedicated their lives to the development of students above and beyond what is traditionally expected of educators. With the limited time we shared with Mrs. Ferrari this evening, it was truly evident that she had a passion for architecture and historical preservation, but this truly was incomparable to the desire to produce great architects and students for society in general. So as I sit in the home dedicated to learning (of all disciplines), founded in the Ferraris‘ dream of learning and student development I say “Mille Grazie” and may your legacy remain forever.
-Ken

Efficiency & Pride

It has been over a week since my entry into Swiss society and there are two words instantly come to mind, Efficiency and Pride. The public transportation system is the most efficient I have ever seen and the timeliness of the meetings makes me rethink my own level of efficiency (originally thinking it was high). The clock strikes the meeting hour and surprisingly it starts…talk about Swiss efficiency. However, not everything is precisely scheduled, the quality time spent socializing with both familiar and unfamiliar faces is limitless and speaks mounds of the dedication of Swiss society to maintain social sustainability. When asking a Swiss native, this appears to be something they are truly proud of (Please correct me if I am wrong).

           Speaking of something to be proud of pride…Switzerland’s focus on ‘Strong Sustainability’ (i.e. the focus on sustainability of the natural environment, society, and the economy) is astounding, something like I would have never imagined. In discussions with Swiss natives and via personal observation, it is evident that this is something that has been generally accepted by the people (of course with the help of government regulations). One thing to note is a comment made by UniBasel’s Rector Loprieno in which he discussed Switzerland’s large financial commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency efforts in recent times, this is unprecedented. I applaud their efforts and look forward to following their ‘strong sustainability’ initiatives, features, and processes development, and Switzerland’s response to the global sustainable initiative.

Green Universities

***Sorry I took up all this space

Considering that my study theme involves assessing the level of sustainable contribution of each university we visit, I figure that it would be great to half some typical framework for looking at what constitutes a “Green University” and as easy as it is to open a Google search is as easy as it was to gain some insight into how topuniversities.com assesses the “Green-ness” of various universities.

INTERESTING SIDEBAR: According to the League compiled by “People and Planet” a coalition of students that hold universities accountable for environmental and ethical issues, the University of Cambridge, is the top ranking green university….interesting.

So what efforts can help make a university green? It’s simple, the financial and time investments they spend on:

1) Sustainable Building Design (Features)

2) Water Bottle Re-Use (Hydration Station – As in Squires)

3) Locally Produced Food (On campus Farmer’s Markets/On Site Community Gardens)

4) Waste Disposal —(Here’s the good one, the University of Lausanne, in SWITZERLAND (WOOHOO!) disposes of waste by sending it to farms for production of organic fertilizer, and biogas fuels, which generates heat and electricity for the farm and neighboring communities.) [University of Peru sells its paper waste to a recycling company, with proceeds for scholarships awarded to students of low-income homes)

5) Green Transport – Borrow bike program (FREE); and in Oslo, Norway electric cars can be CHARGED @ $0 CHARGE…get it ;)

6) Awareness raising events – Go green weeks, inter-university collaborations and competitions, etc.

If you hate words like me, Notre Dame’s sustainability initiative PA video is really interesting to see how they’re green initiative has taken over their campus (the go green angle is a perfect fit for them). I couldn’t find one from VT, maybe someone can help me with that.

MASTER-OF-EDUCATION.ORG also provides another graphic providing other ways universities can “Go Green” as below. (WHERE IS TECH??)

HOPE THIS SETS A GOOD FOUNDATION, THANKS, KEN