On Friday 12 May H.E. Mr. Frans Timmermans paid a visit to the DISC lab in Langezijds. ITC’s Freek van der Meer and Cheryl de Boer talked with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission about UT’s new Climate Centre, ITC’s mission and international student community and the possibilities that DISC offers. Later that day, during the UT Dies Natalis, Timmermans gave a keynote speech.
Visit to DISC
Disc stands for Design and Interactive Space for Co-creating. ‘The DISC lab is a place where we work on interactive models and tools that support communication across and between different stakeholders on different societal challenges. One of those that are of particular interest is the energy transition, which is integral to the European Green Deal’, said De Boer. Timmermans is responsible for the European Green Deal. De Boer showed Timmermans the COLLAGE model that supports the participation of people in planning and implementing the energy transition in their own local or regional context.
New UT Climate Centre
During the 61st Dies Natalis, the University of Twente launched its UT Climate Centre. The centre will play a major role in the university's ambitions in education, research and valorisation for climate issues. The UT Climate Centre emerged from a university-wide initiative aimed to identify, in a bottom-up process, how the UT could further embed sustainability into the organisation. The team to build the cross-faculty Climate Centre is formed with Albert van den Berg, Freek van der Meer, Cheryl de Boer and Miriam Luizink. Their first task is to create an impact plan with the UT community and external stakeholders to shape the centre's ambitions further.
During their meeting earlier that day at ITC, Timmermans asked the Climate Centre team how students are involved in the initiative. 'I personally notice that students see solving climate issues as an ethical imperative. They are very engaged and intrinsically motivated to actively think about this.' Van den Berg replied in agreement: 'We notice that too. We recently had a Climate Café meeting and we got an overwhelming lot of reactions from students afterwards. They bring in tremendously good ideas.'
Keynote speech from Timmermans at UT Dies Natalis
During the 61st Dies Natalis, Timmermans delivered his keynote speech with his characteristic passion. We have faced climate change with significant consequences before in the long history of our planet, Timmermans said, but this is the first time we are convinced that it is caused by human behaviour. "But we also have to realise that this is not so much about saving the planet; it is about saving humanity." During that same Dies Natalis, Cheryl de Boer, Albert van den Berg and ITC M-GEO student Zannat Ara Ghani talked on stage about challenges related to climate change.
The hall in the Waaier building was filled with staff, students and other guests who came to celebrate its 61st anniversary with the university. They were treated to a festive, packed but above all inspiring programme.