Hands-On Sustainable Mobility
A joint Canadian-German student project
In June 2012, for the first time, students of Civil Engineering and Environmental Planning from the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) and Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences met in Karlsruhe for a joint study project.
Through various excursions and visits in Karlsruhe and Freiburg during their ten days together they found out that there can be life without cars. In bi-national working groups they shared their different views based on their own experience in their respective home countries and joined forces to work out a development and utilization concept for the planned e-campus in Bruchsal. In a series of workshops over several days under the heading “Alternative Energy Revolution“ the participants discussed ways to put this ambitious goal into practice. Their final presentations showed in an impressive manner that it is indeed possible to live the mobility of tomorrow in the world of today, and that sustainable mobility, too, leaves room for innovation, events, leisure and tourism. Needless to say, there was a cultural exchange between the Canadian and German students that went far beyond the academic topic that brought them together in the first place. For the guests from Ontario this included sampling the Baden cuisine, as well as soaking up the special atmosphere of watching the EURO 2012 game of Germany vs. the Netherlands in public on a big screen.
In September the cooperative activities will continue in Ontario, with a joint project on mobility in Waterloo, again supported by a series of extracurricular activities and embedded in an intensive academic, cultural and social exchange.
One of the Waterloo students said about her experience in Karlsruhe:
“Although I think that Canada is finally beginning to turn the corner in developing a greater variety of transportation choices, seeing the diverse range of transportation options regularly used and, more significantly, supported by the public, in places like Karlsruhe and Freiburg has been incredibly inspiring. I am also thrilled about the relationship that the professors are forging between the two universities – it offers students of both countries a great opportunity to better understand the perspectives towards transportation in both Canada and Germany. I have a feeling that your students will be much more appreciative of Karlsruhe and the German approach to transportation investment – they seemed to think it was ‘nothing special’, but perhaps from a distance they more fully appreciate that what seems to happen relatively easily in Germany would be monumental in Canada. An additional thought I had was that this relationship closes the circle between Waterloo and Germany – as you may know, the dominant settlers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area were German, and seeing the similarities in the landscape around Karlsruhe I am convinced that some of them must have been from Baden-Württemberg.”
It is one of the aims of the “hands-on sustainable mobility” project to prepare the way for students from both Karlsruhe and Waterloo to go abroad for a semester, either to study or to conduct their Master’s thesis. As early as this coming semester three Civil Engineering students from HsKA will be going to Waterloo, so it seems to be working!