:: GreenBRIDGE summer school:: Cambridge :: 19th-23rd July 2011 ::

We had four very good days in Cambridge during the last week. The city is wonderful. It seems to be in France or German. It is like a little Venice, with the river going through the city and all the people punting on little boats. The pub too are amazing, not dark and smoky, but bright and full of life! I have been very happy of experiencing this new side of UK! More joyful than Leicester! And everything less than wonderful cannot be said in regard of the University! Just walking through it is possible to smell the history. You can feel great things have been discovered inside those walls and great people have walked on the grass. The colleges too are incredible. All perfect green grass everywhere. Little and nice window… Perfectly aligned brick walls…

Such a wonderful environment to study!

:: The first day. The reception ::

We had a wonderful welcome from the people organising the summer school. They are all young PhD students, just as us, and are very good at organisation. Everything was ready for us to arrive: a label with our names, a kit with the information, a welcoming speech by Tatiana V. Vakhitova, the GreenBRIDGE President, and an inspiring lecture by Dr. Douglas Crawford-Brown, Director of Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research.

Everything was very good and we first met our mates for the summer school. People were coming from different part of England, lots of them were from Cambridge of course, but there were people from Oxford, Lancaster and other part of UK, but also from Germany, Greece and even far from that.

:: The second day. The brainstorming ::

In the morning (starting at 8.30 …) we had three brilliant lectures by Professor Peter Guthrie, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge, Sachi Findlater, Cambridge Colleges’ CRC Coordinator and Jonathan Hurst, Conservation Officer, Cambridge City Council.

After that we divided into five groups (all the LL students have been separated except Taofeeq and Toby) and begin to work on the case study. All the group were heterogeneous for backgrounds and for educational and experience level. Each group had also some facilitators from the GreenBRIDGE team.

The Case Studies for the GreenBRIDGE Summer School are: 1. Cambridge University Engineering Department 2. Churchill College 3. Pembroke College 4. Corpus Christi College 5. The Centre for Mathematical Sciences

My case study was the Pembroke College and the group was composed by: Beate Dirks (a physic), Kayla Friedman, Pavni Sahni Kohli, Gassen Sockalingum (architects) and Daniel Curtis (PhD students @Oxford University). Our facilitator were: Magdalini Makrodimitri, Tatiana V. Vakhitova (PhD students @Cambridge University) and Keven Le Doujet  (sustainability consultant).

We spent the first day in brainstorming about strategies to transform Pembroke College into a ‘living example’ of sustainability. At the end of the first day we had a brief presentation to the other participants, which helped us to close discussions and find our targets.

At the end of the day then we had a picnic and went punting on the river. Rallou did her best to drown us, but she didn’t get it!

:: The third day. Meeting the case study ::

The day began as usual with three lectures of Dr Alison Cooke, EEBE Programme Manager, Centre for Sustainable Development, Dr Sebastian Macmillan, IDBE Course Director, Department of Architecture and Martin Whiteland, Environmental Officers, University of Cambridge. After that diveded into groups we went exploring our case studies, for me Pembroke College.

Pembroke College is the third oldest college in Cambridge, founded in 1347 by the Countess of Pembroke, Marie de St Pol. Pembroke has approximately 70 Fellows, 430 undergraduates and 190 graduate students. The College site consists of a series of open courts with gardens, with a mix of buildings dating from as early as the 14th century. Of particular note are the Old Library and Christopher Wren’s baroque chapel. Foundress Court, completed in 1997 provides a new Master’s Lodge and modern accommodation facilities. Alfred Waterhouse’s Victorian Library has recently undergone renovation to meet the needs of current students. Pembroke has two thirds of its properties on the main site with the rest scattered in vicinity and used for accommodation. The “Green League Table Report” for 2010‐2011 showed that Pembroke College has achieved substantial progress with newly introduced ‘green’ measures. These include: voltage optimization, installation of a building management system, adaptation of measures regarding waste management, and dissemination of information among staff and students. The college is also currently in the process of installing photovoltaic cells to satisfy part of the electricity demand.

The visit was really helpful in understanding the structure and the problem of the college and the interview of Chris Blencowe, Bursar of Pembroke College, very interesting. Chris has a very good knowledge of his college and is very determined in changing it into a ‘sustainable college’. Therefore he gave us so many advice in understanding the vision and the mission he has of the college.

After the visit we rush back to the Engineering Department for continuing working. And discussing! We then left for a wonderful dinner at the Indian restaurant.

:: The fourth day. Final presentation+Award ::

The last day has been really busy. We spent the morning in the Engineering Department to finalise our presentation. Then we went to the wonderful Downing College for a very posh lunch with white round table. And then I have to admit that we ate very quickly and we completed the preparation for the presentation…!

The presentation have been held in the magnificent Downing College Howard Theater. The group of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences won the first prize. Well done Muhammad!!

Here my group presentation.

It has been a very nice experience. Not exactly what I was expecting, but still nice and interesting.

Ciao!

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