The Spring Meeting adventure started on Thursday, 3rd of April 2014. In the morning oikos members from all over the world were gathering at the Generator Hostel. Among 120 participants there were 8 representatives from oikos Warsaw: Dominika Czyż, Marta Dajcz, Marta Jacak, Aleksandra Kask, Anna Mazur, Katarzyna Negacz, Karolina Symonides and Hubert Pyliński. As one of the most sustainable cities in the world, Copenhagen was to give us a chance to get first hand insights into the latest trends in sustainable urban living and strategies.
While the majority of oikos Warsaw members decided to start exploring the city straight after the arrival, Hubert Pyliński and Dominika Czyż joined the Presidents Meeting. The meeting started with the updates from the oikos Executive Board and a discussion on strategies and future plans of oikos community. The discussion was followed by a presentation of the concept of the next FutureLab 2014. The meeting was finalized with a brainstorming session on how oikos should define, map, measure, and leverage its impact. This successful conclusion of the President Meeting set the vibe for the upcoming three days of the Spring Meeting.
In the afternoon, the presidents joined the remaining conference participants at the opening ceremony that took place at Copenhagen Business School, located in the district of Frederiksberg, the greenest area of the Green City. Welcome speeches were held by Director of CBS, Mayor of Frederiksberg Municipality, President of oikos Copenhagen and President of oikos International. Lenka Parkanova told us she was lucky to become oikos International President as it was the best job one could ever have. We had a feeling we were lucky to become a part of oikos International to join the Spring Meeting. The enthusiasm was contagious from the very beginning.
After the opening, Ice-breaking activities began. We had a chance to get acquainted with oikos members we have never met before in a form of Speed-Dating.. Having got together, we were split again into two groups. One group attended the workshop by Accenture on Intelligent Cities; the other co-operated during the Interactive Seminar prepared by rootAbility designed to Impact the City through certain activities. At the end of the workshops, the lecture hall was filled with colourful balloons symbolising students’ ideas of bringing sustainability into the city’s walls. The oikos Warsaw’s blue balloon was to raise awareness of energy consumption in the Energysaver’s style.
The seminar was followed by a series of experts’ presentations. Christian E. Kampmann from the CBS showed his ideas and conclusions regarding Innovation for Sustainable Urban Mobility. He discussed pros and cons of biofuels, electric and hybrid vehicles, logistics and hydrogen fuel cells. The presentation on Innovative Cycling by DonkeyRepublik and Cykelven featured an entrepreneurial idea based on bike sharing scheme in Danish companies that was compared with initiatives flourishing in developing countries. The closing presentation Make Copenhagen Your Personal Business by Copenhagen Capacity made us aware of huge advantages of Denmark’s capital city and encouraged to consider experimenting with our own start-ups.
After the academic part was over, Inspired and satisfied, we went out of the CBC buildings to the heart of Copenhagen to find the restaurant called Sult, where we ate a delicious welcome dinner hosted by Copenhagen Capacity. After the dinner, we had an awesome opportunity of cross-chapter integration in Minibar. There we danced and talked till late night hours - the best, entertaining and relaxing ending after such a busy but enjoyable day.
Friday turned out to be even busier, and in fact, it was the busiest day during the whole conference. Most of us had to wake up really early in order to eat breakfast in an extraordinary place – House of Green - an interactive showroom and visitors' center in Copenhagen. We could get acquainted there with Danish integrated solutions and scenarios across the landscape of energy, water, climate, resources and the environment.
After that visit we went back to Copenhagen Business School to take part in two seminars: Sustainable Use of Public Space by Lars Gamzøe and Sustainable Copenhagen by Tina Saaby Madsen, city architect. The seminars were aimed at presenting the role of urban planning in creating a sustainable city structure that satisfies the needs of an urban society.
Our next step on the way to sustainability-driven city concept was a case competition, which turned out to be the brightest highlight of the conference. Smarter City Challenge was prepared in cooperation with IBM. All participants of the conference were divided into small groups that had a challenging task: within a couple of hours decide how can the cooperation between the city of Copenhagen and the IBM should look like. This international company focusing more and more on sophisticated services using brand new technologies asked the participants of the case how they think Copenhagen can use big data to improve the quality of life of its citizens. The participants were given some materials to get inspired and lead their efforts. They had to develop a model of exchanging data between its owners and consumers: the Open Value Network. During three-hour case solving session we all had to cerebrate, exchange ideas and think very hard.
After that intellectual challenge we took a group photo. It was, however, not that easy since such a large group is always a bit insubordinate. At least all the faces remained smiling after the photo shooting session was over.
The last substantive part of the second day of conference was an educational panel discussion – The Role of Government, Bisiness and NGOs in Creating Sustainable Cities. Representatives of the focus groups presented their insights into the topic to exchange experience and develop joint initiatives that could benefit the local community of Copenhagen. The highlight of the presentations turned out to be an application designed to measure the energy consumption of certain household appliances with the use of your mobile phone.
Straight after the discussion we went to an extraordinary restaurant – Rub&Stub – where we had an opportunity to eat mouthwatering dinner and dessert made of food waste which was something brand for all of us. Inspired though we was with the restaurant’s struggle for more sustainable consumption, the highlight of the dinner for oikos Warsaw was the results of oikos Photo Competition officially announced by oikos Vienna during the dinner. We were proud because most of award-winning photos came from our chapter. Replete with delicious food all oikees went to one of the Danish bars to have some drinks and, more importantly, get to know each other better.
Saturday was the most important day of the Spring Meeting in terms of the future of oikos International. In the early morning presidents and representatives of local chapters took part in Legislative Meeting, where new President and Excutive Board of oikos International were to be chosen and decisions concerning the local chapters were to be taken.
First of all, chapters representatives decided if two chapters that are no longer active should be closed: oikos Hamburg and oikos Belfast. The second point of the whole meeting was a short presentations of three chapters in accession applying to become full members of oikos International. oikos Lausanne, oikos Opole and oikos Pune presented their activities and the way they work to make impact in their own environment. The third point of the meeting were short presentations of the Executive Board candidates: Ankit Agarwal, Hubert Pyliński and Clementine Robert. The candidates had to present their vision of oikos and the way they want to contribute to its main goal, promoting sustainability among students. After a short session of interesting questions we went to the next point of the meeting, the election of a new president. The only candidate was Anita Negri. She gave a short speech about her vision of oikos and her motivation to become a president of oikos International. After this speech all the participants of the legislative meeting had the chance to ask Anita their questions. What is more, there was also a closed discussion between chapter representatives in which Anita was not participating. At the end, the representatives were asked to vote over all the issues that were covered during this meeting.
Parallel to the legislative meeting organizing team prepared other activities for oikees not taking part in it. They could for instance watch “The Human Scale” – a Danish documentary concerning the topic of urbanization and problems of mega cities. The movie was based on the research of Jan Gehl, Danish architect and professor who has studied human behavior in cities through 40 years. He documented how modern cities repel human interaction argued that we can build cities in a way, that takes human needs for inclusion and intimacy into account.
After the lunch all oikees took part in the final of the IBM Case Competition. Groups presented their ideas to the Jury, which consisted of the experts of IBM, representative of Copenhagen Business School and of Copenhagen Municipal. Since all of the groups seemed to have a really professional approach to the exercise and showed many creative solutions for the cooperation of IBM and Copenhagen Municipal, the choice of the winning team was not easy. The final of Case Competition was the last activity connected to the main topic of the meeting.
After the competition was over, we had an opportunity to attend a cross-chapter experience, which was prepared by Executive Board of oikos International. It consisted of four 15-minutes workshops concerning different issues of managing a local chapter e.g. fundraising prepared by Dominika Czyż - our colleague from oikos Warsaw, communication with alumni, social media and website. There were two rounds of workshops, so participants had to choose, which topic is the most interesting for them. The similar formula was used during the Impact Fair, where local chapters could present their projects. In total, 14 projects were presented, among them there was Kate Negacz, from oikos Warsaw, who wanted to discuss the development of PhD Seminar project.
The next point of the program was a boat trip. Although the weather wasn’t optimal for this kind of sightseeing, all of the oikees definitely enjoyed it thanks to the great guide and awesome company. During the trip, the international crowd took up the idea of organizing the sweets exchange session.
The final point of the day was the farewell dinner at RizRaz and party in the club “Drunken Flamingo”. During the dinner Lenka Parkanova, the president of oikos International presented the results of elections. We were glad to hear that Anita Negri from oikos Maastricht would become the new president of oikos International and that Clementine Robert, Ankit Agrawal and Hubert Pyliński were selected the new members of oikos Executive Board. Since Saturday, April 5th, we also have had 3 new full chapters in the network: oikos Lousanne, oikos Pune and oikos Opole.
After our Saturday night out it was quite hard to find the motivation to get up - even the thought of breakfast or a field trip couldn't get half of the oikees out of bed. Luckily the most persistant managed to leave the comfort of their rooms. After a slice of bread for breakfast, packing, farewells, hugs, kisses and checking out, we were finally able to do something (more or less) productive. To sum up, Sunday, our last day in Copenhagen, was quite a sluggish and melancholic day. We had four field trips to choose from, the first option was a walking or biking tour around the Copenhagen (as a reference to the most popular activity in town) in which we would see the most important icons and areas of the city. We could also choose between a visit to the design museum of Denmark or a trip to the free city of Christiana, however some of us just stayed on the couches in the hostel's common room and some decided to do a little excursion to town by themselves (and so did oikos Warsaw). In a group of four we decided to take a final walk through the lovely city before heading home. We visited the Lego shop, had a stroll down by the canals, walked through the Stroget (Europes longest shopping street which boasts many expensive designer stores) and ended our trip on a bench near Christiana's shore to have a last good chatt with the friendly locals. The moment we arrived back at the hostel we had to pick up our luggage and take the metro to Lufthavnen station to board the flight back to Warsaw...
Dominika Czyż, Marta Dajcz, Marta Jacak, Aleksandra Kask, Hubert Pyliński, Karolina Symonides