City Tech Professor Kevin Hom, AIA, dean of the School of Technology & Design, and three architectural technology students participated in the World Cities World Class University (WC2) Symposium in Germany, hosted by Technische Universität Berlin, from August 8—12. WC2 brings together universities in major global cities to discuss the challenges facing urban areas and universities in the 21st century.
Participants (70 students and 70 staff) from 10 member universities and two additional non-member universities met to address cultural, environmental, and political issues pertaining to world cities. The theme for the Symposium was “Universities as Urban Actors: Towards the New Urban Agenda.” This agenda, and the role of cities and the universities within them in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), provided the Symposium with an overarching framework and several sessions.
Dean Hom was particularly pleased with the student-centered nature of the symposium. “The most important aspect is the engagement that our students have with international colleagues and students. For many of them this is their first exposure to the global aspects of their education. This was a great opportunity for our students to meet other educators and to meet and work with students and future peers,” said Hom.
Students undertook preparatory work in advance of the Symposium and worked within groups once there, focusing on five areas: business, eco-campus, global cultures, global health, and transport. They made presentations to the wider group, which included a model eco-campus, an analysis of global health data, films, games, and a website.
Three City Tech architectural technology students—Zarita Zevallos, Kate Sanko, and Edisson Garcia—participated in the symposium.
“This chance to represent City Tech was one of the best and most satisfying opportunities of my architectural studies. I learned about new types of technology like energy created from animal waste, called biomass, which is 100 percent eco-friendly and renewable. I met people from all over the world, and learned how people in other disciplines are addressing energy challenges,” said Zevallos.
“This symposium gave me a whole new perspective on life,” said Garcia. “I had the opportunity to work with people from many parts of the world, which was a beautiful experience that I really appreciate.”
“I learned a lot about sustainability, especially as it relates to Berlin and its type of climate, for instance, their use of adiabatic cooling—or geothermal energy. It was a great experience to see, feel, and compare how strong the people were from other countries in terms of educational background in architecture,” said Sanko. “I can proudly say that City Tech’s BTech degree is the equal to a Master’s from some countries. City Tech is very strong in technical terms—just like the Technische Universität Berlin.”
Dean Hom and City Tech students also attended last year’s inaugural Symposium in London. The third WC2 Symposium will take place at the University of São Paulo in August 2017.
Student travel was funded, in part, by a grant from Santander Bank.