The second edition of the 4EU+ workshop on global environment and development MERGEDgate (formerly ENVIROGATE) took place in Chiavenna, Italian Alps, from 27 June to 30 June 2023.
The 4EU+ interdisciplinary workshop MERGEDgate was organized by the University of Milan in collaboration with the Universities of Copenhagen and Warsaw. Thirty bachelor students in natural, social, and economic sciences from the three universities gathered for a week of lectures, field experiences, teamwork, and practical activities.
During the workshop, students learned how to tackle the challenges of global environment and development thanks to a set of learning activities that encouraged creativity and sharing from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Laura Mazzei, 4EU+ student, University of Milan
“I learnt so much about forest management. We did field activities to understand better what we tackled. For example, we went on a mountain slope, which was damaged by fire about six years ago. We measured the possible future tree cover, CO2 sink and stock before and after fire, as well as tree height, diameter and distribution.”
Ece Muslu, 4EU+ student, University of Copenhagen
“This interdisciplinary course integrates concepts from various fields such as environmental sciences, development studies, and economics. When dealing with a broad and complex issue such as environment and development, it is great to be able to include all these fields and understand the relationship between them. I study environmental and food economics. The interdisciplinary approach of the workshop has equipped me with a more holistic perspective on the issues that I might face in my field of study and in my future job.”
Guided by international experts, students delved into some of the hottest present-day topics related to the current challenges in sustainable environmental and agricultural development and proposed possible solutions.
"The MERGEDgate workshop is designed to offer students a combination of theoretical and practical learning experiences in the field of global environment and development. The participants fulfilled their curiosity about the mega-challenges in the sustainability of the global environment: from the management of the planetary boundaries to the adoption of sustainable economic and social practices. Students apply the concepts they are taught to practical examples, working in small teams. Some of the teams go to farms, some to forests, some analyse data using statistical tools. They all study specific sustainability examples and meet to discuss, together with teachers, the results. The whole experience occurs in a retreat in the mountains where the students have the chance to meet peers from three different universities. This special location and the set-up of didactic activities make MERGEDgate a truly unique experience," remarked Prof. Carlo Pozzi, coordinator of the educational activity from the University of Milan.
However, the experience goes beyond just the workshop: during the MERGEDgate activities students had the chance to get a glimpse into the topics and teaching methods of the newly opened Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Global Environment and Development (MERGED), one of the new joint programmes developed by the 4EU+ European University Alliance.
The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master MERGED is offered by the Universities of Copenhagen, Milan and Warsaw. The first intake of students is about to start their first year at the University of Copenhagen. Students will then attend their second year at the University of Milan or the University of Warsaw, depending on their choice of specialisation.
The forty students selected each year will acquire the skills and knowledge needed to address crucial global challenges such as societal and scientific understanding of environmental issues at a global scale; identification of key aspects of renewable natural resource management; processing of achievable solutions for economic, environmental, institutional and social sustainable development.
Maria Paula Caro, 4EU+ student, University of Milan
“I have learned many new things, including ways to implement sustainable policies taking into account the local point of view i.e., for the farmers when we talk about livestock management. As a student in social sciences for globalization, I trust that this course will help me to create new policies that take into account sustainability and wellness.”
For further information, please visit the website https://merged.info/.