Initiator Elena Tsigki looks back with satisfaction on the kick-off meeting of the Autumn Challenge at University of Twente last Thursday. For twelve weeks, the forty participants work on challenges based on social issues. There will also be room for fun activities. It is all about the experience,' says Tsigki.
The online session started with a riddle activity for the students, which lasted for about 15-20 minutes. ‘They could immediately get to work with a mini challenge,' says Tsigki. The riddle was based on Einstein's five-houses riddle. By answering questions about people, you can find out who lives where. Of course we had questions about the tutors for this edition. The tutor who drinks tea has Marie Curie as a favourite scientist, the tutor who likes blackcurrant fizz likes football as well, and so on. It was a lot of fun. Students had to work under pressure and time limits and already experienced their first challenge.’
After the break-out session, UT President Victor van der Chijs welcomed all participants with a video message. ‘This course that you are about to enter is an extracurricular, challenge-based program that is hosted by the University of Twente and powered by ECIU, the European consortium of innovative Universities. It is the first time that this program is on offer and it gives students and unique virtual experience to work in an international environment working on real life challenges. You will be working with students from Trento, Tampere, Linköping and Toulouse. That is quite a large group. I hope you will have a good course and a lot of fun.’
After that, the seven challenge providers were on. In five minutes’ time, they pitched their social issues. ‘It was nice to see that all parties involved were recruiting and really asked participants to “come and join our team”. The challenges came from, among others, the municipality of Enschede, the welfare organisation Impuls, and the platform Lucrum for the creation of a care hotel. ‘But there is also an individual issue provided by Mark Scholten. He wonders how we can improve the availability of spatial information for the vision impaired.’
The program continued last weekend. The teams were formed. The students could indicate their preference through a ranking from 1 to 7, and on Saturday and Sunday the first lecture and workshop were held. ‘From now on, it is a matter of monitoring, seeing how things are going and supporting the students to have a good experience.’