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Students Help to Solve Sustainability Problems in Cross-Atlantic 'Worcester' Partnership

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A cross-Atlantic partnership between two Worcester education institutions has seen students working together to improve sustainability.

Sixteen students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, USA, have been staying at the University of Worcester for the last seven weeks, working on four community projects.

In groups of four, they worked with academics and host communities to conduct research and develop solutions to real problems.

A special event was held at the end of the seven weeks to allow the students to present their research and celebrate their achievements.

Katy Boom, Director of Sustainability at the University of Worcester, said: “It was a real pleasure to host students and staff from WPI in ‘our’ Worcester. The impact and enthusiasm from the students is a real asset to our communities. The teams carried out significant research during their projects which is invaluable. The quality of their work is excellent and all the projects sponsors were delighted with their findings, and the confidence of their presentations.”

The four projects worked on were: Energize Worcester - looking at student housing and boiler controls and behaviour; Repair Café - looking at establishing a repair café specifically in a university setting, with students repairing items for other students; Worcester Arts Workshop - helping them and their premises to become more sustainable; and Renewable Energy Policy in Wales - comparing renewable energy strategies for countries across Europe this team worked with advisors to Welsh Assembly Government on strategies to increase renewable energy provision in Wales.

The partnership between WPI and the University of Worcester is now in its third year and was born out of a twinning visit from Lord Faulkner of Worcester.

WPI is one of the leading engineering universities in the US and has project centres in 46 locations worldwide. Worcester is one of its newest centres.

Professor Dominic Golding, from WPI, who accompanied the students on their visit, said: “The students have had a marvellous seven weeks in Worcester and will be sorry to leave. The projects have been great – stretching the students intellectually and encouraging them to get out and about in the community.

“The support from the project sponsors, Katy Boom, the other staff at the University of Worcester, and the wider community has been fantastic. The students have loved living on campus, meeting other students, and exploring the city on foot and by bicycle. All in all this has been a tremendously successful visit and we look forward to bringing many more teams over in the coming years. I know our students will go back and sing the praises of Worcester, England to all who’ll listen.”