This weekend, the Eastern Mediterranean International School organized a sustainability weekend dedicated to the school’s mission. With this occasion the German organization Zwischen Zeit Zentrale visited the school and presented a two day workshop style program, where students learned about their activities and how to give purpose to places previously unused, or abandoned.

At the end of this event, we wanted to hear what impact the workshop had on students, so we asked a group of participants for their impressions.

  1. Reporter: In the last two days, Zwischen Zeit Zentrale organization presented us their work. Have you ever heard of a similar project? How do you find their ideas?

Lavinia Gavrilovici: In my old school we worked a lot with similar organizations, so I was already familiar with the concept of taking an abandoned place, in my case an unused urban green zone, to explore and then redesign it. But the way this organization applies the concept by using abandoned building to create new spaces where people can come together and share ideas I think is really unique and I like idea of getting more involved.

  1. R: Their project is slowly expanding but how would you see their idea spread worldwide?

Nicolae Munteanu: I believe their idea and their agreement with the management of our school to do this sustainability weekend and sharing their idea with students from 35 different countries is already broadening their horizons to a different level. We, as international students, can begin a collaboration with them and spread their concept in our own countries to raise awareness regarding this issue. Nevertheless they should not give up on their mission, regardless the difficulties imposed by national laws, because their idea can be adapted to different countries and cultures.

  1. R: How have the workshops inspired you to support the school’s mission of sustainability?

Naomi Theinert: I think what the workshop has taught me is that often it is not the big things that lead to a sustainable future; it’s about using the resources available. For example; in the clothing workshop the main idea was to think about how you can reuse the clothes you have and the houses workshop was about using vacant spaces. So using the things you have should help you create a sustainable future, it’s not necessarily about building new things. Following this idea, now we are trying to use the club in a way that everyone can benefit from, turning it not just into a space where people go to get water, but a space where people want to spend time together and in this way we are going to use all the resources we have to our best abilities to create a sustainable place.

  1. Their activities are mainly related to temporary situations. How would you see a realistic permanent solution?

Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe: In my opinion, you could renovate old houses that already exist but are not being used, but this would involve buying the lease and of course you may not have the money for this. So instead, if I were to run an organisation like this, I would try and facilitate businesses to use the housing and actually establish their corporations within these building that already exist, rather than constructing new ones; creating new permanent uses for the old buildings. Additionally, by renovating you can immediately upscale them and you don’t have to rebuild completely and this is very simple to renovate and you use a lot less resources and even though there is the cost factor- if you were to take around 2 percent commission from businesses for half a year by signing a contract you will make your money back.

  1. R: How would you use the knowledge you gained during these two days to help our community?

Hannah Cook: I think that the knowledge we’ve been given has really opened my eyes so now, if I see an abandoned building or an unused space I can consider what we can do better to make it liveable and useable when previously I would just think nothing of it. Also, in my group from the workshop about redesigning the club we found ways to use the space that we have better.

Written by Raluca Ciubotariu
Edited by Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe

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