Event report BUP Student Conference 2023
The 2023 BUP Student Conference was held in May 2023 at Kaunas University of Technology in Kaunas, Lithuania, which is also the host of the BUP’s National Centre in Lithuania. The conference had a focus on Sustainable production and consumption: A circular economy perspective and featured a collaboration with the International Young Researchers Conference. The 2023 BUP Student Conference was open for students studying at BUP participating universities and focused on the development of young researchers’ competences in connection to sustainable development, sustainable production and sustainable consumption. A total of 70 students, from 31 participating universities and all 10 network countries joined the event.
The Student Conference took place over three days with activities based at Kaunas University of Technology and in the city of Kaunas too. The conference began with an introduction from key staff before two keynote speeches:
- Kerli Kant Hvass, Estonian Business School focusing on circularity in the fashion industry.
- Jurgis Kazimieras Staniškis, Kaunas University of Technology and UN SDG expert group member, focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change action.
One of the main objectives of the conference was to offer an opportunity to learn about issues related to circular economy from both a practical and theoretical perspective as well as to offer students the chance to present their own work and results and spearhead discussions related to the topic. The second day began with four speeches and discussions with representatives from Lithuanian industry and society before student presentations in the afternoon. All students were offered the chance to present their own work either in poster or oral form. A link to a more detailed programme containing the names and topics of those who presented can be found here. Speeches came from:
- Laurynas Virbickas, Director of Kaunas Regional Waste Management Centre
- Ieva Budraitė, Director for International Relations and Project activities at Green Policy Institute
- Lina Raulinaviciene, Head of Marketing at Aurika packaging
- Viktorija Nausėdė, founder of TEXTALE
Another important part of the conference is the Students’ Parliament. The aims to increase the participation of students within the decision making of the BUP. There was active discussion and also the election of a new Student Representative. Congratulations to newly elected Niumi Dissanayake from Riga Technical University. You can read more about Niumi here and see the protocol from the parliament here.
In addition, students took part in the annual cultural party- a celebration of Baltic regional culture and food and a guided tour of Kaunas.
Evalutation of the Student Conference
All participating students were asked to complete an evaluation on the final day of the conference. The survey was completed by 67 students. Prior to the event, students held an expectation of 7.89/10, therefore it was pleasing that the students ranked the event overall at 8.7/10. Students particularly highlighted the selected speeches and presentations as interesting and thought provoking. Meeting new people as well as social activities including the cultural party were also identified as appreciated. The accommodation was also well-rated.
The BUP is always looking to improve our activities, in particular in anticipation of next year’s student conference, therefore the BUP welcomes areas in which we can improve and all constructive feedback. Of note, was to hold an icebreaker activity at the start of the conference, creating more discussion periods and ensuring that the presentations held a clear connection to the theme. Allowing more free time and a less tight schedule would also be appreciated. Increasing the amount and range of food would also be welcomed.
The Student Conference was given a rating of 8.7/10 by the participating students.
Communication with the BUP staff before the event was rated at 8.92/10 and during the event was rated 9.49/10.
Students noted that the event was worthwhile in attending, giving an 8.14/10 rating, consistently noting aquiring new knowledge about circular economy and sustainability, new friends and new inspiration to continue working in science and research.
Voices of participants
Ester Jančaříková - Participant from Czech Technical University in Prague
Before attending the conference I was looking forward to meeting international students. I expected to make friends across countries. My professional expectation was to learn more about sustainability and the environment overall.
I liked the quality of the presentations, there were a lot of interesting guests.
At the conference I met a lot of new people and I shared the contact with them. The conference also helped me to get a new perspective of the topic.
Mufaddal Jafferjee - Participant from Warsaw School of Economics
Before the conference my expectations were to dig deeper into the sustainable and circular economy ecosystem and be inspired to make a difference. I was also looking forward to sharing my research paper amongst like minded professionals.
The best part of the student conference were the presentations by Mr. Jurgis Staniskis and Ms. Lina from Aurika Packaging. I also enjoyed the opportunity to give my presentation during the conference.
I will take back with me unforgettable memories. From an educational perspective that circular economy and sustainability is a key issue that has to be addressed and actually leaping forward, unbreakable friendship bonds with the group of likeminded professionals and learning about beautiful Kaunas city and embracement of sustainability from the city.
Images from BUP Student Conference 2023
Visvaldas Varžinskas, BUP Centre Director in Lithuania, opened the conference and welcomed the students to Kaunas.
Photo: Pontus Ambros
The conference offered the students many opportunities to voice their thoughts and ask questions to presenters and each other.
Photo: Pontus Ambros
The conference gave the participants the opportunity to meet students from other countries in the Baltic Sea Region. Here during an excursion in Kaunas.
Photo: Pontus Ambros
A part of the BUP Student Conference is the cultural party during which the participants got the opportunity to learn more about traditional Lithuanian dances.
Photo: Pontus Ambros
A vital part of the BUP Student Conference is the Students' Parliament where the participants choose a new BUP Student Representative for the BUP International Board. At the Students' Parliament the is also the opportunity to discuss their views of the BUP and ideas for potential developments.
Photo: Brian Kiproto