Take lessons and take exams outside the classroom, in the green, between a birch park and the bio-lake. It is not an experiment. It is the program of the University of Milano Bicocca. Green change accelerated by a pandemic that has moved not only the spaces of bars and restaurants to the outside. And the challenge of a university where in the months of the lockdown professors and students began to rethink the campus and the way to live it: “Universities must have the courage to change, and we are the first to organize lessons en plein air”, says the rector Giovanna Iannantuoni, in front of the construction site for a new campus building, the foundation stone was laid on 10 June. He shows the project, tells about the “new idea of a university” and explains that the plan is already underway. The university inaugurated the nursery in autumn, 8 thousand square meters of greenery where the professors began to give lessons. Some courtyards have also been transformed with student seats in the trees. And in 2023 the U10 building will open: «One third of the buildings and two thirds of green buildings – he underlines -. So a campus really changes ».
The university en plein air. Rector, where did you start from?
«The pandemic made us reflect on spaces. Life on campus should be lived above all outside and also improves learning: less stress, motivation increases. In the wake of international universities with a lot of greenery, from Cambridge and Oxford, we designed a building with classrooms and residences in an urban wood, a green area of two hectares. And we focus on outdoor teaching: lessons and exams, for all courses, from Economics to Law. We will have educational amphitheaters immersed in a plain wood, in front of a bio-lake with amphibians and dragonflies and on large terraces with covered pergolas there will be smart stations to connect the devices. You can stay outdoors all year round, as in the heated dehors. Not only that: the park will be open to the city, as well as the nursery. In a year and a half of the pandemic, the university has shown its resilience ».
Other goals for the recovery?
«We are focusing more and more on the environment and sustainability. We have encouraged soft mobility, creating velostations and charging stations, the number of students arriving by bike has doubled, and our campaign for water also continues, each freshman receives a water bottle, there is a dispenser on each floor. For this restart, further investments were made in research ».
After months of a pandemic, remote classes and empty campuses, what is your message for students today?
«We are waiting for them at the university. Many out-of-offices had left Milan, the invitation is to return. With shifts and booking on the App everyone will go to the classroom ».
June 6, 2021 | 09:51
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