Climate-KIC Alumni Association volunteers launch website

Climate-KIC ‘s Alumni Association, over 500 strong at the time of writing, has launched the new website www.ckaa.eu to promote its activities within and beyond the Climate-KIC community.

The Alumni Association (CKAA), which brings together hundreds of former participants in Climate-KIC’s educational programmes across Europe, organises meetings such as networking events, field trips to clean tech facilities and entrepreneurial brainstorming sessions around climate innovation.

“The website marks a turning point in the development of the association from a conceptual community to a hub of activity,” said Eleanor Saunders, interim Education Director at Climate-KIC.

Sanderine van Odijk, President, Climate-KIC Alumni Association
Sanderine van Odijk, President, Climate-KIC Alumni Association

The Alumni Association was set up two years ago as an independent foundation and its members elect their board on an annual basis. “Our focus this year is on building a strong community,” Alumni Association President Sanderine van Odijk said, highlighting the main purpose of the new website.

Van Odijk and her team work on establishing partnerships with businesses and organisations in the Climate-KIC community. “We are a group of over 500 graduates, young professionals, researchers and entrepreneurs. All with the same drive to tackle climate change and related issues – we operate on the cutting-edge of the climate innovation field,” said van Odijk.

“Climate-KIC is extremely proud to see its students thriving. The Alumni Association is a clear product of their commitment to international collaboration and climate innovation in Europe,” Saunders said.

 

Never-ending timeline

“We’ve built our website as a never-ending timeline,” says Matthias J. Götz, IT & Design Coordinator with the Alumni Association, stressing the modern, social media based approach of the website.

“People are so used to scrolling through content – like on Facebook – we hope that while they scroll down they come across start-ups and activities they wouldn’t normally navigate to,” Götz said.

Götz, who took part in Climate-KIC’s 2010 summer school as an architecture student, also highlights the website’s compatibility with tablet computers, ease of navigation and management as well as the constant social media updates on the homepage.

 

Spreading the word

Götz pointed out that although the website was made to inform and engage with the alumni community, he hopes that potential future students will come across their success stories and get inspired to join one of the Climate-KIC programmes.

Matthias J. Götz, IT & Design Coordinator, Climate-KIC Alumni Association
Matthias J. Götz, IT & Design Coordinator, Climate-KIC Alumni Association

“My Climate-KIC experience started with the summer school  – it was the best experience related to universities I had at that point,” Götz said, emphasizing his eagerness to use the internet to spread the word about Climate-KIC and the low carbon economy.

“I felt like ‘wow all these people are from different fields but all have the same goal – innovating our way out of the climate crisis,’” Götz said. “I wanted to ‘ask ask ask’ all the time because I was with a group of such interesting and enthusiastic people. That really made me believe in the Climate-KIC concept.”

Götz said his experience in the Climate-KIC community gave him a broader view on the climate change challenge, “It totally motivated me to stay involved with that. We have the potential, we have the people to be something with this group,” he said.

 

Seedbed

“What Climate-KIC is really doing, is creating the seedbed for a new generation of climate innovation entrepreneurs,” Van Odijk said, “I see it with a lot of friends and people from my university. Everyone is getting very concerned with the future of our civilisation and the planet.”

Van Odijk, who took part in the Climate-KIC summer school in 2011, said Climate-KIC has opened her eyes to the possibilities of using small and medium sized enterprise models and the bottom up methods of business minded projects “to achieve actual change, rather than going through the regulatory level.”

Sanderine has left a secure job to join start-up company Metabolic Lab, which works on systemic solutions for sustainable cities, food systems and industrial processes.

Götz is now active as an architect in Berlin for GDB Planung, and has recently initiated a German-Chilean collaboration through the GRÜN LAB project to bring new technologies for energy efficient buildings to South America.