Geneva, Vienna Students Explore Sustainability Issues in Innovative Summer Cluster

| July 9, 2014
Webster Geneva Sustainability Cluster

Students from Webster Geneva and Vienna explored the ethical, scientific and sociological aspects of sustainability, culminating in a field trip to the Grande Dixence Dam 2400 meters up in the Swiss Alps.

Webster Geneva Sustainability Cluster

Students learn about the highest gravity dam in the world, holding 400 billion liters of water.

This summer term Webster Geneva offered a cluster of classes around the theme of sustainability, attended by students from the Geneva and Vienna campuses.

Studying together, these Webster University students composed a learning community that explored the ethical, scientific and sociological aspects of the subject, culminating in a field trip to the Grande Dixence Dam 2400 meters up in the Swiss Alps.

Yvonne Moussy, instructor for the Introduction to Sustainability Studies class, explained, “The Grande Dixence Dam site was chosen for our major field trip as it is 285 meters high, making it the highest gravity dam in the world.

‘The Largest Artificial Lake in Switzerland’

“The dam retains 400 billion liters of water, creating the largest artificial lake in Switzerland. The purpose of this technical feat is to provide hydroelectricity. The renewable energy generated from this site can supply the electricity needs of 400,000 homes.”

From the top of the dam, students had a view of Lac des Dix and the Val des Dix. The class also took a one-hour guided tour inside the 15 million-ton structure and walked through a small section of the 32-kilometer network of tunnels within the dam.

Geneva Sustainability Cluster

The Grande Dixence Dam is a 15-million ton structure which towers above the valley.

The field trip was part of many experiences offered during courses in the summer sustainability cluster, which also included a visit to a local organic foods producer.

‘Reinforcing Real-World Learning’

Ron Daniel, academic director of Webster Geneva, said the unique summer offering was a high-impact success.

“This learning community has demonstrated the strength of focusing the attention of some of our best students on a single subject,” Daniel said.

“By bringing together expert instructors in a intensified time period, we were able to make the learning experience an extremely fruitful one for everybody. The class also undertook some wonderful field trips that reinforced the real-world learning that is an important part of the Webster philosophy.”

Geneva Sustainability Cluster

The class also took a guided tour and walked through a small section of its 32-km network of tunnels.

Daniel concluded, “The success of this cluster will undoubtedly drive us to repeat the experience for the next academic year.”

About Webster Geneva

Part of Webster University’s worldwide network of campuses in 60 cities in eight countries on four continents, the Geneva campus (www.webster.ch) opened in 1978 and is the largest Webster campus outside of the United States, with approximately 650 students from 90 countries, studying towards either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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