Second place for MDH students in international competition

May 13, 2011 | Student

Students Emelie Wong and Torbjörn Johansson from Mälardalen University, together with senior lecturer Magnus Hoppe, have won second prize for their well-presented project at this year’s Euroweek. In total, 150 students participated in the international contest, and 21 projects competed on the theme Water, which is where our students won their prize.

PRIME Networking is a network of universities in Europe, and the Euroweek conference is one of their biggest activities – and one that attracts a lot of attention. For Mälardalen University, Prime Networking is a way to build international contacts concerning education and student exchanges. Among the members of the network is the university in Coimbra, where this year’s Euroweek took place.

The students Emelie Wong and Torbjörn Johansson, who are currently in their fourth year of the Innovation Programme at Mälardalen University, joined the competition together with two students from Portugal and two from Spain. Their project bears the title “From the beast to the beauty” and is about the evolution of the “spa” phenomenon from something ugly to something nice: an institution that started as a place for sick people to be cured is today a place where people go to become beautiful and feel well. The students examined this phenomenon and produced a website, Dripstone, with information on how today’s spas can become ecologically sustainable.

A contest like that at Euroweek shows that cooperation between different countries is very interesting, but a challenge, too, because of different cultures and levels of knowledge. Everybody’s also used to different working procedures.

- All communication was via Facebook. At the beginning we created a Facebook group where we informed each other about our progress, and towards the end we agreed on times for when to meet in the Facebook chat to discuss the final issues, says Torbjörn Johansson.

Emelie and Torbjörn’s project leader and supervisor was Magnus Hoppe, senior lecturer in innovation technology:

- The students have shown an incredible ability to deal with insecurities, imperfect communication as well as cultural differences – and to make the best of it all. They have created a well-structured project under time pressure. Creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a good attitude have paved the way for good experiences and many insights.

The students received the prize for the display case, similar to a poster, that they had built to present the project to several juries as well as their competitors during a major presentation at the conference.

- It’s a great feeling to win that prize! However, the experiences and the relations I built in connection with Euroweek are worth so much more. Now I’m planning to go to Finland in the summer and meet some new friends I made during that week – and who knows where I end up next, Torbjörn Johansson rounds off.