Over 120 EIT Alumni came together on 28 and 29 November to connect, build partnerships, co-create projects, and work together to develop the EIT Alumni Community.
EIT Alumni CONNECT is the annual big event and opportunity for EIT Alumni members to meet, discuss and debate on social, environmental and technological challenges.
The theme of the 2020 EIT Alumni CONNECT was 'Responsible Consumption and Production' and how EIT Alumni could address it. It was about how to do more and better with less, about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency, and promoting sustainable lifestyles.
Alongside interactive networking session, a series of workshops allowed our members to get unique insights from external organisations, and from members of the EIT Alumni Communities: EIT Climate-KIC Alumni, EIT Digital Alumni, CommUnity by EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Health Alumni, EIT RawMaterials Alumni and representatives from EIT Food Alumni.
The first day started with a welcoming speech by EIT Director Martin Kern who emphasized the role of the Alumni members to lead the change to a greener, sustainable and more digitalised Europe, before giving the floor to the EIT Alumni Communities representatives to introduce the main activities and plans for the current and upcoming year.
Throughout the two days, two panel discussions took place on the theme of the event ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, one focusing on the ‘Industry Perspective’ with Selah Li, ELLURE AB, Harrison Wavell, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Antoni Pijoan, EIT Manufacturing. The second panel discussion focused the ‘Consumer Perspective’ with Giulia Marzetti, EIT Climate-KIC Alumna, Mara De Pater, CollAction and Alessandra Schmidt, Fab Lab Barcelona IAAC.
Both panels touched upon the themes with very valuable insights including:
- Idea of developing mass personalisation instead of mass consumption
- Importance of the distribution of infrastructure (idea of localism – localised production)
- Emphasis on the need of documentation of product production
- Idea of prosumer (a person who both produces and consumes a particular commodity)
- Importance of reusing, reducing and recycling
- The need for Doughnut economics ('economy exceeds within the boundaries of society')
- Advocating for degrowth movement ('a really good believe system for both consumers and producers')
On top of that, a series of parallel workshops ran on the first day of the event with different topics and hosted by a group of industry experts:
- 'Gender Databias in applied AI', led by Women@EIT
- 'Better life for farm animals', led by Matus Gasparik, EIT Food Alumni
- 'Towards sustainable food systems': Awareness and Action, led by Silvia Fernandez Gonzalez from EIT Climate-KIC Alumni, representing DESOS Opció Solidària
- 'Climate impact forecast', led by Bram van der Grinten and Gabi Brunazzo
- 'How to ExPlane your organisation', led by Symke Nieboer, Isabel Seeger and Peter Paul Vossepoel
Networking and virtual party time
The second and last day of the event was more interactive, with an online networking session for the participants. They had the opportunity to connect, talk and overcome the space and virtual barrier. The event ended with a virtual party time where participants enjoyed games, a quiz and other activities. For next year, we hope to see everyone again, in a better and more sustainable world.