Youthful reflections on the CIVITAS Winter Course

Youth ELEVATE

Winter Course Group picture

Image by Teije Gorris

The CIVITAS Winter Course took place from 29 November - 2 December 2021, in Klaipeda, Lithuania. More than 20 participants took part, several of whom belong to the CIVITAS youth programme, Fresh Brains. One of those youth participants, Memo Buijs, reflects on his experience at the course below:

Wow, what an experience! At the end of November, I was able to attend the CIVITAS 2021 Winter Course in the beautiful Lithuanian city of Klaipeda. A bit less known than Vilnius or Kaunas, the city is nevertheless not without its charm, nor without its own set of mobility challenges.

We worked on challenges regarding mobility to and within the Klaipeda Free Economic Zone, an industrial terrain some kilometres across, as well as along the H. Manto Street corridor, a central axis of mobility through the city.

To work on these challenges, we were paired in groups. On the one hand we had students like myself, so-called Fresh Brains, and on the other, we had more experienced professionals, whom we named the "experienced brains". For me, this was the highlight of the course. I got to work together with my fellow students Mahmoud, Verena, and Monika, from Egypt, Germany, and Lithuania respectively, and I enjoyed myself immensely! Relative to the annual CIVITAS conference, it was great to work together closely over several days with others, and get to know their diverse backgrounds and characters.

In addition to these challenges we, the Fresh Brains, also organised a bus stop-guerrilla activity, where we attacked a busy bus stop with Christmas lights, balloons, hot chocolate and positivity. We managed to bring a smile to hundreds of commuters in the span of an hour and to brighten their commute, whilst celebrating a more sustainable mode of travel. We also asked Klaipėdians what their dreams of Manto Street were, and took their descriptions of a greener, less polluted, and more vibrant place with us when we worked on our solutions.

Once again, thanks to the organisers of this event, local stakeholders for taking the time to talk to us, and my fellow participants for a phenomenal time! Until next year!

Memo Buijs

A note about the author: Memo is a highly motivated student with a strong commitment to his environment. He has attended several CIVITAS conferences, flown to Cape Town to participate in the CoCreate SANL project, and is working as a mobility consultant, all whilst he is finishing his bachelor's degree. After getting his degree he is aiming to attain a masters degree internationally, before committing himself to making the world a better place.

Author: Memo Buijs

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