Milestone after eight years on the road
Trip numbers 999 and 1000 are on the agenda for Monday 25 November for the RUG Discovery truck, which is emblazoned with the slogan “your energy of the future”. That morning, the truck will make its 999th trip to the Aletta Jacobs College in Hoogezand and in the afternoon, it will arrive on the Zernike Campus in Groningen: 1000!
The aims of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Groningen in launching the truck were crystal clear: to encourage more students onto scientific/technical degree courses, to draw attention to technology and science in society and to familiarise schools with the Faculty’s activities. According to “science nomad” Theo Jurriens, these objectives have been well and truly met. The truck visits 120 schools per year and the Faculty has seen its student intake more than double since 2005.
Home and abroad
Sixty percent of the schools visited are in the north of the Netherlands. The truck is also a welcome guest at technology festivals. It has visited the technology days run by the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) in Gelderland for several years running, and it has also lent its services to science festivals in Grenoble, Gothenburg and Flanders. The truck enjoys good relations with its neighbours to the east, making ten visits a year to schools in Germany.
Students boarding the Discovery Truck are treated to a mix of theory and practice as well as advice on their choice of degree programme. The lessons are given by a team from the University of Groningen, headed by Jurriens. Students have a vital role in the team, he says. “They make it fun, developing new ideas for lessons and discovering whether they are suited to teaching.”
The Groningen gas trading company GasTerra has been a partner in this project for the last two years. GasTerra and the University of Groningen want to encourage young people to think about energy consumption and possible energy applications. Both these aspects require good technical and scientific specialists, and so there will always be a need for clever young people to help solve the problems facing our planet. The University and GasTerra agree that the truck is a real incentive. Both parties intend to prolong their collaboration and keep the truck on the road at least until 1 September 2015.
You can download a booklet about the history of the first 1000 trips on www.jouwenergievanmorgen.nl Photos are shown on the website.