GCU students team up with others from around the world in circular economy debate

Thu, 18 Mar 2021 16:19:00 GMT
Jenny presented on behalf of her programme at the event organised by LAB
Jenny presented on behalf of her programme at the event organised by LAB

GCU’s MSc International Tourism and Events Management programme has found itself at the heart of a week-long event, bringing students together from around the world. 

Students from GCU teamed up with otherfrom a variety of Universities in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Russia and India between 15-19 February. 

Jenny Grousouzakou, who had the responsibility of presenting on behalf of the GCU cohort, explained more about the idea behind the event. 

She said: “The focus was on circular economy and we were there to discuss how it could be implemented in the tourism and events sector. 

Circular economy is a concept based on the idea that resources are not infinite. As humans we make stuff, we buy and then we dispose. What this model suggests is that we don’t dispose of things. We instead make things that can be repaired and re-used so that we can eliminate waste around the world. 

There were about 60 students involved studying different specialities, which ranged from things like environmental management and engineering through to furniture design. This provided a lot of different perspectives on how circular economy and resource efficiency can be implemented in these different sectors.” 

Jenny also spoke about having the opportunity to present and the benefits of getting the opportunity to engage with students from around the world. 

She explained: “I knew some things about sustainability and how it applied to tourism and events but circular economy was something I hadn’t really heard of. When I was asked to get involved I did a lot of research because I found it so interesting. I then put together a report and offered to present because I thought it would be a cool opportunity to speak with an international audience. 

I felt quite confident because I knew I had a good understanding and just wanted the opportunity to pass that on to others. The presentation focused on my work but also the research of other students on the programme at GCU – so it was a team effort. 

We got some great comments and really positive feedback, which made me feel very proud.” 

Jenny added: “We’ve been in lectures for quite a long time focusing on one area, so it was nice to see what other industries are doing. Being able to interact with an international audience was fantastic- especially the opportunity to work in groups 

As well as the presentation, we also had an assignment to complete as part of the week and this gave me the chance to team up with people from Germany, Russia and Belgium. It was just very interesting and really nice to get a change of scenery – I enjoyed it a lot. 

The opportunity to network was something that greatly appealed to Jenny, who will be entering the world of work in the near future. She’s also keen to encourage other students to take up similar opportunities in future. 

Jenny explained: “As soon as I heard about the whole thing, I knew I wanted to get involved. 

Daniel Baxter, our professor who encouraged us to participate in this, said that circular economy was something employers were actively discussing and that it would be a great opportunity for us.  

Our industry is very international and any chance to develop communication skills and the chance to network is something that others should get involved with. 

Getting to meet people and then follow them on sites like LinkedIn is really important. It’s a key way to expand your list of contacts, which is very useful in our industry. 

Programme lead for MSc International Tourism and Events Management Daniel Baxter, explained more about the ‘Winter School’ and why it’s so beneficial to students. 

He said: “Over the last five years, I have been invited to be part of the teaching team at both LAB winter and summer school. It has developed relationships between the schools at GCU and enabled students to meet, creating a wider GCU student network.   

We want to ensure that students studying an international programme can experience internationalisation from another perspective. There’s a need for a lot of conversation around the tourism and events sector to be engaging with more sustainable practices. This introduces our students and the future leaders of the industry to concepts, such as resource efficiency and the circular economy, to apply when they graduate and lead organisations in the future.”  

Daniel added: “The students all impressed the ‘Winter School team this year. The experience was online for 2021 instead of in-person, however their professionalism was incredible, with many interesting ideas presented. They represented their sector very well and also the University.  

Overall, it was a great week to be a part of and we are looking forward to it again next year. 


By Ross Clark  
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