Fun for the whole family in a scientific way!

Researchers’ Night and the European Corner together with Laurea Library

Laurea arranged an event Researchers’ Night (RN) in Laurea Tikkurila. What was this event on 23.9.2011? It is an event aiming at bringing researchers and research (eg. methodology, results) close to the general public. The EU funded event is based on the EU Commission’ initiative including an aim to help, for example students, learn how to build careers in the field of research.  This year the event was concurrently in 320 different cities across Europe. The European Commission Research and Innovation site states: “its main objective is to reveal scientists and science in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.” Since 2006 RN has been a self standing action within the Marie Curie Actions.

Laurea students and researchers participated in organizing the event, also other scientists from eg. the “Science amusement park” Heureka were present. The programme was not entirely restricted to scientific matters; the Finnish music and arts scene was also included with musical performances and drama. Companies co-operating with Laurea Tikkurila were: Heureka, Berner Oy, Dr. Hauschka, Goldwell, Lavera, Unilever and Sydänliitto. We representing degree students of tourism in Laurea Kerava organized a European Corner and co-operated with Eurooppatiedotus and Finnish Tourist Board (MEK).

So how were we involved? Laurea Library wanted to participate in the event. In addition to the library being open they wanted to work with students, and the idea of organizing the European Corner as project work together with information specialist Kaisa Puttonen from Kerava came up.

The story of the European Corner is the following. The European Union wants to disseminate information to the public in the RN events. In order to get this EU-material, we contacted the Europe Information Centre in Helsinki, which is under the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a way, it was rather cool for us students to be able to go and visit such a place, and to do “business” with them. The crucial questions and ideas in our mind at the Centre were: what materials do we want, how will the stand look like, and what is our overall approach when bringing forward the European corner to the visitors in the event.

We decided to bring forward the fact that we are tourism students, studying in the field of travelling, leisure and business and build the European perspective from that. Kaisa agreed that presenting the point of view of research in the tourism field in the European Corner was a good idea.  After all, it is new for most how to begin doing research in tourism and what points you can search in the field. To show this to the public, we had covers of thesis with a wide range of topics on a board. We also contacted information specialist Kirsi Suni in MEK (the Finnish Tourist Board). She sent us examples of their research papers to be put on display, and their magazine called “Matkailusilmä” (in English the Travel-Eye), which was nice to hand out to those visiting our stand. We also had the MEK website open on the computer in our stand, and we talked about it with people a lot as well.

We had plenty of room for the European corner. There were two boards and three tables, a large, small and tall one. We had almost everything from EU-balloons, miniature EU-rights booklets to Marie Curie-badges and EU-recipe booklets to hand out. The two big boards were designed so that the research would be highly visible. We can say that the European corner was colourful and caught the attention of visitors.

 All in all, the event was very different for us since this time we were the organizers. It always reveals a new side when you can look behind the curtains. Being in the role of the organizer is a great learning process and a wonderful opportunity to find out new things about yourself. Without events like these, the studying process in the field of tourism would be very different. Thanks to the Laurea learning by developing (LbD) system, students can learn to plan from the beginning, and then proceed with the plans to carry out projects in practice. That is an experience you don’t get from books.

A blog post by Roosa Matilainen and Mira Rönnberg, tourism degree students from Laurea Kerava

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