Bachelors’New Academic Year: A focus on sustainability
The 440 students in École polytechnique's Bachelor's program have been made aware of the challenges of the ecological transition from the first days of their 2023-2024 academic year. This major initiative, which involves all three Bachelor classes on campus, is in line with the objectives of Ecole Polytechnique’s Climate Plan published in early 2022.
This Climate Plan, which has placed sustainability at the heart of the School's strategy, includes in particular a plan to anchor the challenges of ecological and societal transitions in its academic project by integrating mandatory courses on this critical issue.
During a "Sustainability Day", 1st year Bachelors (1A/BX26) devoted a morning to a Climate Fresk workshop, while the afternoon was devoted to discovering the interdisciplinary Energy for Climate (E4C) research center and its achievements in improving energy performance on the School’s campus.
A fun and educational workshop, the Climate Fresk takes just three hours to set out the major challenges of global warming. Largely based on the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it consists of placing 42 cards on a table, each representing a dimension of the phenomenon (fossil fuel combustion, melting glaciers, carbon sinks, climate refugees, etc.) and discussing the cause-effect relationships between them.
Created in 2019, E4C is involved in the energy transition, through research, training and innovation. It brings together some thirty research laboratories working on four cross-cutting themes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, deploy renewable energies and propose relevant energy policies. E4C has developed intelligent building demonstrators on the Ecole polytechnique campus.
The 2nd and 3rd year Bachelor students (2A BX25 and 3A BX26) took part in a two-day "IGNITE CHANGE" seminar featuring conferences, workshops and round-table discussions.
The morning of the first day included a session on the orders of magnitude involved in environmental issues, and an inaugural lecture by Aglaé Jezequel and Améline Vallet, respectively a researcher at the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD*) and a researcher at AgroParisTech - Institut des Sciences et Industries du Vivant et de l'Environnement, on the links between biodiversity and climate. In the afternoon, an immersive "2tonnes" workshop enabled participants to project themselves into the year 2050, imagining individual and collective actions to move towards a low-carbon world.
The morning of the second day was devoted to the past and future of automotive use, an industry facing multiple and complex sustainability challenges but also bearing a major responsibility for the current share of CO2 emissions. The second part of the day featured a presentation by E4C and a round-table discussion on career paths in the era of sustainability with members of the X-Urgence Écologique alumni group. The Bachelors themselves were able to conclude their seminar by expressing their questions and learnings from these two days rich in exchanges.
*LMD: a joint research unit of CNRS, École Polytechnique - Institut Polytechnique de Paris, ENS, Sorbonne University.