Works on the USI House of Sustainability kick-off in Airolo


Institutional Communication Service

5 December 2022

Construction work begins this week to convert the former post office building in Airolo into the House of Sustainability: a place that will offer USI students, as part of their study programmes, an innovative educational firsthand experience on the great challenges of our time related to sustainability. At the same time, the 2022 MEPIN's "Alpine Seminar" has been held to fine-tune the educational format that will be offered to students.

A year passed since, on Friday, 17 December 2021, the Council of Università della Svizzera italiana voted unanimously to begin work on the USI House of Sustainability in Airolo. A few days later, on Monday, 20 December 2021, the Airolo City Council had also confirmed its commitment to the project by unanimously approving the credit required to purchase and renovate the building. Another important step subsequently came from the canton, which, at the end of October 2022, granted by government resolution to the municipality of Airolo a subsidy of CHF 1 million to implement the project.

Today construction begins, a tangible sign of the institutional determination of USI and the political forces in the area.

Meanwhile, thanks to the 2022 "Alpine Seminar," the training model is fine-tuned.
A few weeks ago, the "Alpine Seminar for the Study of Sustainable Development" aimed at first-year students enrolled in the Master's Programme in International Economics and Policy (MEPIN) took place, with 15 students travelling to Airolo for a two-day event between theory, field visits and hikes. The aim was to give students firsthand experience of some of the key concepts of sustainable development in the unique environment of the Gotthard region. The course took place in the Upper Leventina region and was taught by Dr Giovanni Pellegri, head of the House of Sustainability and L'ideatorio at USI. What MEPIN has been proposing for the past three years is an important test of the "extra muros" educational model that the Ticino's university will offer in the House of Sustainability.

USI is also working on establishing a Scientific and Education Commission that will accompany the development of the courses and activities proposed within the antenna in Airolo and is also working on developing synergies internally and locally.