The week started with a presentation from Simon Kolb, Program Manager of the Swarovski Waterschool, where he explained the function and benefits of a sustainable and socially responsible initiative from an international company. "Water has always been important to Swarovski, the company still produces sustainable energy through its own hydropower plants in Wattens. This is one of the key reasons why we started the Swarovski Waterschool 22 years ago and to help raise awareness among young people to use their water resources sustainably and to preserve it for future generations," Kolb said.
The following day, about 48 students had the opportunity to visit the most popular tourist attraction in Austria after Schönbrunn Palace - the Swarovski Crystal Worlds - to gain a first-hand experience of the company.
Highlight Swarovski Manufaktur
The highlight for the students was on day three when they were given an exclusive insight into Manufaktur, Swarovski's new creative workshop. Swarovski Manufaktur is usually only accessible to a limited group of visitors, such as internationally renowned designers. During the visit, the students had the opportunity to talk to Swarovski employees from different departments like Trade Marketing or Sustainability, but also to employees from the Swarovski Foundation and Swarovski Waterschool. Many questions regarding sustainability, design and marketing were discussed. "For our students, this visit offered a unique insight into the international world of a leading global brand," says Alexander Plaikner, who teaches the UNO International Management course. For him, the exchange with the Swarovski Waterschool represents a sustainable cooperation from which the students can benefit greatly. "A teaching partnership or the practical transfer in university teaching is always measured by the added value that such an exchange offers to the companies and, above all, to the students. In our specific case, we succeeded in creating added value for both sides," says Plaikner.
To conclude, Simon Kolb presented "The Swarovski Waterschool - Function and benefits of a corporate philanthropy project within an international company". Based on the presentation content the students are now writing their project papers, which will be discussed with the Swarovski Waterschool team after completion.
International knowledge transfer
As part of the teaching exchange between the University of Innsbruck and the University of New Orleans (UNO), two researchers from the two universities will deepen their cooperation in teaching and research in a reciprocal exchange in the fall. Mark Kulp from UNO will come to Innsbruck and Alexander Plaikner will visit New Orleans. "As part of this exchange, we will organize a research conference between the Swarovski Waterschool team in Wattens and the Center Austria in New Orleans. The focus will be on the Swarovski Waterschool program in the Mississippi River region as well as local topics on development and sustainability," explains Alexander Plaikner, who teaches and researches at the Tourism and Recreation Research Center at the University of Innsbruck and at UMIT Tyrol.