A group of four Erasmus University students has transformed Woudestein campus in a treasure hunt ground. Little plants and flowers potted in recycled plastic bottles functioned as clues while fruity popsicles were the prizes. The quartet is competing in the ‘Rotterdam 100’, a business competition organized by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, where students pitch original business solutions to the partner companies.

Popsicles for sustainable behavior

flower bottle
One of the many flowers potted in a plastic bottle

On Thursday morning, sixty unconventional pots of flowers were spread around on EUR grounds by Paul Grandjouan, student of Business Information Management at RSM, and his group mates to trigger passerby’s curiosity. Stopping to give the pot a closer look, one could find a little letter containing a message. The message encouraged the person to take the pot back to the group’s stand in exchange of a prize and some more information. The group of students, randomly put together for the business competition, had set up a small stand next to the pond to give visitors a micro lecture about sustainability and recycling. During the morning hours, thirty people stopped by to bring the pots back.

Encouraging sustainable choices

Flowers in bottle story
From left to right: Paul Grandjouan, Laura Oskam, Roberta Baccanti and Erik Filter

Laura Oskam, a third year Psychology student, is sitting behind the stand: “We are participating in the Rotterdam 100 case competition. We all signed up for the competition, then for this specific project, consequently we were randomly put together as we all indicated this project as our preference.  We are competing against four other teams in this last phase. In two weeks the grand final will take place, then we will present our project. ” The group is working on a project about people’s sustainable behaviors for a company which purveys clean technologies, in particular how to encourage consumers to buy sustainable alternatives.

Paul explains that the idea of today’s initiative is to raise awareness among students. The flowers are just a means to attract the passersby’ attention and at the same time showing that plastic bottles can have a new life. “By doing this action today we are trying to raise awareness for sustainable actions on a local level. People bring back the flowers and then we can tell them about why we positioned them and make them aware of the issue that is sustainability.” Whoever brought the flower and the small message back received a popsicle and had the chance to take one of the small plants home.