Technical University of Denmark: Roskilde Festival is a laboratory for engineering students

Following a three-year covid-induced hiatus since the last edition, a team of DTU students are ready to descend on Roskilde Festival. They will be bringing with them some 15 projects providing them with experience in devising and implementing solutions to specific challenges, while also helping to actively drive forward development of the event.

This year, that includes projects seeking to reduce energy consumption in refrigerated containers, an app to find lost property, and a study examining the need for a menstrual resource centre. Read about all the projects.

For more than a decade, Roskilde Festival and DTU have been working together to bolster engineering students’ study programmes and develop solutions to the many engineering challenges that arise in a temporary city that is home to some 130,000 inhabitants with a population density greater than that of the capital of the Philippines, Manila.

“The collaboration with DTU is based on our shared values: giving a voice to young people, giving them room to develop, and giving them the courage to engage with the world. After this year’s festival, in excess of 900 DTU students will have received a small part of their education thanks to our collaboration, working on engineering-related challenges that arise in a big and temporary city like Roskilde Festival,” says Christina Bilde, part of the Roskilde Festival management team and its spokeswoman. She adds:

‘This has allowed us to create a highly robust learning environment which strengthens young people and their capacity to participate in society and drive forward necessary sustainable development.’

Over the years, several of the student innovations have become permanent fixtures at the festival. There are some that are highly visible, such as the DropBucket bins, the Volt charging service, and the PeeFence flexible urinal. Meanwhile, there are also a significant number of contributions that have helped to improve the festival’s sustainability and infrastructure in areas such as waste management, energy use, food waste, hygiene, and noise pollution from the concerts.

Part of the study programme
This year, the projects offer new initiatives relating to hygiene, energy consumption, acoustics, handling large numbers of people, lighting, etc. These are all projects that have been devised and delivered by DTU students as part of their study programme. A supervisor is assigned to each project, and students typically receive 5 ECTS credits for their work.

“At DTU, we develop technology for people—at Roskilde Festival this entails our students creating new technologies and solutions that make the festival an even better experience for all. At the same time, students gain the opportunity to work on fully authentic challenges and create experimental solutions in response to these that must work under what are sometimes tough conditions. Our goal is to turn out engineers who take on a leading role in delivering sustainable change—in that respect, Roskilde Festival is helping to provide them with some truly valuable experiences,” says Lars D. Christoffersen, Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs.

All DTU students have the chance to submit project ideas or proposals for how to solve specific challenges raised as issues by the festival. As a result, the 70 or so students participating this year hail from a wide variety of study programmes. According to Lars D. Christoffersen, this is a reflection of DTU’s educational culture and experimental approach to learning, and it is a contributory factor in the students often conceiving of brand new and surprising solutions.

“I am very proud that DTU has been helping to make the festival an even better event for over a decade. Roskilde Festival has always been a catalyst for new ideas, aptly demonstrating what happens when young people are given the freedom to express themselves and develop together. This one-to-one value is something we also work with at DTU where our aim is for students to realise their potential and master technological development in order to give back to society and humankind,” says Lars D. Christoffersen.