Participants taking group photo on the Gather.Town virtual platform.  Photo by: STE section, Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing
Participants taking group photo on the Gather.Town virtual platform. Photo by: STE section, Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing

Sustainability, legacy and innovation of Major Multi-Sports Events 2030

Like many sport events, multi-sport events face challenges in a world that is constantly and rapidly changing. Today, as an important driver of sustainable development, sport is beginning to be recognized as a growing contributor to life-cycle environmental impacts. At the same time, sport has the potential to support the achievement of sustainable development and peace in terms of promoting tolerance and respect, while its contribution to the empowerment of women and youth, individuals and communities, and to health, education and social inclusion goals shall not be underestimated.

In the second half of 2020, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences (HSLU), together with Think Sports and other stakeholders from Lausanne (FISU; UNIL), launched the Haskins Innovation Challenge to answer a central question related to Major Multi-Sports Events. Namely, to what extent can such events yield positive, sustainable and durable outcomes for the host country’s population, workforce, economy and environment in order to consecutively design their own event for the year 2035. The question of how can a long-term strategy for such mega-events best be planned and defined were the corresponding topics processed within a one-semester course module in 2021. The course is offered to students of the Bachelor majored in "Sport Management". The overall task of the course is to choose a destination city/region/country and prepare a concept for a sustainable Major Multi-Sports Event, which will take place in the 2025-2035 timeframe. In the initial concept, students should deal with the operationalization of the requirement of a sustainable implementation of Major Multi-Sports Events. The identification of innovation potential of operationalization by looking into other sectors as well as well as innovative monitoring systems of related activities and initiatives have been also taken into consideration for the course module. Based on the findings from these tasks, students should conclude by deriving innovative ideas for a positive legacy of a future Major Multi-Sports Event in their chosen destination.

Participants meeting in the virtual conference hall on the Gather.Town platform. Photo by: STE section, Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing

In the context of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, the HSLU, with the help of the Science, Technology, Education, Innovation and Health section of the Embassy, successfully approached and established contact with Chinese partners in order to explore the topic of sustainability in Major Multi-Sports Events. 32 students from two Chinese universities, the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) and the Beijing Sport University (BSU), joined the project. The academic challenge officially began at the start of the autumn semester 2021, and a series of courses and competitions were held in the second half of 2021, including the Innovation Day held in Lausanne in October 2021 and the preliminaries at each university.

Participants interacting online during the final challenge. Photo by: STE section, Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing

The final event, initially envisaged as a physical exchange at the House of Switzerland in Beijing, had to be downscaled to a virtual format due to the pandemic situation. Despite the difficulties, thanks to the strong willingness to cooperate of both Swiss and Chinese sides as well as the established trust of the academic stakeholders involved, the final challenge, hosted by CUFE, took place on 22 December 2021 on the Gather.Town virtual platform. Around 40 people, including representatives of the Embassy of Switzerland in Bejing, took part in the virtual gathering. Four teams, representing their respective institutions, presented their findings on Sustainability, Innovation and Legacy of Major Multi-Sport Events 2030. This final challenge marked the closing of the half-year collaboration. It also allowed the participants to have a first glimpse into a simplified form of the Metaverse. All participants were pleased with this successful final event.

After the closing event, the universities expressed their intention for deepen collaboration in the future. HSLU is currently engaged in talks with CUFE as well as BSU on a Memorandum of Understanding.