University of Tulsa students enrolled in Seminar in Energy Management traveled to Aberdeen, Scotland, in May to see how one of the world’s energy hubs is maintaining its position as a leader in the industry while the North Sea’s oil supply continues to decline. Known as one of Europe’s drivers in the effort to move away from fossil fuel dependency, Aberdeen is finding renewable options for energy production in preparation for a post-oil economy.
The city’s rich history of innovation and firm commitment to realize a net-zero future made it the perfect place for TU students to grasp the dynamics of the global energy market and how governments influence them. “Aberdeen is known as the energy capital of the world,” said Chris Klimek (BSBA ’23). “As students trying to learn how the world of energy works, this city had a lot to teach us.”
The aim of Aberdeen’s strategic infrastructure plan is for the city’s quantity of emissions saved to exceed that of greenhouse gas emitted. Having identified waste, transport, and buildings as significant sources of carbon dioxide emissions in Aberdeen, the city is targeting prioritization of hydrogen use over fossil fuels for energy.
A vital benefit of the experience for Analiese Stump was seeing energy management principles she studied in the classroom on display in Scotland. By touring energy facilities and attending lectures at the University of Aberdeen, students got a first-hand look at the infrastructure fueling the city’s clearly defined energy management initiatives.
“The stuff we learned was applicable to the real world rather than it just being a lot of ‘educational’ material that isn’t always as useful on a day-to-day basis,” said Stump, a junior in TU’s Collins College of Business. “I got to see how a lot of what we were learning was applied in an energy hub. It was the best way to solidify the material.”
Along with touring energy facilities and visiting the local university, students explored Aberdeen’s hilly, coastal landscape featuring 14th-century castles and streets lined with buildings made from locally quarried granite. Taking in the city’s historic architecture and natural beauty helped Klimek understand Aberdeen’s identity and ensured the trip had value beyond the classroom.
“With breathtaking scenery, historic castles, and some of the oldest buildings in Europe it was easy to get lost in the beauty that was Scotland,” he said. “Whenever we weren’t in the classroom, we got to explore what the country had to show us.”
TU’s Center for Global Engagement offers opportunities ranging from end-of-semester class trips to a full semester spent studying abroad for undergraduates interested in traveling to one of 29 different countries. For Stump, the faculty-led spring trip was a perfect way to dive deeper into her academic interests while enjoying time with her peers in an exciting new setting.
“They are a great way to go abroad without the commitment of a whole semester or summer, but you still will be able to be immersed in the culture and learn a ton in a fun and memorable way,” she said. “It truly was an incredible opportunity, and I will be doing it again if possible!”