Counting graduate and professional students, Ohio State has almost twice as many students as Monaco has citizens. But Prince Albert II didn’t seem fazed.
Prince Albert II of Monaco visited OSU on Wednesday, where he addressed students on global climate practices and responsibilities. He also spoke on how those practices and responsibilities relate to the university’s efforts toward achieving its sustainability goals and maintaining a more environmentally conscious campus.
Throughout the panel discussion at the Mershon Auditorium, Prince Albert remained forward- looking. He addressed the students and reiterated “the next generation’s responsibility to take action to fix the global catastrophe that climate change brings.”
He put weight on college students’ shoulders.
“This next generation will have the responsibility to carry (environmental) efforts even further, and to come up with the right solutions,” Prince Albert said during a separate media availability where he also praised Ohio Stadium’s zero-waste initiative.
Prince Albert, the only sitting head of state to visit both the North and South poles, also discussed his charitable organization, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The foundation was established in 2006 with the purpose of protecting the environment and encouraging sustainable development.
One group the foundation sponsors is Venturi Automobiles, which sponsors OSU’s Buckeye Bullet, a high-speed electric car project build and designed by students.
When Matthew Griffin — a second-year in environment, economy, sustainability and development — asked Prince Albert how his foundation identifies which programs and projects to support, the prince said the foundation’s team of climate and biodiversity experts had the ability to directly form partnerships to promote concrete action.
“No matter how technological the programs we work with are, we make sure to never forget the human aspect and what the projects bring to local populations and communities,” Prince Albert said.
The prince also highlighted his satisfaction with the foundation’s ability to give young scientists scholarships to study and do climate change and sustainability-oriented research on the ground in developing nations.
During the discussion, University President Michael Drake said he is proud of “the city of Columbus’ tremendous achievement” as winner of the US Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.
“Developing a transportation system for the future brings us one step closer to becoming a more efficient, effective, and safer city and campus — both on a localized level and a large scale,” Drake said.
During his visit, Prince Albert also visited the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and met with OSU faculty to learn about the university’s research and educational programming regarding sustainability matters.
When asked what he was impressed with during his visit, Prince Albert noted the “tremendous collaboration with Monaco’s Venturi Automobiles and [OSU’s] department that makes electric vehicles. It has been a privilege to see what ‘smart cities’ might look like.”
In an expression of cooperation, Prince Albert gifted the university a signed jersey from Monaco’s soccer team, AS Monaco, in exchange for a Buckeyes football jersey.
“Between Monaco and Ohio State University, we share the same collective goals in achieving global sustainability,” Prince Albert said.