ETH Week is a key project of the Critical Thinking Initiative with the goal to foster independent thinking and responsible acting. It promotes interdisciplinary collaboration by building on disciplinary expertise and gives students the opportunity to analyse and reflect important societal problems.
Since the first edition in 2015, ETH Week brings together students from all departments. They work in interdisciplinary teams in an environment that facilitates creativity, curiosity and innovation. Instead of handing them a concrete task, they are asked to define their own challenge and think of forward-looking solutions. The curriculum integrates scientific methods with design thinking. In addition, especially trained tutors accompany the teams and are responsible for aligning the fast-paced process with team dynamics.
In the last week before the autumn semester, the programme brings together 200 students in the custom-made ETH Week Hall, the physical embodiment of the topic. This central space combines formal and informal learning by creating a barrier-free environment where students, professors and experts share ideas and engage in critical discussions outside of the typical hierarchies. During the course of 6 days, the students meet with over 100 experts from industry, research, the public sector and NGO’s.
Each year, ETH Week is organised with a different thematic focus, therefore involving changing content partners who are responsible for framing the topic in such a way that it is accessible while providing a wide range of perspectives. Other key partners from different departments and staff units of ETH Zurich are responsible for training the tutors, designing the process and implementing the complex logistics of the week. In addition, as many of the students return to become tutors or facilitators, ETH Week is truly engaged in strengthening an interdisciplinary network across faculty, students and staff.