finland young ambassadors’ program

W8 UPDATE / 18 May 2013

WORKSHOP8’s Ulla Lange is not only a talented and dedicated interior and architectural designer, she is also dedicated to sustainability and passing that knowledge onto the next generation.

 by V Brandy LeMae, managing partner

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Ulla is running the Finland Young Ambassadors’ Program for a second year in a row. This five week summer program was started and sponsored by Boulder’s very own Bruce Oreck—the US Ambassador to Finland. Bruce is a longtime Boulder resident and an advocate for the “green approach” in both his personal projects on local and state level, and now globally. It was Bruce’s strong commitment to the environment and sustainable development, as well as his deep ties to Finland that sparked the idea of a full scholarship program to educate Finnish youth about environmental matters in the U.S., and to give them a chance to experience American life as a member of a local family.

Ulla’s knowledge of sustainability in building practices, personal connection with Ambassador Oreck and his wife Cody, as well as the fact that she grew up in Finland made her a natural candidate to organize the Young Ambasadors’ Program in 2012, the second year it was running. She is building on last year’s successful experience and taking this year’s 12 students again on the informative and fun visits during their five week stay in Colorado.

The five week program takes place in Colorado, where the students visit government offices, institutions and businesses that have demonstrated innovation in energy technology and a commitment to conduct their business in an environmentally conscious manner. Twice weekly activities include learning about the work at NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), seeing the every day environmentally friendly operations at the Denver Zoo, and visiting RASEI (Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute) at the University of Colorado. The students will also visit Boulder’s Eco-Cycle  recycling facility, see building salvage materials at the ReSource Yard, visit the Green Guru facility in Boulder, and experience a day working at an organic farm.

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Ulla is no stranger to environmentally conscious policies and specifically green building and development. As a founding partner and interior designer at WORKSHOP8, her approach to all projects is a creative one, stemming from her fine arts background in textile design, yet based on technical knowledge gained when acquiring her Master in Architecture degree from University of Colorado Denver and years of experience in the field of architecture and design.

The students’ travel and host family arrangements are taken care of by YFU (Youth for Understanding), one of the largest international exchange programs. All of the host families are volunteers, many of them participating for the second or third time. It is a rewarding experience for both students and families alike, and forges wonderful international friendships, as everyone who as been involved in it would testify.

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