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LBTU – education for healthy and sustainable living

Image author: No LLU arhīva

The Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LBTU) is one of the largest universities in Latvia, offering international students study programmes in biosciences, engineering and social sciences. Many know that higher education in Jelgava is acquired by farmers, veterinarians and foresters. This is the truth and the university is truly proud of these historical programmes because they are unique in Latvia and makes real impact of sustainability. But it's only part of the truth - LBTU knowledge can be gained beyond just the natural resources to be grown. Why is studies in LBTU a benefit for both would-be farmers and any student who cares about a healthy and sustainable life?

Less work for medics and pharmacists

The protagonist of the LBTU story is neither soil or forest, nor tractor, chicken or human, but “one health” - environmental, animal and human. The global crisis caused by COVID19 is a very painful lesson in which we experience the fragility of one health. The formula for one health is simple and consists of only three variables - a safe and healthy environment, healthy animals and healthy people. When you change the places you add up, the amount does not change, but if you reduce the value of someone you add up, the consequences can be unpredictable.

Global popularity is usually gained by scientists who invent some new vaccine or drug that has helped save millions of people's lives. But these are all struggles with the consequences. LBTU chose to go in a very different direction and is looking for preventive solutions and knowledge instead of searching how to save already threatened and vulnerable human life. With LBTU provided knowledge the only risk of losing life is natural ageing processes, not unhealthy food, unsafe structures or a contaminated environment. So the choice in favour of studying LBTU is the choice of environmental, animal and human health as a single set and crisis prevention before it starts.

Biosciences - health lies in detail

The road to a whole society and healthy food in your diet is quite a long way off. Its starting point isn't when we wash our hands or properly process the products we buy at the supermarket. The health start line is in the soil when a farmer plans to process his field or a forester makes seed selections. The starting line is also in the herd as new offspring are planned there and good living conditions are provided for all.

LBTU students can acquire knowledge of healthy starts in an agricultural program specializing in agronomy, gardening and pedigree, and a forest science program. Specialists in veterinary medicine and food quality, who are concerned with animal health and the safe processing of agricultural inputs into products, also play a particular role in public health. The classes for students are led by researchers who know not only traditional farming techniques, but experiment with new plant and animal species and varieties.

Interestingly, these study programmes meet both students who associate their future goals immediately with their professional careers in the industry, because they know they will always have jobs, and those who are initially only aware of their liking for nature, animals or natural sciences. In  studies and post-university careers succeed both.

Engineering – sustainable solutions for the environment and human beings

The biggest choice in LBTU is in engineering programs where information technology, programming,  landscaping, biosystems machinery, geoinformatics engineers get their education. Although each has specific specialties, they are united by some common unique characteristic, a responsible attitude to the use of natural resources that combines “green” thinking and economic benefit. The LBTU-educated engineer is able to create technologies and products that make a profit for the company and bring no loss to nature. What's more, promotes its quality and protects it. This is evidenced vividly by the agriculture robot created at the university, IT systems for tracking animal and insect behaviour, built pneumobiles, established phytomediation parks and many other projects, some of which are used in other countries around the world.

If you want to create new foods, durable building materials and structures, secure IT, wood or various other material mechanism solutions, provide people with a variety of amenities, and plan the development of areas and landscapes, LBTU is the right choice.

Studying engineering requires knowledge in mathematics, physics and chemistry. But if, in high school or tech, they weren't favorite items, or other lessons seemed more important at that point, LBTU calls for programs in that direction not to be removed from students lists of plans for the future. Why? For those who opt for engineering studies, the university offers special support, free extra classes and counseling in learning these complex subjects. With university faculty, no formula of maths or physics will be too difficult.

Social sciences – for the development of a mature society

Strong social and humanitarian knowledge is a sign of mature and mentally healthy societies that have an understanding of people's principles of opinion formation, their motivating factors and the conditions that trigger action. In the development of a healthy and safe product, service or process created by any engineer or bioscientist, socioeconomic knowledge is essential for acceptance by the public and for the public to want to use it rather than invalidate it.

Such knowledge is offered by LBTU in economic, management and sociology programmes, which in Jelgava are unique and closely related to the biosciences and engineering directions represented at the university.

In addition, social sciences researchers from Jelgava specialize specifically in bioeconomy, evaluating climate-friendly solutions, and investigating various communities of society, including regions and counties. These studies build knowledge of the economic and social factors affecting environmental health that students also gain in their studies.

Healthy lifestyle already during studies

LBTU is located in Jelgava, which carries the name of the student capital of Latvia and is a safe and green city. At its very centre is the nature reserve, home to wild horses, established active recreation areas, cycle paths and parks suitable for peaceful walks. Security is being taken care of by the municipal operating centre, which has video “eyes” across the city.

In addition, the university is one of the few Latvian universities where sports classes are still offered for all full-time students. But these are not the kind of sports classes that general education schools offer. Every student has a choice of what sport to train in. A total of more than 15 sports classes are on offer, from athletics to swimming and hockey.

It is also impossible to avoid physical activity during the intermittent periods of lectures. All the university buildings in Jelgava are a maximum twenty-minute walk away and are easily reachable by expending only their own energy reserves rather than the contents of their purse. This is also an investment in health – a good student is a healthy and physically active student.

But mental health, which is no less important than physical, is helped to sustain a variety of social activities and creative expressions. LBTU boasts two choirs, three dance groups, the oldest students’ theatre in Latvia, and active student self-governments in each faculty, in which the acquired experience is always mentioned by graduates as an integral part of study time.

Choose health and safety - choose LBTU!


Submitted on: 25/09/2023