Who is interested in saving the world?
How about creating clean drinking water systems in Nicaragua? Creating business models for Haitians? Would anyone want to hear about building new schools in Cambodia?
The Sustainable Development Solutions class, led by Professor Mark Orrs, aim to put students in situations concerning various sustainability issues. This two credit class is more of a project where teams of cross-disciplinary students have the opportunity to deal with these issues first-handedly. In the past, teams have gone to Kenya in hopes of building a resource center for street boys, explored Southeast Asia while working hand in hand with the NGO Caring For Cambodia, and also to Nicaragua to develop a water filtration system using sand.
Despite the idea that sustainability issues burden the US as much as anywhere else, I believe that the Sustainable Development Department currently have a strong emphasis on global poverty alleviation. Most of the projects we worked on are for developing countries. This is why as a component of the class, the teams usually travel to the region they are working on as well. Here is a list of the current projects for Spring 2014. If you are interested in traveling as well as working on a project that can potentially help a lot of people, this is a great program for you!
My past experience with the department have been nothing but wonderful. As a first year student, my team and I designed business models for Haiti. You see, not only is Haiti the poorest country in the western hemisphere, they also have these very uncontrollable weather patterns where the wet season have too much rain followed by droughts. To counter this, the government decided to create these large water retention systems, where the excess rain from the wet season can be collected for the dry season. From these water retention systems, opportunity arose.
Imagine what you can do with a large body of water! With water, you can start a water bottle business. You can also have schools, because with better sanitation, families are more willing to send their children. You can also create a fishing business; just throw a few fish in the water and maybe in a few years, the fish will breed and you can start selling the fish!
(Also! Check out the blog I was working on last year during the project!)
Unfortunately, since Haiti was on the travel advisory warning list, we were unable to travel to Haiti. However, my experience with sustainable development did not stop there! I was also lucky enough to work with Mark in Summer 2013 in Building C for the Mountaintop Pilot projects. I’ll definitely write about that another time!
Please take a look at the sustainable development website here!