Sustainable Study Abroad Grant Recipients 2010-11

Fall 2010

Michael Dickerson
Middlebury School in Latin America, Chile

"Ecoturismo sobre dos ruedas/Ecotourism on Two Wheels" 
It is my aim in this project to create the initial drive that will carry sustainable bike tourism to greater prominence in Chile.  To accomplish this Claudio Lillo and I will be documenting bike trips to various tourist destinations, both established and yet unheard-of, both near and far, and assessing the practicality of eating local in these destinations.  In keeping with overarching theme of sustainability, we will be ever mindful of the impact that our presence will have on the host culture and economy.  With several trips outlined and several contacts made in the bike business, I hope to set up a framework by which others can further this project after I return to the states.  Finally, I hope to publish and promote our trips in order to raise interest in the option of bike tourism in Chile.

Lorena Dariana Espinoza Guerrero
Middlebury School in Latin America, Mexico
"Las voces de la Tierra – The voices of the Earth"
I will be cooperating with IMDEC- Instituto Mexicano de Desarrollo Comunitario (Mexican Institute for Community Development) in an environmental education program with children in an area of Guadalajara, Mexico, called La Huizachera. This area is located right next to the Ahogado river system, which serves as the disposal place for several industries along the canal. Due to the lack of regulations and laws protecting the environment, several toxic elements finish in this river, making its waters untreatable and dangerous when in contact to humans. The project seeks to give the children a rational approach to their social reality, encourage them to reflect on how they see their natural environment, give them tools that will allow them to see the world in a new way, and teach them to use their voices as tools for change. The hope is that the children will be able to understand their realities and will believe they are able to, and can generate change. The program will include activities that will teach them about the water cycle, contamination, and human rights. At the same time the children will participate in the production of a photographic exhibition and the creation of a video presenting the reality of the people that live near the river and how they are affected by it. Through these I hope to use a perspective that has not been use before, that of the children, and I expect it to serve as a tool for the social fight for the right of clean water and for the implementation of proper legislation that will control the production of polluting substances in the area. Furthermore I hope these material will help the children see themselves as tools for change and will represent the importance of teaching the youth about the environment. My believe is that by representing the phenomena affecting the area, the children will become aware of the problem, by explaining the problem, their understanding of it will improve ,and this improvement will lead them to develop ideas that can generate change.

Jue Yang
Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Denmark

"The Intention of Public Art Fair: Reflections on Community
To define, create and sustain a community where humans interact with their best intentions is key to developing a healthy and balanced world. In order to translate this vision into concrete actions that pertains to the Danish society, I will collaborate with the organizers and participants of a Copenhagen citywide public art event. The annual fair, named “Alt_Cph In Space,” has invited 20 artists as well as the local community to reflect on the space in which they are building. By interviewing different parties of this event, I will reflect on the concept of community as a shared space and experience. How much will the event, through the means of art, impact the community? How self-sustaining are these community-building efforts in a long run? Could it be a model for social entrepreneurship in other countries? I will present my answers and remaining questions in the form of an audio slideshow. In the spring, I will organize an open forum on campus that facilitates discussions and actions on this topic.

View the presentations by Lorena Dariana Espinoza Guerrero, Michael Dickerson, and Jue Yang

Spring 2011

Bianca Giaever
International Honors Program, New York, India, Senegal and Argentina
"Public Parks in Urban Cities"
This Spring I will visit four completely different major cities in a short period of time: New York, Delhi, Dakar, and Buenos Aires. Over the course of the semester I will conduct a series of interviews to find out how parks are enhance social well-being. I will consider the human need for elements of nature even within major cities. I will also study what makes a park enjoyable, and how parks reflect cultural ideas of entertainment, pleasure, and relaxation. How is a park used and how does it gain its reputation? I will even ask myself if parks can be considered a legitimate sustainability effort. My interviewees will span over different generations. Perhaps parks hold a different meaning between generations, or maybe they are able to bring these different generations together.

View Bianca Giaever's presentation 

Katie Siegner
Middlebury School in Latin America, Chile
"Sustainability Outreach in the Valparaiso Community"
I believe that the fundamental first step on the ladder towards a green society is education.  With that in mind, I designed a project with two inter-related goals: first, to interview households in the Valparaiso area in order to assess the current state of environmental awareness; and second, to design and implement an education outreach campaign aimed at increasing awareness of how to live a greener lifestyle.  This project will culminate in an interactive, multimedia presentation upon my return.

View Katie Siegner's presentation 

Duna Tatour
University of East Anglia, England
"The role of university students in advocating for sustainable lifestyle"
My interest is to explore the role of university students in advocating for sustainable lifestyle. My project will focus on a group of students studying in the liberal arts program at the University College Maastricht in Holland. For the past year, this group has been residing in a squat building near the university and is determined to adopt, exercise and advocate sustainable living habits. The group is extremely diverse in terms of nationality, personal background, experience and academic interests, but nevertheless, their common interest in creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle brought them together. My intention is to spend a few days with this community of students in order to gain insight into the power and ability of students my age who are living and advocating for a sustainable lifestyle. I will create a short documentary film that will integrate personal interviews and footage of their everyday life. Since University College Maastricht offers one of the only English speaking liberal arts programs in Europe, I believe that this is a rare opportunity to examine the value of liberal arts education and its application to ‘real life’. This project will demonstrate the role of our generation in advocating sustainable development and provide indicators to the strategies that students use at a micro level in creating sustainable communities.