The Student Council of the Monterey Institute of International Studies announced the winner of its first Student Project Contest at the International Bazaar on April 16. The contest was open to all students. Five student groups presented their work and proposals to the Council. The winner, Team Peru, is a group of students from various degree programs who are dedicated to shepherding sustainable development projects in the Sacred Valley of Peru, such as building greenhouses with the support of communities and local secondary schools. The projects are completely student-driven and are based on the idea that sustainable development is done through community collaboration and ownership.
Funding for the award came from an unexpected source. The student council had planned to award the winner of the contest with the proceeds from ticket sales of the annual student talent show, the Follies. However, the council unanimously agreed to change course after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and show support for the people of Japan (and their fellow Japanese students) by contributing the proceeds from the Follies to relief efforts in Japan. Their generosity did not go unnoticed by the Monterey Institute Board of Governors, two of whom made substantial contributions to replenish the award fund. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of our board of governors, we will now be offering a prize of more than $6000 to Team Peru, the contest winner,” said Michael Cutino, president of the MIIS Student Council. “The Institute is lucky to have such caring and dedicated individuals on the board; their contribution to this initiative is one that the student council and Team Peru will never forget.”