Instituto Federal de Educaçao, Ciência e Tecnologia do Sudeste Minas Gerais , Brazil
Partners: Iracambi Rainforest Research Center, Brazil
Ball State University, Indiana
Hampton University, Virginia
Sustainability in Progress: The Case of One Hundred Strong in the Americas in Minas Gerais, Brazil
In partnership with the Iracambi Rainforest Research Center in Brazil and their U.S. partners, Ball State University and Hampton University, IFSEMG successfully implemented its project, during which both U.S. and Brazilian students learned about the concepts of sustainability, followed by two-weeks at Iracambi that reinforced the classroom experience through practical activities in both the field and in the lab. A total of twenty-four (24) U.S. students from Ball State [40 proposed] and Hampton and twenty-six (26) students from IFSEMG [40 proposed] participated in the one-month program. The first week entailed instruction in the Portuguese language and classes and courses on sustainable environmental management, agro-ecology, and biodiversity conservation at Iracambi for U.S. students. Then, students from IFSEMG joined the U.S. students for second week, during which both groups went on field trips to learn more about specific subjects such as ornithology and ecotourism, as well as certain technical skills like how to monitor flora and fauna, and how to harvest the fruit of the açai jussara palm. For the third week, both the U.S. and Brazilian student groups traveled to the IFSEMG campus at Rio Pomba, where they studied environmental management, forest conservation, rural environment, and hydric resource management. For the final week, students returned to their respective home institutions to reflect on their learning experiences, evaluate the program, and present a research project developed with their international study partners. IFSEMG is currently working on making the program sustainable. In fact, in 2016, they plan to offer an intensive summer Portuguese language class for students from their partner universities, during which they can earn credits. All in all, IFSEMG cites the grant project as the first step toward a long-term relationship with the U.S. institutions.