Implementing Sustainable Energy Systems in Developing Communities
Northampton Community College’s project had two objectives:
- To develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate a short-term, service study abroad course that leverages in-country partnerships to reduce cost and increase STEM student engagement.
- To build capacity for study abroad by developing sustainable exchange partnerships in South America and institutionalizing procedures that are best practices in study abroad.
In regards to the first objective, two out of the three measurable outcomes were achieved. 100% of the students who participated in the program indicated that the pre-departure orientation prepared them well (80% projected); 100% of students indicated that their experience was meaningful and valuable to their personal and career goals (80% projected); and finally, after completion of this project, STEM students constituted 18% of students enrolled in credit-bearing study abroad courses in 2015 (13% increase from 5% in 2014, 15% increase projected). Students began the program by learning skills in the classroom at Northampton Community College and then applying them at workshops over the course of four weeks at WindAid facilities in Peru. They had to build wind turbines from scratch, install them and troubleshoot any problems. Students then worked with WindAid personnel to help train community members in the operation and maintenance of the turbines. In regards to second objective, all three outcomes were achieved. 100% of faculty participating in the Peru program felt well-prepared (100% projected). In addition, NCC developed a faculty study abroad handbook for future pre-departure preparation; NCC and its partner HEI, Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, continued collaboration and have deepened institutional cooperation through the development of a new archeological study abroad program (some type of expanded collaboration between NCC & UNT projected); and finally, 100% of the institutions involved in the project confirmed that the program was valuable, and are actively working on maintaining and expanding the program (100% of participants indicate that the program is valuable was projected).