SMU students will learn more about the lives of refugees, disaster victims and the world’s poorest peoples as citizens of the “Living Village” – the centerpiece of the University’s inaugural Engineering & Humanity Week, April 11-14, 2011.
Participants will live, cook their meals and sleep in temporary shelters designed to house those living in extreme poverty or displaced by war and natural disasters. Students, faculty and local members of the community have built the village on the SMU lawn south of Clements Hall, showcasing structures ranging from standard-issue United Nations tents to the experimental EcoDome (sandbag shelter), which uses wire to stabilize walls constructed of long, earth-filled tubes.
The Living Village was dedicated to the late Sargent Shriver, the driving force behind the Peace Corps and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, on Monday, April 11, by his son, Anthony Shriver. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps.
Most of the week’s events are open to the public with tickets. SMU faculty, staff and students receive two free tickets to each panel event with University ID. A complete list of speakers and other information is available at www.EandHweek.org.
Panel discussions, innovative demonstrations, documentary films and cultural performances throughout the week will immerse students and community members in the nuts and bolts issues faced by impoverished and displaced people around the globe. Among the week’s highlights:
- Richard L. Kauffman, chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. and former president and CEO of Good Energies, Inc., a global investment firm focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiencies, is keynote speaker on Tuesday, April 12, for a panel on business opportunities in emerging markets.
- On Wednesday, April 13, the winning team from the inaugural 2011 Student Design Challenge will be presented at a dinner honoring Segway inventor Dean Kamen. The challenge is focused on creating innovative designs utilizing a low-cost shelter called the HabiHut for clean water and telecommunications distribution in Kenya.
- Vincent Cochetel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) representative for the United States and the Caribbean, will participate on a panel about shelters and the global housing crisis for refugees and others on Thursday, April 14.
Other speakers and participants include Jeff Fulgham, chief sustainability officer for GE; Bruce McNamer, CEO of TechnoServe; Peter Thum, founder of Ethos Water; Bob Freling, executive director of the Solar Electric Light Fund; Malcolm Morris, founder of Living Water; John Mullins, distinguished professor at the London Business School; Chip Cottrell, partner at Deloitte; and Sergio Palleroni, architect and distinguished professor at Portland State University.
Written by Kim Cobb
(Above, student builders discuss an experimental house built from bales of recycled plastic with visitors to the Living Village.)