SMU hosts series of sustainability events throughout April 2013

Poster art for YERT: Your Environmental Road TripFree campus screenings of two popular environmental documentaries April 4-5 and the return of SMU’s Engineering and Humanity Week April 6-12 are highlights of a month of sustainability-themed events that will underscore the celebration of Earth Day 2013 on Monday, April 22.

Living With the Trinity, showing at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum, focuses on the political history surrounding management of the Trinity River. The screening will feature an introduction by writer, producer and director Rob Tranchin.

YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip shows at 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. The film takes a humorous cross-country look at environmental issues through the eyes of three friends travelling together. Both screenings are sponsored by SMU’s Sustainability Committee and Friends of the SMU Libraries.

The “Barefoot on the Boulevard” sustainability and music festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 6 on the Bishop Boulevard lawn. Also free and open to the public, “Barefoot” will feature a short talk and concert at 4:30 p.m. by former Sudanese child soldier and hip-hop humanitarian Emmanuel Jal, whose appearance is being made possible by the organizers of Engineering & Humanity Week.

> TIME Magazine: 10 Questions: Emmanuel Jal

Sponsored by Students For a Better Society and the SMU Sustainability Committee, “Barefoot on the Boulevard” will include economically priced food, booths featuring environmental organizations and vendors, and student music acts including the Southern Gentlemen, JSpear, Sean Hadeler, Adam the Bard, Chris Escarfullery, Sudie and Dan Howard.

David de Rothschild
Adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild brings the Plastiki, an experimental sailing vessel made of reclaimed bottles, to Dallas for SMU’s 2013 Engineering and Humanity Week.

Engineering & Humanity Week will bring global solution seekers to Dallas and SMU around the theme of “Water: Ripple Effects.” Among the highlights is a visit from the Plastiki – a unique sailing vessel made of reclaimed plastic drink bottles. Engineering & Humanity Week honors its captain, David de Rothschild, with the 2013 Visionary Award at a dinner and reception in Fair Park’s Centennial Hall on Saturday, April 6.

Emmanuel Jal will also be honored at the dinner with the E&H Week Humanitarian Award and will perform his international hit, “We Want Peace,” accompanied by student musicians from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. The 6 p.m. dinner is open to the public, and tickets may be purchased at

> National Geographic Explorers: David de Rothschild, Environmental Storyteller

Most of the program is scheduled for the SMU campus and is free and open to the public – such as the outdoor, interactive water distribution camp that mimics sites in refugee camps. “The Water Tap” (pictured below) on April 9-10 will allow both the SMU community and visitors to learn about and try solutions for problems of water scarcity and sanitation in the developing world. E&H Week is sponsored by Hunter and Stephanie Hunt, SMU’s Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity and the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Center.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Learn more from SMU News

Living Village is showpiece of 2012 Engineering and Humanity Week

Living Village at SMUThe Living Village is back for its second year at SMU, serving as an interactive display and teaching tool for 2012 Engineering & Humanity Week. Through Friday, April 20, students will live, cook and sleep in temporary shelters designed for international refugees and rapidly expanding urban populations.

Students, faculty and members of the North Texas community began building the village on the lawn just west of the Engineering Quad on Wednesday, April 11, preparing to showcase a variety of shelter technologies with applications for people displaced by war and natural disasters, as well as impoverished urban dwellers in the developing world. The village’s temporary residents – student volunteers from disciplines all over campus – will be without electricity and running water in the shelters, as is frequently the case for refugee populations.

Many of this year’s shelters are designed for longer-term habitation than last year’s, and two are student projects. Harvey Lacey is back with his popular recycled plastic Ubuntu Blox House, fresh from exhaustive earthquake testing that proved his house to be a potential fit for quake-prone places like Haiti. And bcWORKSHOP’s Brent Brown has brought his Rapido Prototype, the largest structure in the village, developed as part of the state of Texas’ Natural Disaster Housing Reconstruction Plan. During Engineering & Humanity Week, bcWORKSHOP designers will seek feedback from SMU students and visitors to help them improve the project’s design, construction process, deployment method and performance.

Read more about the innovative structures that will make up the Living Village. The public is welcome to tour the village and speak with student participants, who also will be blogging their experiences.

The Living Village also will host a special event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, designed to spotlight approaches to preserve culture among populations that are housed long-term in refugee camps.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Learn more about the Living Village and the week’s events from SMU News
> Follow the Living Village students at their SMU Adventures blog
> Visit the Engineering & Humanity Week website

Segway inventor to be honored during Engineering & Humanity Week 2011

Dean KamenSMU’s Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity will present its inaugural Visionary Award to Dean Kamen, the humanitarian inventor behind the Segway human transporter and other technological breakthroughs, including devices helping those in the developing world.

Kamen will be honored at a dinner on Wednesday, April 13, during the University’s 2011 Engineering & Humanity Week – a series of events focused on free-market solutions for those living in extreme poverty. Speakers, panels, films and exhibits from around the globe as well as experiential learning opportunities will take place on campus under the theme, “Redefining What’s Possible.”

“We are honoring Dean Kamen for his success, his vision and his support in training a new generation of engineers who are committed to meeting the challenges of the developing world,” said Hunter L. Hunt, who with his wife, Stephanie, founded the Hunt Institute to help find solutions to the most pressing problems of the impoverished.

Currently, Kamen is working to perfect a nonpolluting, low-power water-purifying system, as well as solar-powered devices designed for use in underdeveloped countries. The inventor holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, many for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide.

> Read more from SMU News
> Visit the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity online

Students live like refugees during SMU’s 2011 Engineering & Humanity Week

living-village-4-11-2011-800.jpgSMU 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.

> Get a bird’s-eye view of the Living Village at the Engineering & Humanity website

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

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.)

> Read more about the week’s events from SMU News