This past December, a group of interdisciplinary students from The University of New Mexico traveled to Nepal, where they learned to pronounce Siddharthanagar and focused on awareness initiatives as part of the Himalayan Study Abroad Program.
Offered by the Nepal Study Center (NSC) and Department of Economics, the mission of this study abroad program was to build a Citizen Science (CS) Initiative, in particular, to develop and implement the Danda Ecological Monitoring Program (DEMP) developed by a series of students in previous economics courses under the NSC's Sustainable Development Action Lab concept.
Working with the local collaborators—a non-profit NGO, PNMF and its polytechnic college, PNMHI—DEMP was developed to track various environmental parameters and to help spread awareness regarding air pollution, water pollution, weather, river flow dynamics, bio-diversity & waste management around the city of Siddharthanagar.
The UNM group met with the Mayor of Siddharthanagar and expressed interest to help link the Nepal CS program with the similar conservation initiatives in New Mexico.
The students also participated in a Seminar Abroad event jointly with the local students presenting their work.
The group then went on a hill circle tour to observe and experience various sustainable development activities and cultures. They also participated in a community service project that distributed reusable mensuration kits to women in a rural school, grade 10 through 12, and carried out a survey to help identify women's health needs.
DEMP will provide continued community engaged research opportunities for other UNM undergraduate and graduate students in Nepal.
Students from the recent study abroad program will also be participating in an undergraduate panel of the Southwestern Society of Economists (SSE) Annual Meeting to present their research and share their experiences.
The study abroad program was co-led by Professor Alok Bohara and Michael Benjamin Goodwin, a graduate student in the economics department.
For daily diary and the programmatic details, visit the Lumbini Sustainability website.
For more information on the program, contact Strategic Projects Officer Danielle Gilliam with the Global Education Office at 505-277-6051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.