Tag Archives: Pavlis Honors College

Third Times’ A Charm

On Monday afternoon while waiting for the car to bring us back to KVCET for lunch from the school, we had the chance to meet the students! Third times’ a charm as they say and three weeks of us coming to the school on a regular basis must have been enough time for the students to get comfortable enough to show us their school. We were sitting on the steps outside the main office when a group of students approached us and began asking us questions: our names, where we are from, what our friends’ names are, etc. One student asked us to visit their classrooms. Once they grabbed on to our hands, everything happened very quickly.

Initially we tried the “buddy system” when going into the classrooms but the students had full control. We all ended up in different classrooms but the excitement when one of us entered a room was the same. All the students were waving, smiling and wanting to shake our hands. They all shouted questions at the same time which made it hard to converse but didn’t take away from the fun. Some students asked us to dance, others wanted to see American money and all of them wanted to be in a selfie. Being surrouned by their excitement and energy gave all of us a new perspective on why we’re doing the projects we’re doing. Getting to meet the students also made going to the school each day to work on the projects even more enjoyable.

During week three we were able to make lots of headway with the solar and water filtration projects. For the water filtration system, our initial plan was to clean the barrels and replace the biochar. After emptying the gravel barrel and attempting to clean it, we made the executive decision to replace the system. There was also lots of sun damage and cracks in the pipes and since we are putting a roof over the system, we felt its longevity would be lengthened by replacing the components. We spent the remaining week purchasing supplies,  measuring the barrels and cutting the holes for the pipes to complete a dry fit of the system.

For the solar project, the school is currently having two buildings added so the construction workers offered to cement the stand for the panels to the roof for us. We were also able to get the stand painted and prepped for the cementing to be completed. Miscellaneous shopping trips were completed as needs of parts and tools arose.

We also were able to discuss plans of the garden project with the headmaster. We designed a vertical garden to be put on the side of the building below the water filtration system so that the runoff can be used to water the garden. The headmaster was very pleased with the plans and is excited to see the final product in place. He showed the plans to one of the engineers working on the construction of the new buildings at the school who was also very excited about the fact that a garden could be put in at the school. The engineer volunteered to take the garden up as a personal project, using our plans, and has offered to carry out the construction of the garden.

With the progress we made during week three, we were able to come up with a timeline for our remaining time in India. We are confident with where our projects currently stand and we are excited to see what our final two weeks bring!


What We Do

We are part of the Pavlis Honors College which is not your typical honors college as there is no GPA requirement to join. Instead, students are free to choose between pathways: global leadership, Peace Corps prep, enhanced enterprise experience, research scholars, new venture or a custom pathway. We are part of the global leadership pathway and our five week adventure in India is allowing us to fulfill our immersion experience.

DSC01252

We will be staying and working with the Karpaga Vinayaga College of Engineering and Technology (KVCET) located just outside of Chennai (Madras) in the state of Tamil Nadu. Our five weeks there will be spent working on the following projects:

SOLAR: We as a team are going to attempt to fund solar projects in the local village. There are two main projects, the first is to put solar streetlamps allowing for the village streets to be self sustained and allow for individuals to be productive even at the later times of the day. The second is to power the school using solar panels. The solar panels will supply the school with a more reliable source of electricity than the current Indian electrical grid which often goes out at inopportune times. The solar array will supply the school with cooling fans, lights, and even take home batteries to supply the families of these school kids with electricity in their own home.

GARDEN: The school currently has a composter system in place but they don’t have a garden to use it with. With notes from the students who traveled to Kunnankulathur, we have a location and dimensions to plan the garden with. While in country, we will work the group who will be in charge of maintaining the garden while prepping the area, building the foundation and placing the fencing. We are also doing research on what plants would be suitable for their environment and communicating with a professor from the school to learn about what the community would like to have.

WATER FILTER: There is currently a three tiered filter system in place where the final tier goes through a biochar filter. The biochar is in need of replacement so during our time in India, we will focus on making the biochar with the individuals who maintain the water filter system. We are also exploring ways to make the current system lighter as it is currently located on one of the roofs of the school buildings. The weight of the system is beginning to show signs of wear and tear so we’re hoping to transform the system into a two-tier system or find a new location to implement the system.

WATER PIPES: The current state of the school’s water pipes is in disarray. The current pipe system in the school is falling, leaking and cumbersome. Our goal is to repair their system. Currently the system leaks, gives out poor water pressure, and has the potential to cave in one of the roofs.

EDUCATION: We will be planning lessons for the middle school students at Kunnankulathur. While in India, we will be performing two science lessons: one based off of the composter and garden system that will be finalized while we are there and the other being of one around water filtration. We are also planning an American culture lesson that includes lots of pictures.

We are all very excited for what these five weeks have in store for us. Until we arrive in country, we are working hard to make as much progress, plan and prepare for the success of our projects. In addition to working on the above mentioned, we will be conducting interviews with community members in hopes to gain an idea of future project ideas to bring back to Michigan Tech for future students to work on and implement. It’s a very exciting opportunity and now we’re just counting down the days to departure…