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.
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…