Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Celebration of International Service-Learning

We had a great time last evening.  We could have been forced to cancel the event because of the typhoon.  That would have been a great disappointment for the students and all of us involved because we put so much effort into it.  In the end, it came off smoothly, and we all had a good time.  

During this past summer, we sent out 4 teams with a total of 98 students.  We went to Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Rwanda and did some great work.  We designed and installed a mobile computer laboratory in a suitcase on a tuk-tuk.  We designed, built and deployed more than 20 solar-powered LED light systems, at less than US$25 each. We designed, constructed and gave away 20+ US$9.9 programmable robot cars. We installed several computer networks at schools and  orphanages.  We taught robot programming, social network marketing, digital storytelling, stop-motion animation, and much more. We surveyed and made maps.  We investigated into rural agricultural, water, and other problems, proposed, tested and demonstrated solutions.  We organized seminars by experts for the villagers.  We visited homes for the handicapped and tried to propose service projects for them.  We lived, ate and made friends with so many people... 

Our students practiced hard for their presentations for last evening.  The way they talked last evening was un-recognizably better than the first rehearsals two weeks ago.  In between we helped them with the material, the way they talk, the way they point, the way they carry themselves, ...  It is something else that they can use for the rest of their lives.

A lot of people came.  Senior management from our university, deans, department heads, professors, colleagues, donors, counsels, collaborating NGOs, ...   Based on the way they listen, their comments afterwards, the way they stay behind and chat, the many suggestions they made, ..., I am sure they thoroughly enjoyed it. 

This year’s work is done.  We can be mightily proud of our students.  But the work for the new round of projects has already started.  We are already scrambling to develop new subjects, lining up new projects, finding the funding to send new teams, ...

It is challenging work.  But also satisfying work. 

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