From Eco-San Latrines to Diversity in Ocean Science: Driving Sustainable Change Through Collaborative Student Projects

Students are eager to connect with the world, getting close to both challenges and potential solutions. The UN SDGs provide powerful frames for exploration, allowing students to connect their interests with collective goals and emerging technologies. While experiential learning is opening new opportunities for engagement, students are eager to go even farther, connecting with ecosystems and communities, and engaging with technology-based innovation, deepening their learning while making meaningful contributions. This panel presentation will share two diverse approaches to student projects that are addressing the SDGs through collaborative engagement. A group of engineering students from the University at Buffalo will share their experiences designing a sustainable, self-sufficient Eco-San latrine for an NGO in northern Tanzania that has the potential to empower rural communities through enhanced sanitation, school attendance, and agricultural production. A second group of projects focusing on diversity in Ocean Sciences will be introduced, with a focus on technologies that can support protection, innovation, and sustainability. Projects will be framed within a scalable model for project-based learning, digital badges developed by the University at Buffalo Experiential Learning Network, and future trends in technology-based innovation.

Presenters:

Mara Huber (she/her), Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, Director of Experiential Learning Network, University at Buffalo

Charlotte Rutnick (she/her), graduate student, Water Resources Engineering, University at Buffalo

Ashley Perez (she/her), undergraduate student, Environmental Engineering, Water Resources Engineering, University at Buffalo

Nia Gillam (she/her), remediation engineer and recent graduate, University at Buffalo

Michael Brewster (he/him), Founder and CEO, Sprung-brett RDI

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