WSU Documentary Highlights Power of Global Engagement
OGDEN, Utah – Two new classrooms, a library, new books and a latrine are making life and education more accessible for the children of the Eduardo Mondlane Secondary School in Mozambique. A documentary chronicling the Weber State University group that made the improvements possible will premiere Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Browning Center Austad Auditorium. The public is invited to the free screening and panel discussion that will follow. To reserve a seat, visit bit.do/windowsofchange.
The 58-minute documentary, “Windows of Change,” was produced by Weber State digital media advisor Drew Tyler and his wife, communication instructor Stacey Cragun Tyler. Their work captures the powerful bonds established between Weber State volunteers and residents of the Mahubo village on the southeast corner of Mozambique.
“It's not very often you get to work on a project that has such a profound effect on your outlook on life,” Drew said. “This documentary has opened my eyes to the value of serving others and the joy that can come from it. It has restored my faith in humanity. There are amazing people in the world both here and abroad. Having the opportunity to capture and share that story with others is both exciting and rewarding.”
The trip was organized in conjunction with a broad collaboration of Weber State groups as part of the Global Community Engaged Learning program (GCEL). The group selected the Mondlane school and agreed to construct two classrooms and a library — the latrine was added as a last-minute request, just as the WSU group was preparing to leave Mozambique.
The expansion allows the crowded school of 400 to offer two additional years of education, extending instruction through the 12th grade.
“The reason I take students out of the Utah bubble is to show them there is a world outside with people who have the same needs, the same desires, the same wants,” said Julie Rich, associate dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and trip organizer. “You can’t get that in a classroom. I hope students look around and observe and come home with a greater appreciation for what they enjoy as the privileged 1 percent of the world.”
A contest held in September 2016 with Weber State’s interior design, construction management and design engineering technology students produced the building renderings, which included the floor plan, elevations, color scheme and a design element of a large and colorful tree painted on the exterior plaster.
Once they had the design, a team of 31 volunteers participated in extensive trip planning and preparation. They attended a class taught by Rich and her colleagues Jeremy Farner, design engineering technology associate professor, and Mike Moon, Center for Community Engaged Learning assistant director. They studied Mozambique geography and culture, researched poverty and effective ways of providing humanitarian service. They learned construction design techniques and participated in hands-on experiences by mixing mortar and concrete, then building and stuccoing cinder block walls. They also raised $57,000 to cover construction costs.
The Weber State group traveled to Mozambique May 11, 2017. Residents of the village and students at the school joined to help with the physical labor required. When the project was completed, most of the community turned out for the May 27 dedication.
In the documentary, students and administrators of the Mondlane school explain how two classrooms and a library will make a meaningful, lasting impact on their village.
“If people could understand that sometimes it’s better to help in education,” said Nera Nhanombe, an English teacher at the Mondlane school. “When you do something like that, you are giving a tool to people that allows them to do something in the future.”
Stacey Tyler said she hopes watching students from Weber State help make a better future for students in Mozambique will inspire others to become engaged world citizens.
“In terms of dreams, the students I interviewed wanted the same things I want for my children: a good education that will help them become successful adults in the community and in the workplace,” Stacey said. “It was an honor to meet these people and learn about them and see how they interacted and worked with us. It's something I'll never forget.”
A second screening of the documentary is scheduled Nov. 13 at 2:30 in the Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater. The event is free, and the public is welcome.
Visit http://weber.edu/ccel/global.html to learn more about next year’s project. Visit these links to view the 1-minute trailers:
For photos, visit the following links:
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.