Gwen Williams Prize 2018-2019 Recipients
Julie Rich (Geography), Jeremy Farner (Design Engineering Technology), and Mike Moon (Center for Community Engaged Learning)
The purposes of the Uganda Project were two-fold, (1) to provide WSU students with an immersive international experience, and (2) collaborate with a local school in Nyafumba, Uganda to undertake several building initiatives. The building initiatives included a food storage facility, library, and drinking fountains for the outdoor playing field.
During June 2018, three faculty and 25 WSU students traveled to a local school in Nyafumba, Uganda for 21 days to organize a library, construct a food storage facility, and water fountains for school children. The WSU team converted one of the school buildings into a library that was then stocked with books. This library, which is now the first in the area, will help advance the education of the children in this region of Uganda. The WSU team also built a food storage facility where local garden produce can be stored and where meals will be prepared to feed school children, providing them with daily nourishment when they are attending school. A water system was put in place by WSU and two fountains were built near the playground area. These fountains now provide the Ugandan school children with the necessary hydration they need during and after their sports program. Weber State students (some of whom are education majors) also had the opportunity to teach Ugandan children, which provided our WSU students with a diverse and enriching international teaching experience. A final project we worked on was the construction of a home for a widow. This woman had lost her husband to AIDS and was now raising her own 3 children and two nieces and nephews. Her existing home had been compromised by heavy rains, which had created structural issues.
Evaluation and Dissemination
Students were given a pre-assessment during spring semester 2018 followed by a postassessment after returning to WSU from Uganda to measure if the learning outcomes were met.
The evaluation results indicated that the students had improved their ability to:
1. Analyze problems, set objectives and to finalize goals
2. Appreciate the importance good global citizenship
3. Understand the geography and construction techniques to ensure environmental sustainability for the structures built in Uganda
We also plan to write a paper discussing the intricacies of an interdisciplinary teaching experience applied to community engage learning. We will submit the paper to the Journal of Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning.
A film was produced from footage and images taken during the Uganda Project by a participating student. We will be having a premier showing of the film March 2019. There will be other film showings because the student will enter her work in film festivals.