U.S. Alumni TIES Denver Small Grant Projects

Congratulations to the winners of the U.S. Alumni TIES Denver small grant competition! The winning teams reflect a diverse range of exchange programs and communities in the United States. Their community projects focus on topics discussed during the April 2022 Alumni TIES seminar on “Environmental Diplomacy and Its Impact on American Society.”

Eastern Colorado Sustainability Summit: Mapping our Common Ground aims to design a four-day Sustainability Summit that will bring local stakeholders to the table and create Story Maps that amplify the concerns of those tackling the region’s most pressing problems in Weld County, Colorado. The sustainability summit, field trips, and associated story map deliverables will serve as a space for “uncomfortable climate conversations” with the potential to be scalable for other communities around the globe grappling with similar environmental justice issues. Project Leader: Karen Barton, Fulbright Specialist Program, Nepal, 2018–2019

Outdoor Classroom seeks to redefine how students in Morgantown, West Virginia learn about the climate crisis and promote sustainable mindsets through outdoor classrooms. The ever-growing need for education for sustainability aligns with this mission as access to the outdoors positively affects students’ environmental knowledge, affect, cognitive skills, and behavior. The goal of this project is to build an outdoor classroom that is accessible year-round to teachers and students, for both formal and informal learning opportunities. The space will be utilized not only as a recreational area for students, but as a classroom dedicated to STREAM-Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math-and serve as learning tools that promote environmental sustainability, sustainable development, and energy conservation. Approximately 1,800 students will benefit from this project, directly and indirectly, and many more as the space will also be utilized by the surrounding community as needed. Project Leader: Tiphani Davis, U.S., Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, Netherlands, 2020

Youth Cohort on Green Solution aims to support the development of new, exciting, and innovative ideas for sustainable enterprise which will harness nature-based solutions and practices to promote positive environmental impacts and climate change resilience in the city of Euless, Texas. The hybrid program will engage youth and encourage them to reimagine the future with green solutions. Participants will work to use ideation and design thinking to better understand climate change and its effect on city life. This will generate passion and purpose about social issues, creating a space to contribute locally to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Project Leader: Saurav Dhakal, Professional Fellows Program, United States, 2018

Suncrest Safe Routes extends Morgantown, West Virginia’s Health Streets program, designed by City Engineering and the Pedestrian Safety Board, to promote physical activity in neighborhoods. This project promotes active transportation for two schools in Morgantown, highlighting best routes connecting schools, neighborhoods, and parks and will host a webinar that will discuss how communities have encouraged active transportation during the pandemic. The project team will research precedents for Healthy Streets, finalize the safe routes maps, and sign/stencil designs to formalize permissions. This project contributes to environmental and social sustainability by making walking/biking to school more visible to drivers and more attractive to families. Safe routes promote physical activity and reduce traffic volumes and emissions. While many communities have become “trail towns,” improving on-street neighborhood pedestrian connectivity offers Morgantown new opportunities for American (and Appalachian) environmental diplomacy. Project Leader: Vaike Haas, Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Estonia, 2008–2009

Begin with Me aims to teach communication, ignite a passion to solve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the Muscatine, Iowa community, empower students, educators, and community members, and provide a system thinking approach to problem-solving. The project is a systems design workshop to coordinate community partnerships between students, educators, and community members. The focus will be on identifying problems in our community that relate to the 2030 sustainable development goals. Various community members work to solve problems, for example organic waste projects, pollinator projects, or water quality. The workshop will develop communication skills and methodology to facilitate change in the community, with the goal of creating short-term interventions with long-term impact. Project Leader: Pamela Joslyn, Fulbright Teachers DA Long-term, Finland, 2020

Know Nature: Local to Global intends to create a project template for three high schools in Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Bengal, India, and Rangpur, Bangladesh to engage their students in local environmental problems and develop an awareness of global environmental issues. This project also supports high school teachers with the necessary resources to recognize local environmental problems and design projects for their students. The project’s goal is to provide educational opportunities to high school teachers and students at these schools to collaborate, design, and implement projects on locale-specific environmental issues with global significance and empower them along with their peers and other stakeholders in ecological literacy. The project team will also publish students’ created project reports as a magazine within the school communities to create awareness of local as well as global environmental issues. Approximately 150 students and 15 teachers will participate in this educational program. Project Leader: Lizoon Nahar, International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP), United States, 2018

Communications, Climate, Composting: A Video Project in Baltimore contributes to the effort to build composting capacity at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) by supporting students’ digital storytelling about developing campus composting. The goal of this project is to offer information about composting and climate, grounded in stories from community members who have been working on developing campus composting. The project will share information by recording the stories of students who have been working on campus composting, and the stories of those in the South Baltimore Community Land Trust concerning why a commercial composting facility is a high priority. The commercial composting facility in South Baltimore will ameliorate climate emissions by keeping food waste out of an incinerator or landfill. Students in the UMBC visual ethnography class will gather the expertise on campus on composting, including by drawing on the experiences of students who have been working to institute composting on campus. By telling their stories, the students in the visual ethnography course will educate the campus community about composting and preserve knowledge for the next group of students. Project Leader: Susan Sterett, Fulbright Specialist Program, South Africa, and China, 2017, 2008, and 2002–2003

Alumni TIES is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by World Learning, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

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Alumni TIES

Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) are regionally focused seminars for alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.