Our Fulbright-MTP participants made it safely to Portland for today’s launch of the MTP 2014 journey. Here they reflect on their Fulbright experience thus far, what they believe are the most pressing issues facing global Millennials today and how their Fulbright-MTP project is a vehicle for enhancing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
In the words of Silvia Tijo, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia:
As both a Fulbrighter and a Millennial, what do you feel are the pressing challenges of your generation? Given your unique position, how do you feel you can personally address these challenges?
The most pressing challenge of my generation is to make a rational use of natural resources while maintaining or improving the quality of life that preceding generations have enjoyed without sacrificing the environment. As a Fulbrighter, I feel an obligation to expose the responsibility that humans have as a race regardless of our nationalities to further develop life quality in a sustainable manner. My current position allows sharing the “know how” of environmentally friendly construction with other societies that are not yet aware of the benefits of a properly designed edification in regard to a sustainable future.
What was the most striking thing you learned about the Millennial generation at your host university in your U.S. host city over your past Fulbright grant year?
The current Millennial generation in Atlanta, particularly at Georgia Tech, has access to information and tools that were previously unavailable. With the availability of that information and tools, a synergy now exists between different areas of interest that were previously worlds apart. People with different cultural and educational backgrounds have come together to solve problems with very unique approaches. For instance, there is a project between Georgia Tech and Ohio University with students from backgrounds in biology, economics, architecture and engineering. Together, they share the common goal to evaluate the feasibility of building an algae-powered house and were given a $1.6 Million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Sustainable Energy Pathways Program to work on this project.
Please explain your proposed MTP project and how MTP’s journey is a strong vehicle for Fulbright’s mission of promoting mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
The MTP project I am working on documents examples of sustainable buildings throughout the journey. The buildings will probably have variations as a consequence of the environmental characteristics where they are located at. The approaches and experiences gained during the journey of various communities seeking sustainability can benefit other populations that have not explored sustainability options. By documenting the results and making them readily available on a blog, hopefully people at various parts of the world, which share similar goals for the future, can benefit from this information. In the long run the world needs to know that regardless of our nationality we share similar concerns, and the solutions to these concerns will benefit any and every human being, regardless of nationality, when they are openly shared. Furthermore, new and unique ideas from various parts of the world can build upon and improve existing solutions.