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Client: University of South Florida, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Date: October 26, 2014

In Fall 2014 I taught Sustainable Development Engineering ENV 6510 or Water Pollution & Treatment PHC 6310  for my colleague Jim Mihelcic. Nathan Manser, Colleen Naughton, Kevin Orner, Christine Prouty, and Matt Verbyla, all USF graduate students with extensive international field experience, instructed various portions of the course that aligned with their specialty areas.

University of South Florida students enrolled in the Fall 2014 course were required to complete one or more educational activities at the Tampa Bay Burmese Garden. Students that take this course: 1) apply engineering fundamentals and appropriate technology in design, construction, operation, and maintenance of engineering projects that serve people living in the developing world and smaller communities in the U.S., 2) learn how community-based engineering projects fit into larger, global issues of sustainable development, 3) develop an understanding of the important inter-relationship of public health and engineering; and 4) incorporate environmental, societal, and economic considerations and community participation into engineering practice.

One of our first assignments required they develop and apply a sustainability matrix for a project and they did this for the first year of the funded Tampa Bay Burmese Garden project. During the first three weeks of the course the students were introduced to the Tampa Bay Burmese Garden project through 1) a two hour class visit on September 8th at the farm with Father Bekele, Carl Johnson and Lakhu, 2) recorded video interviews of various stakeholders (Pastor Germain, Carl Johnson, and Prof. Roberta Baer), and 3) an eight hour greenhouse construction activity at the farm on September 13th. Students were also given the following reading materials:

  • Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church: Tampa Gardens. A proposal submitted to the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program, July 2nd, 2013.
  • Baer, R.; Davis, S.; Hibbert, A.; Hobbs, N.; Looney, T. McGinnis, K.; Omisca, E.; Pusateri-Woods, L. Health Needs Assessment of the Burmese community in Tampa, FL.
  • Baer, R. (2014) Dietary issues for Burmese participants in a community garden.
  • Barron, S.; Okell, J.; Saw Myat Yin, VanBik, K.; Swain, A.; Larkin, E.; Allott, A.; Ewers, K. (2007) Refugees from Burma. Their backgrounds and refugee experiences. Editors: Donald A. Ranard and Sandy Barron. Cultural Profiles No. 21.

Five student groups selected term projects based at the Tampa Bay Burmese Garden.

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