2013 Midwest Student Conference

In April 2013, India Development Service (IDS) and India Development Coalition of America (IDCA) co-sponsored its second “Midwest Student Conference on Sustainable Development in India” at DePaul University. The conference featured hands-on projects developed and implemented by U.S. students in conjunction with Indian NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

Students from diverse disciplines and educational backgrounds from DePaul University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois–Chicago, University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, University of Iowa–Iowa City, and University of Wisconsin–Whitewater participated in the conference, providing attendees a positive learning experience. Some commonalities among the presentations allowed us to develop an approach for sustainable development in India and elsewhere.

India is a massive country with complex interactions among the various stakeholders. As such, interventions need to be simple yet recognize how the economies of scale apply. In addition, important drivers including social, economic, and market forces need to be incorporated in the intervention model. The intervention model should also encourage the development of organizational capacity.

To address complexity, mapping and the use of data from multiple sources (meta-data) can be helpful. Mapping may include an information flow that is bi-directional and communicates to all stakeholders. An assessment process that is dynamic and a multi-method designed to encourage a learning cycle would be beneficial. Outcomes of interventions can be assessed in terms of economic, social, and environmental outcomes in an integrative approach.

Finally, interventions have assumptions, which draw boundaries to the effectiveness of the interventions. Future research could potentially be developed by expanding these boundaries, especially in a cross-disciplinary perspective.

2013 IDS Scholars

Based on the quality of their presentations, the following participants were selected as IDS Scholars:

  • Jamela Clark (DePaul University): Making the Case for Food Security: Elevating Beyond Neo-Liberalism to Ensure the Right to Food.
  • Mike Steiff (University of Iowa): Degradation of Ancient Rainwater Harvesting Structures and the Impact on Marginal Farming Communities: The Case of Southern India.
  • Shai Ron (University of Wisconsin–Whitewater): Creating an Indian Community-Based Assisted Living Facility with the Global Aid Organization.
  • Carolina Garayzar and Christian Norton (University of Chicago): The Impact of the Year Long Intervention on the Students’ Learning Outcomes in Math, English, and Environmental Science.
  • Rodney A. Beadle (DePaul University): Assessing the Sustainability of WOTR’s School-Based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education Programs in Rural India.
  • Benjamin Green, Joseph Honings, Vincent Schrock, and Joseph Wyckoff (University of Iowa): Toward a Sustainable Water Resources Management Strategy for Mewat District, Haryana, India.
  • Nick Abild, Micah Buggs, and Brady Kees (University of Wisconsin–Whitewater): Discarding the Past, Sorting out the Future: A Thorough Study on the Propagation of the India Pollution Control Association’s Waste Management Model in Developing Communities.