Kydia Lussoke, Rose SimardKydia Lussoke (forensics) and Rose Simard (environmental science) mould water filters for distribution to families and communities in need in the Dominican Republic.

Service learning program sends students to Dominican Republic

Eighteen undergraduate students from the faculties of science, education, and arts, humanities and social sciences spent Reading Week participating in an alternative spring break experience in the Dominican Republic.

Working with Wine to Water, an organization committed to preserving life and dignity through access to clean water, University of Windsor students helped construct and distribute water filters to communities and families lacking access to clean water.

“Service learning is a great opportunity for students to apply what they have been learning on campus to make a difference in the lives of others,” says faculty lead Chris Houser, interim vice-president, research and innovation. “I am always amazed at the willingness of Windsor students to go above and beyond in service of others both in Windsor-Essex and abroad.”

The simple but effective technology was developed in the Dominican Republic and uses locally sourced materials to remove particulates, contaminates, and pathogens. Learning directly from the designer, the students mixed and moulded the filters, which are then fired and distributed directly to families and community-based associations. While distributing the filters to small interior communities, students demonstrated filter usage and cleaning and conducted follow-up interviews with families who recently started using the filters.

Students also had the opportunity to interact with local public school students and lead activities related to water quality issues in the country.

Cory Acri from Wine to Water marveled at how the students from the University of Windsor came together to do something bigger than themselves: “The impact that these students have made will continue beyond the trip as they share their experience and their story.”

Scholarships for students to participate in this service learning experience were provided through the Go Global STEPS program funded by Global Skills Opportunity, Canada’s outbound student mobility program. This year, the Go Global steps program will support more than 100 undergraduate students from the University of Windsor studying abroad as part of their degree.