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NewSchool Students Go Global With Volunteer Project in Colombia

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A team of NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NewSchool) students traveled to Colombia over Spring Break 2014 to participate in a unique design-build project with two non-profit organizations, 4Walls International and Long Way Home. Instead of using standard methods to build homes in a local village, the students and organization members worked with materials less known to the construction world – used car tires, recycled plastic and glass bottles, and trash.

The collaborative project in Colombia provided the NewSchool student volunteers - Steven Hansen, Hannah Hobbs, Jasmine Lopez, Austin Oakley and Maria Reyes - with the chance to apply their design-build background to the unique needs of a local community. In addition, stipends earned by the international volunteers for this project, which included the five NewSchool students, were donated to help pay teachers at a school in Guatemala.

This kind of perspective – of meeting the design needs of global communities facing humanitarian challenges – is an approach that NewSchool students are exposed to during their studies here (Instructor Joseph F. Kennedy recently presented a paper at a national conference about this topic). While San Diego serves as an urban laboratory for many design studio projects, students are also challenged to develop concepts for international communities, which include the Tijuana-San Diego border region as well regions in Africa and Asia.

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