Several University of Colorado Boulder engineering students traveled to Haiti in June to introduce a green energy vocational training program that paves the way for a new era of distributed power in the poverty-stricken, earthquake-damaged nation.
After project leader Matt Hulse and professors Alan Mickelson and Mike Hannigan made an initial visit in January to assess specific energy needs and employment opportunities for those who are trained in the field, students Joanna Gordon, Nathan Canney, Mark Hasemeyer, Steven Kluck, Kelli Fischer, and Alex Demarais joined them to design a 250-hour curriculum to be taught at the Mon P’tit Village school in Leogane.
Five of the students then returned to Leogane for three weeks in June to train six local instructors on the essential knowledge and skills they need to pass on to their students. To provide the instructors with hands-on experience, the CU team led them in a reinstallation of the school’s solar electric system, including fixing the angle of the solar panels mounted on the roof so they achieve maximum performance.
“I am short of words to describe the admiration, respect and high esteem that I felt toward the visiting team of students from Boulder, Colorado, for the dedication, passion and professionalism that they were able to demonstrate toward the Haitian teachers during the green energy training,” said Yoleine Gateau, founder and vice president of the Mon P’tit Village school.
Undergraduate Steven Kluck said the program has been one of his greatest learning experiences so far. “I have learned so much about teamwork, cooperation, curriculum and materials preparation, energy, technical skills, teaching, cross-cultural interaction, language barriers, international development and more. I have grown as a person and a global citizen and have set myself up to do more sustainable development work in the future," Kluck said.