Talking about how to solve world problems is one thing, but a group of Brigham Young University students believes doing something about the problems is more important.
About 25 students will travel to Aya Maya, a small town near La Paz, Bolivia, at the end of April and spend 21/2 weeks constructing buildings and developing other physical facilities - such as wells, greenhouses, pumps and irrigation systems - in the town."This will give us a good chance to put into practice what we have learned in our class," said Jane England, a BYU student in an environmental biology course.
The course, taught by BYU biology professor Sam Rushforth and political science professor Gary Bryner, teaches students to become a part of the environmental issues they study.
"This will be a hands-on experience," England said. The course helps the students believe they can make a difference in the world.
Another student organizer, Guenevere Nelson, said the group must pay for some of the trip and building materials.
The students are working through The Andean Children's Foundation and CHOICE, a non-profit charity that specializes in developmental projects. CHOICE will arrange the trip if the students provide the rest of the resources.
"We are shooting for about $6,000, but we will need more to alleviate total costs," Nelson said.
England said that, even though everyone cannot fly to Bolivia, people can participate through donations to the trip.
While there, the students will focus on correcting iodine deficiencies, vitamin A deficiencies and infant diarrhea, which, according to Nelson, is the greatest single cause of death in children up to age 5 in Aya Maya.
"We are all excited about the proj-ect, but as college students, we have very limited funds," Nelson said. "We need the support of the community for this project."
Eric Ethington, another BYU student in the class, said this experience will give him a chance to move beyond the rhetoric of change and face the problems themselves.
"We have the resources to help other people, and it is our moral duty," Ethington said.
Nelson said the cause of many environmental problems is poverty because the people have to exploit the surrounding resources to stay alive.
So the students want to teach these people how to rise above those poverty levels, she said.
England said she wanted to emphasize that the course deals with local problems as well as global problems and the students have spent to past year working with several proj-ects in Utah County, including homeless shelters and Women and Children in Crisis.
The class has taken as its motto a quote by Albert Einstein, "Why are we here? To give service to other human beings."
For information on the trip, contact Rushforth at 378-2438.