Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge

The Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge is a 10-week virtual collaboration that pairs community college students in the United States with university and college students in Jordan and these students work together to create a real-world authentic solution to a sustainability issue in their community around the industries of hospitality. Students are working together with virtual exchange, they’re working together in person, they’re collaborating, and the curriculum follows design challenge thinking–test, retest, and build prototypes that are going to really work for their context. Students submit a business plan as well as a video and their prototype to a virtual fair and then the finalists are invited to come to an in-person summit here in Washington. It’s kind of challenging here in our region to go into hospitality, especially for females. So I want to try to do something to change that. When we think of the tourism industry itself, it’s the mirror that basically reflects Jordan to the whole world. I chose to join the challenge because I wanted to make a difference in the world. I learned how to think with other people because before that I would have an idea and I would like just go and do it alone but I didn’t have the aspect of team player that really helped me to develop that part of my personality so that’s something that I’m really grateful for. I learned to overcome all the challenges and to be one team with one dream from two countries. We will show them that we have great ideas to help the world, and Jordan is a small country and we’re going to make it a big country. I think sustainability is an ongoing discussion and really just about any, certainly any, curriculum discussion but in business it’s ongoing in that we included in so many areas. I’m excited that my students get to learn from our Jordanian partners, but I’m also excited that our Jordanian partners get to learn from our Iowa students. You know we have a lot to offer. This challenge has impacted our students in a positive way. The students are very excited to work with individuals outside of their own country. They have learned so many different cultural differences as well as similarities but it’s also opened their eyes to a lot of the cultural aspects and it has broken down a lot of communication barriers. I was excited to join this challenge because I love learning about different cultures and meeting new people. I was excited to start the challenge because I came into this major for travel and tourism and since we’re promoting travel and tourism I think that that would be a great stepping stone for me for my career. This program is very important because it just teaches students about the culture and the backgrounds of where many people come from I feel like the Global Solutions definitely will prepare me for a job of working with different cultures. And it just helped me gain a little bit more patience and I could say a better sense of way of communicating with people. IREX strives to extend access to quality education, engage and empower youth, cultivate leaders, and strengthen Institutions. By targeting community colleges we are reaching students that might not otherwise experience an in-person exchange. The virtual exchange model allows for this low-cost unique and meaningful experience that strengthens cultural literacy.

Bernard Jenkins

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