Barrett, The Honors College’s GlobalResolve program completes sustainable project in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico

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March 6, 2020

For the past three years, Arizona State University and Barrett, The Honors College have been helping develop an area of Puerto Peñasco, Mexico through the work of GlobalResolve.


GlobalResolve is a service abroad program available through the Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. Through the program, ASU faculty work with students to implement real solutions to real problems in communities in the Global South. Student project teams play a central role in the design and development of each project. 


For over 29 years, AMOR Ministries has been working with communities in the Global South to build affordable and sustainable housing. This GlobalResolve project focused on providing the Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) community with facilities to assist AMOR volunteers while building homes near the Puerto Peñasco Community Engagement Center.  This facility provides jobs and skill training for the community. Puerto Peñasco is a city on the Gulf of California that depends on the fishing and resort industries for its livelihood.


The project, while only active for three years, experienced immense progress. Through their innovation and creativity, GlobalResolve participants designed and built a facility for site caretakers with sustainable additions, such as rainwater catchment equipment to ensure that this project benefits the environment and community.


Student project teams also designed, resourced and installed a 2.2 kW off-grid power system for the facilities. This part of the project increased student learning of off-grid living and understanding of power generation and reduced power usage. 


In addition, GlobalResolve focused on the nutritional well-being of the workers and people in surrounding communities by working with community members to create a garden to grow indigenous plants and foods.


The GlobalResolve team also focused on the creation of an LP gas and solar-powered commercial-grade kitchen facility known as La Cocina (The Kitchen). Previously, volunteers used a two-burner camp stove to cook enough food to feed more than 400 volunteers, resulting in inefficient use of time and resources. Now, the kitchen has complete gas, electrical, water and sewer systems. This change has made the kitchen more efficient, with lower food heating costs, shorter wait times and more workers being fed. 


Mechanical engineering student Danielle Rivera was able to see the development of La Cocina firsthand. When she first joined the team, La Cocina was “a dark, grey, empty room that had no doors or windows and an unfinished ceiling,” Rivera said.


Rivera considers her months spent on the project and seeing the finished product as a most rewarding experience. “Seeing it finished structurally, painted white, with LED light shining, reflecting off the sinks and stoves we installed was really stunning,” she said.


None of these amazing accomplishments would have been possible without the dedication of the GlobalResolve students led by ASU Faculty Associate Mike James, local community members, industry partners, and donors. The project had over 100 people involved with the design, development, resourcing, and building of the facilities. In the past three years, over 50 students were actively involved. 


The students worked alongside community leaders, engineers and developers to ensure that their ideas were possible. 


Rivera said that James, the project mentor and the GlobalResolve program “encouraged us to feel like we had ownership of our part of the project while also making sure we kept the community needs at the forefront of each decision and step we took.”


Students were able to use the skills they learned in GlobalResolve course sessions, as well as hands-on work, to positively fill a community in need.  The project’s impact extended further, to community members who learned new skills and gained more knowledge that are applicable to future projects. 


Even with the conclusion of the La Cocina project, GlobalResolve will continue to remain in contact with AMOR Ministries to ensure its continued success. GlobalResolve program members have taken more than 15 trips to the area to monitor the project and make sure it is functioning well. There has been constant involvement from community leaders at every step of this process to verify that the project would be sustainable in the long-term.


The impact of the project will be longstanding, as the community of Puerto Peñasco will be able to use these new facilities for many years to come. Many of the students involved with the AMOR and GlobalResolve Puerto Peñasco projects have continued to be involved in their communities. Their passion for service has inspired some of them to join the Peace Corps and create projects of their own.

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