August 17, 2018
Six Arizona State University students spent 10 days in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, one of the most remote places on Earth, studying a critically important ecosystem with some of the top experts in the world.
The study abroad trip is a new project of the PLuS Alliance, the two-year-old partnership among ASU, King’s College London and UNSW Sydney in Australia. The ASU team joined seven students from the other two universities in an immersive three-credit research course titled, “Intersection of Water, Ecosystems and Governance.”
The point was to look at one of the world’s last unspoiled aquatic environments from an interdisciplinary perspective, according to sustainability scientist Dave White, a professor in the School of Community Resources and Development, who was the ASU professor on the trip. The other experts were professors from KCL and UNSW, who were experts in aquatic ecosystems, and Claire McWilliams, an instructor in tourism the School of Community Resources and Development.
“The students were learning about not only the environment, the ecology and the tourism but also the management and the complexity of trying to balance all of these competing values,” said White, an expert on water policy, who is director of the Decision Center for a Desert City at ASU.
The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives at ASU provided financial support to some of the students on the trip, which cost $4,800, not including airfare to and from Africa. Other students received travel stipends from the PLuS Alliance.