What do wind turbines have to do with peace? Plenty, said Tim Jurney ’15 and Maddy McGrady ’15.
The two spent the majority of their summer building a wind turbine and educational facility in Dominica with a $10,000 grant from Davis Projects for Peace, a program to help scholars implement grassroots projects around the world that will support peace.
“Peace for me is promoting nonviolent conflict resolution. That’s hard to do when resources are scarce,” said Jurney, an international studies major with a concentration in Spanish from Minneapolis. “If you can prevent the scarcity, you’re achieving peace successfully.”
In Dominica, the people are reliant on non-sustainable energy sources, something that has driven up poverty in the country.
“By promoting renewable energy and what it means fiscally for the future, you’re preventing conflict about oil.”
He wrote as much in his proposal to Projects for Peace.
Meg Galipault, director of corporate and foundation relations, said what stood out from Jurney’s and McGrady’s proposal was their passion for the project.
“Tim had a lot of experience in sustainability and environmental issues and had been to Dominica before,” said Galipault, who heads the committee that decides which proposals from the College are sent to Projects for Peace. “When the student is used to the area, they’re more apt to get things done.”
The grant is given out to 100 projects annually from colleges around the country. Galipault said she received 10 proposals from Kenyon students this year.
Not everything on the project went as planned, however. The duo had to return to the U.S. before construction on the educational facility was complete when they ran out of money for food. They had relied on a Dominica sponsor to provide the majority of their food using income from his summer tourist business. But when the business was hit with an unprecedented slump in visitors, the sponsor didn’t have the money.
Yet the students have every belief the project will still be completed by the people in the community.
“Everybody involved had a major vested interest in getting this done. The community members want it done. The workers want it done. We want it done,” said Jurney. “It will get finished.”
McGrady, who played soccer and ran track for two years at Kenyon, credits her extra-curricular activities as much as the academics for preparing her for the challenges they faced in Dominica.
“Academically, it’s theory,” said the English major with an environmental studies concentration. “Being on the sports teams, there’s a lot of thematic leadership activities.”
And while physical construction of the educational facility wasn’t complete by the time they left, the two had managed to accomplish another goal of their project: educating the community about sustainable energy, including building the wind turbine.
Jurney said, “We’re proud of the decisions we ended up making.”
Follow Tim and Maddy's Projects for Peace blog here.