Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Beginning to an End

WE ARE GOING HOME TODAY!!!! This morning started as an early morning of packing and making sure we were all ready to travel back to Minnesota. With two lectures, lunch at the US embassy and one field visit left, everyone was anxious to get our day started.
Our first lecturer was Nitin Tanwar from Climate Connect. Climate Connect deals with energy and environment related markets in India. Their focus on renewable energy policy, energy efficiency policy and climate change related development. Then Vijay Mahajan, the founder and CEO of BASIX Social Enterprise Group, talked to us. BASIX was established in 1996 that was devoted to promote a large number of livelihoods for the poor and women on a sustainable basis. The social enterprise was one of the first microfinance companies in the world, and also offers: savings and finance, agricultural, livestock and non-farm enterprise development, and institutional development to rural producers and their groups.

ITC Green Centre, Gurgaon, India

We had lunch at the US embassy and then headed on to our last field trip in India. We traveled to an ITC green building in Gurgaon and heard some information from Niranjan Khatri. We also learned about The India Green Buildings Council (IGBC) from Prem Jain. Prem Jain is an alumni of the University of Minnesota. The site we visited was massive, beautiful and sustainable.



At the end of 2012 the IGBC had 1877 green buildings covering 1.29 billion square feet in India and are hoping to have green buildings covering 25 billion square feet by 2025.

The group with U of M alumni, Prem Jain.

After finishing the tour we headed to the Ambience Mall in Gurgaon to relax until our departing flight. For a final activity we went bowling and had a final meal together. It was a great way to end our three weeks in India.

The past couple weeks in India have been amazing. We were exposed to many issues in India and got to see how the issues are being handled. It was great to actually be able to see solutions and how they are being implemented. Though many problems have solutions a major contributor when designing for India is the size of the population, which complicates matters. Since we were able to work with TERI University, and many of our group did not know each other before we left, we all made many new friends. The hardest part about leaving was saying goodbye to these new friends we met, but it also makes me look forward to going back and working with them in the future.