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Residency Spotlight: Recycling in South Africa

As part of their summer 2013 global residency, three EML students transformed a resource center in a poverty-stricken township of South Africa into a new recycling facility in the center of the community.

Cherian Thomas, Tim Powers, and Ted Fahy encouraged entrepreneurship in Langa Township by educating the community on the value of waste.

With a mission to improve the local economy, the students felt it was imperative to teach through example and partnered with local recycling companies to educate the community on recycled commodities.

Moved by Langa’s staggering unemployment rate of more than 50 percent and challenging health issues such as HIV and AIDS, the students saw the opportunity to help rejuvenate and improve the quality of life in the area.

With industry insight and relevant professional experience, the students pursued a partnership opportunity with Sappi Southern Africa, part of Sappi Limited, a global leader in pulp and paper headquartered in South Africa.

Sappi Southern Africa has provided expertise and assisted in coordinating the infrastructure for the HLAZA (Green) Innovation Center, a renovated buyback center where local residents will sell their recyclables at fair market value for the respective recyclable commodity that they have collected. The more recyclables that collectors secure on a daily basis, the more they will ultimately earn.

Once finalized, the team will construct a blueprint for a fully functional waste collection company and has already selected a local entrepreneur to oversee the center. To ensure the sustainability of this new venture, the Georgetown students are working with Sappi ReFibre, K & C Waste, CONSOL, PETCO, and Collect-A-Can to serve as the primary buyers of the recovered material. Once sorted at the HLAZA Innovation Center, each buyer will collect recycled commodities — benefiting residents, businesses, and the environment.

Opening Residency

Challenges of Leading

Learning, Being, and Doing: During this intensive and inspiring experience, students get a solid introduction to the EML curriculum and meet the program team and faculty. The opening residency inspires students to begin thinking more deeply and systematically about their perspectives on leadership and the arenas in which they plan to demonstrate leadership. In addition, the residency helps to build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among members of the cohort.

Global Residency

Leading in an International Context

A signature Georgetown McDonough experience, the Global Residency provides students the opportunity to implement concepts learned in the classroom in an international setting. Before visiting the residency location, EML students attend a series of on-campus lectures and discussions to gain a better understanding of the history, culture, and leadership challenges that exist in the host country. In addition, students work on a leadership-focused consulting project for a client in the residency location. The experience ends with a week-long international residency during which student teams present recommendations to the client and participate in academic and cultural activities. The current location for the EML Global Residency is Nairobi, Kenya. While residenciesare focused in Africa the country location may change in any given year. 

Closing Residency

Leading for the Future

This residency places significant emphasis on the understanding and application of selected Jesuit disciplines such as contemplative action and daily examination. Before attending the Closing Residency, students will have created personal leadership action plans, which help them prepare for discussions about future growth and success as leaders during the three-day experience.

 

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