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Video on WKU $100 Solution™ project places 2nd at international conference

A video featuring the $100 Solution™, a service-learning model imagined by WKU Scholar in Residence Bernard Strenecky, was selected as the second place winner for the 2012 NAFSA: Association of International Educators International Education Video Celebration.

Dr. Strenecky and Dr. Julie Ellis, professor in and department head of the WKU Department of Engineering, taught international service learning rooted in the $100 Solution™ on a recent voyage of Semester at Sea.

The $100 Solution™ project featured in the video is a continued effort in Gales Point, a remote village in Belize, where the unemployment rate lingers around 90 percent. The students and faculty involved buy locally produced crafts and sell them at WKU, returning a multiplied profit.

Headquartered at WKU and impacting communities around the world, the model challenges students to transform $100 into community-centered change. Since it was founded in 2005, the $100 Solution™ has inspired 100 projects across 13 countries. According to Dr. Strenecky, the impact of the recognition is international.

“By partnering with Semester at Sea, the program becomes institutionalized and will become an integral part of the education of students who sail with Semester at Sea,” he said.

“WKU’s Semester at Sea students have contributed to the development of the $100 Solution™ program,” Dr. Strenecky said. “The award enhances the national reputation of Western Kentucky University, as we are one of the few universities who host such a program.”

Each semester, including winter and summer terms, Semester at Sea offers voyages around the globe. In partnership with the program, WKU provides students with the unique opportunity to study abroad on a cruise ship, which journeys through several destinations. In this arrangement, Dr. Strenecky said, WKU is able to partner with “the foremost premier shipboard education program in the world.”

Dr. Craig T. Cobane, the university’s Chief International Officer, said WKU is proud of the strong and growing partnership with Semester at Sea. “Over the past three years, we have had over 50 students study as part of the Semester at Sea experience,” he said.

Video entries demonstrated how the institution’s international education initiatives promote peace and justice. The $100 Solution™ video was one of six finalists, and was shown to more than 5,000 attendees on May 30 at the NAFSA Annual Business Conference and Expo in Houston, Texas.

“WKU involvement with the nationally recognized video is additional evidence that we are becoming a Leading American University with International Reach,” Dr. Cobane said.

According to its website, NAFSA and its members “share a belief that international education advances learning and scholarship, builds understanding and respect among different peoples, and enhances constructive leadership in the global community.” The organization of believes international education is necessary to “fostering peace, security, and well-being.”

Read more: NAFSA International Education Video Celebration, The $100 Solution, Semester at Sea

Contact: Bernard Strenecky, (270) 745-5334 or bernie.strenecky@wku.edu.

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