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Students help with Nepal science program

A group of interdisciplinary students from the University of New Mexico traveled to Nepal this past December, where they learned to pronounce “Siddharthanagar” and focused on awareness initiatives as part of the Himalayan Study Abroad Program.

Offered by the Nepal Study Center and the department of economics, the mission of this study abroad program was to build a citizen science initiative, in particular, to develop and implement the Danda Ecological Monitoring Program (DEMP) developed by a series of students in previous economics courses under the center’s Sustainable Development Action Lab concept.

Students learned about air pollution, water pollution, weather, river flow dynamics, biodiversity and waste management around the city of Siddharthanagar.

The UNM group met with the mayor of Siddharthanagar and expressed interest to help link the Nepal citizen science program with similar conservation initiatives in New Mexico.

The students also participated in a seminar abroad event with the local students presenting their work.

The group then went on a hill circle tour to observe and experience various sustainable development activities and cultures. They also participated in a community service project that distributed reusable menstruation kits to women in a rural school, grades 10 through 12, and carried out a survey to help identify women’s health needs.

DEMP will provide continued community engaged research opportunities for other UNM undergraduate and graduate students in Nepal.

Students from the recent study abroad program also will participate in an undergraduate panel aat the Southwestern Society of Economists annual meeting to present their research and share their experiences.

The study abroad program was co-led by professor Alok Bohara and Michael Benjamin Goodwin, a graduate student in the economics department.

For daily diary and the programmatic details, visit the Lumbini Sustainability website at