HOLLAND – A donation of $ 2.5 million helps Hope College establish a new university program. The multidisciplinary global health program began this fall and involves 12 academic departments.
Funding comes from the Sawyer Foundation through Sawyer Products. Hope College and Sawyer have worked together for several years to solve the world’s water quality problems.
It will go to the development of academic programs, experiential learning synthesis courses and project-based learning to engage in fieldwork, research or humanitarian entrepreneurship.
“With this gift, Hope students will not only prepare themselves to become leaders in global health, but will actively contribute to life-changing research,” said Matthew Scogin, president of Hope College. “Before they even graduate from Hope, they will have transformed the lives of others through their work in and outside the classroom. We are very grateful to the Sawyer Foundation for its support.
The departments of natural and applied sciences, humanities and social sciences will be involved in the global health program. It will focus on applied learning and impact through classroom teaching and research between faculty and students while making connections beyond campus for the benefit of local and global community health. Hope said in a press release.
The global health program, which will include a new major and a new minor, will build on direct experience from previous work with Sawyer and other water quality research conducted at Hope in recent years, such as the college’s COVID-19 wastewater testing program.
Sawyer Products founder and president Kurt Avery, who graduated from Hope in 1974, said student work under this new program would have direct and real benefits.
“At Sawyer, we are more than an outdoor company,” said Avery. “Our commitment includes creating disease-free water for life in communities around the world. We know this kind of change can’t wait. And, what makes this new program so exciting is the immediate relevance of the students’ work. Their efforts will strengthen communities where health problems are most pressing. “
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Hope said the new program is part of the college’s mission as well as being an example of “teaching by example.”
“If ever there was a need for global health awareness and global health education, now is the time,” said Jonathan Peterson, acting dean of natural and applied sciences at Hope. “Global Health” is the title, but the program will include people globally and people who need access to health care in our own city. “
Sawyer is a manufacturer of water filtration systems and other outdoor products. The company and its foundation have worked with Hope for several years, engaging in faculty-student research teams testing the effectiveness of Sawyer filters in developing countries.
Sawyer also subscribed to Hope’s SEED program through which students teach communities in other countries to use Sawyer water filters while spreading the gospel.