A Cornucopia of Learning Opportunities
The week’s itinerary is based on the program’s focus on water, food and energy. The A&M students quickly learn that Guanajuato shares many of the same water concerns as their northern neighbors. “The state of Guanajuato is a major vegetable producer in Mexico and a major exporter of vegetables to the United States. They have issues of scarcity and long-term water availability,” Kaiser said. “It’s a state that is growing rapidly and uses the largest amount of water for agricultural irrigation.”
Students spend much of their time in Mexico involved in activities outside the classroom. They tour farms, food processing plants, food quality testing labs, San Miguel de Allende’s water treatment facility, dams and mining operations near the city of Guanajuato. Students also view ancient maps of canals created by the Aztecs and other groups of Mexico’s native people.
A Prime Location for Learning
Besides serving as a welcome base of operations, Hacienda Santa Clara is developing into an incubator for burgeoning collaboration and real-world lessons. “The seed created by the center’s creation is starting to blossom in multiple directions on Texas A&M’s campus as well as for the Hacienda and for the faculty and students from the state of Guanajuato,” Kaiser said. “Our students will remember this experience for the rest of their lives. They’re involved in high-impact learning that is consequential to our world.”
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