Rockland Community College honors class won second place in the Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge where twenty-seven international teams from institutions in the U.S., Iraq and Jordan competed in a competition focused on technology and sustainability.

The Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge is funded by the Stevens Initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and is administered by the Aspen Institute. It is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. The program is implemented by IREX, a global development and education nonprofit organization dedicated to building a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world.

The RCC team was awarded second place in the competition, along with an award of $1,500 to be used to further develop their project on creating a smart technology-based agricultural solution to help farmers around the globe optimize their utilization of water for irrigation.

“Jordan relies on one primary water source for all of their needs, and proper water management is essential for their future. Through our prototype, named MIST, we saw a reduction in water use by 50%. An advancement in this system could potentially save a standard commercial farm over a million dollars a year on their water cost,” says Samuel Erard, A.S. Business Administration Honors Track.

The RCC team was selected as one of six finalists to progress to the Virtual Business Expo. At this event, a student representative from Rockland Community College and from Middle East University presented a 3-minute Shark Tank style pitch to an audience of over 100 people and panel of 6 judges.

“Today’s students are global citizens and will have to work together to devise solutions to shared global issues,” says Catherine Roche, RCC Professor of Business and RCC’s team facilitator. “This project-based experiential learning experience enabled students to develop cross-cultural awareness as well as workplace skills such as teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, and empathy. I was impressed with students’ commitment to the project and am very proud of the professional work they collectively produced.”

The prize money will go towards launching the technology that was pitched during the competition to help farmers – not only in Jordan but throughout the world – to save water and improve harvests.

“Working with an entirely different culture was a great learning experience,” says Michelle Meilhon, A.S. Business Administration Honors Track. “I was proud to be part of the team—we worked really hard and it truly paid off.”

For more information on this project, visit the website and the video they produced.


About Rockland Community College, State University of New York

Rockland Community College, State University of New York, offers a safe, supportive learning environment for thousands of students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Thanks to the school’s affordable tuition, students who begin their career journey at RCC and then transfer to a four-year college can save up to $100,000 on their education. RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through its new Career Skills Academy. More information can be found at sunyrockland.edu.

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