Students Provide Professional Assistance in Senegal

In January 2019, Professor Marie Nazon of the SEEK Department traveled to Senegal with students to engage in a three-week course in sustainable development and the ecovillage movement. Undergraduates from the Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership, many majoring in International and Black Studies, and some of Senegalese heritage, were joined by two graduate students from the Spitzer School.


Nazon partners with the NGO Network for Ecovillage Emergence and Development (REDES) in the Sahel region of Senegal, and designed the service learning course based on her research experience in Senegal as a Fulbright grant recipient in 2010.


Students were paired with Senegalese students from Cheikh Anta Diop University and traveled to the village of Bambey Serere outside Dakar for action research and service learning. The Spitzer students — Avi Nagel and Davian Ellis, both members of the M Arch I class of 2019 — provided professional assistance for the design and construction of a high school community room.


The group explored indigenous spirituality and African culture, and took a close look at slavery in Africa and surviving historical trauma during a trip to the Gorée Island slave house. “They came out transformed,” said Nazon, “finding themselves.”