Examining the inaugural Acara Challenge class at the University of Minnesota paints an interesting picture. Most of the students are Civil Engineering majors, but there are also students from Public Health, Architecture, Chemical Engineering, and Business. The class is predominately graduate students, with about one third from undergraduate programs. But the most interesting and impressive facts are about the experience these students bring to the Challenge. Most have participated in international projects through Engineers Without Borders and other organizations. These projects have taken students to all areas of the globe: India, Japan, Uganda, Singapore, Tanzania, Namibia, El Salvador, Botswana, and Jordan. So why are these amazing students interested in the Acara Challenge? The top reasons include the opportunity to work in multi-disciplnary teams, to work on a real-world problem, to advance their understanding of sustainable development, and to make a positive change in the world.

In their own words:

“..it is a chance to truly work with an interdisciplinary team to create something that could have lasting effects.” -Katarina Grande, graduate student, School of Public Health

“[This course] will offer an unparalleled educational opportunity that will allow me to better pursue a career applying my engineering background to lead change and design solutions that are more responsive to the societies they serve.” -Brian Bell, undergraduate student, Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture minor