Written and Submitted By: Marty Bratsch, YES! Coach
A group of 12 students and their instructors traveled to Rome Italy to present to a group of citizens from Rome the projects they have worked with in the past several years. The group also wanted to learn some of Europe’s activities using alternative energies and their vision of dealing with environmental problems. The group’s mission was to meet with residents and share the idea of students taking an active role in their schools and communities to create a better environment.
The idea for the trip was started approximately four years ago when the students, who had heard of a previous group traveling to Italy, requested that their group travel to Rome and meet with students there and learn about some of Rome’s technologies and practices. Our students worked hard to prepare projects and presentations to share with the Italians. Of the projects shared were Brooke Tschida sharing her experience of working with the electric car which won the Minnesota super mileage competition, David Wimer shared the solar boat project that he had been involved with. All 12 students on the trip were responsible for sharing various projects that our YES! group had been involved with.
The students began their journey on April 13th when they left Minnesota on a flight bound for Rome. On our first day, we met students from Rome’s school system and got to know some of the Italians we’d be spending time with. The second day, the group travelled back to Rome to complete their tour and in the evening listen to the pope speak from a stage that was erected at the ancient colosseum, this was a new event even for the Italians. The third day we were there, we gave our first YES! presentation along with a professor from the University of Rome and a technologist who invented a new water purification system that is being tested in several third world countries. The fourth day of the trip, the group traveled to a small village south of Rome and socialized, played games and had dinner with the residents. Later that evening, the students were invited to discuss possible improvements for the community. We shared ideas on composting, creating a sustainable food source by designing a system to raise tilapia and creating a recycling system to handle solid waste. The fifth day we traveled to Florence on a bullet train which reached 180 mph. We toured Florence, the city gardens and museums. On the sixth day we traveled to Naples and toured an Italian recycling center. The engineer in charge of the facility had spoken at the global warming conference to representatives from all nations. He was a very knowledgeable individual who had created the site as a prototype.During the remainder of the trip our students presented on two other separate occasions and toured several smaller villages, Assisi, Rome and Frescati.
During the trip our team made several great contacts with the Italians, ate tons of awesome Italian food and had an experience of a lifetime. Our goal is to make a return trip with the same group five years from now.