SP BTIA and student intern work to incorporate garbage issues into SPJC curriculum

Monday, July 30th, 2018

The San Pedro chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (SP BTIA) is currently working to help the community with the important issue of garbage. The SP BTIA and the San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) have been working together on this issue and raising community awareness for waste management. Two volunteers, SP BTIA member Dr. Dianne Lawrence and a student intern from California, USA, Megan Shaw met with Assistant Dean Froylan Gilharry and Dean Gustavo Ellis to find effective ways of incorporating the garbage issue in San Pedro into the existing course curriculum.

Over five weeks the team addressed 14 classes, including Cost Accounting, Conservation of the Reef, Introduction of Psychology, Accommodation Management, and Communication Studies II. For each course, two different options were suggested as possible additions to the curriculum. These added components were developed as lectures, presentations, research, writing, and group work. All suggestions have been approved by the San Pedro Junior College and are accepted as part of the transferable credits to the University of Belize and the University of the West Indies.

An example of the suggested course additions is to have students look at the economics involved in the cost of water (25₵ bag versus 5-gallon jug). Through this exercise, students can discover what is the more cost-effective choice and what this means for plastic consumed. Another example is for students to employ different marketing tactics learned in class and to devise a plan for promoting zero waste vacations for tourists. In the course Ethics and Morality, the BTIA team suggested that students be posed with different situations involving garbage and waste management and ask what could, should, or would you do if you saw your neighbor illegally dumping waste? What is your moral and ethical obligation to keep San Pedro clean? These are just a few of the course components that students can expect to see in the coming semester at the San Pedro Junior College.

The goal in adding these garbage related course components into the existing curriculum is to provide education on the issue and hopefully spark students’ interest in coming up with creative solutions for how waste is affecting the community in San Pedro. The future of San Pedro rests on the shoulders of the entire community, but also on educating the youth and providing them with the tools they need to make an effective positive change in the coming years.

The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that operates within Belize to help bridge the gap between tourism interests and the challenges that the industry may bring to communities. As an NGO, the BTIA is a volunteer agency and is separate from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB).

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