Entrepreneurship and ecodomes
Jonathan Westover, Ph.D., UVU director of Academic Service Learning
Adam Webb, SIFE project leader and a management/entrepreneurship major at UVU
On November 20, 2010, three members of UVU Students in Free Enterprise (along with Professor Westover) decided they wanted to make a difference. We reached out to a local non-profit with a unique construction technology. Domes for the World has used its monolithic ecodome construction process to provide safe, sustainable housing all over the world.
We loved that the domes could be built quickly, cost less than traditional housing, are more energy efficient and, most importantly, are disaster proof. These homes will withstand earthquakes, hurricanes and fires. They keep families out of the elements and off the ground and safe from pests and natural disasters. We loved the idea and set out to put together an initiative for it.
“About 1.1 billion people are living in inadequate housing conditions in urban areas alone.” (United Nations Center for Human Settlements)
Throughout the summer, we leveraged the generosity of Pinnacle Security and its employees to raise more than $30,000 for the cause. We then led a group of 30 individuals consisting of UVU students, Pinnacle Security sales reps and technicians, leaders of local and international non-profits and community members to the small village of Chunox, Belize.
While in the country, the group completed one dome from start to finish so the locals could see the process, began another foundation, then left all the resources, tools and training necessary for the villagers to perpetuate their own home construction. We also taught several locals an innovative and inexpensive method for constructing well pumps.
In regards to the well systems, we made a small investment to get them started, and they are now building and selling well pumps made with their hands to improve the quality of water procurement in the village and earn a living for themselves.
The group also found time to revitalize two schools with fresh paint in and out of the classrooms.
Independent sustainability was our focus. The villagers are now equipped to erect their own domes and construct their own well systems. We put a system in motion that will now move under its own weight. The initiative was a life-changing experience not only for the people we served but for the participants as well. This was the best experience we’ve ever had with any humanitarian effort.
One of the group members said, “It was a life-changing experience that I will never forget. There is nothing like taking part in a project where you see the direct effect of your efforts. This was a priceless experience that opened our eyes to the world we live in. It makes you see the difference a little support can make in the lives of others.”
The initiative is moving forward strongly as funds continue to be raised and lives continue to be changed.
— Jon and Adam
Photo of ecodome in Belize courtesy of Pinnacle Security