Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Student dedicates time to studying abroad 3 times
By Audra Giese
When Jessica Barringer was a sophomore at University of Hartford she participated in her first experience abroad, with Engineers Without Borders.
She went to India with a group of 12 students from UHa with EWB and helped give the town of Abheypur a clean water supply.
After Barringer’s initial experience abroad, she became inspired by the work she had done there, changed her major to civil engineering and worked to go abroad again to learn more about regulations and policies about limiting water usage and how water recycling could help with the crisis.
“The standard of life increases and with that you have people using more and more water,” said Barringer of the problems with water. “People just aren’t using it sustainably.”
Part of the problem is that people use the water and it is treated and put back into the freshwater supply, but at a lower quality than the original.
Barringer points out that this wastes a lot of energy and a lot of water.
“It’s a big problem and that’s why I’m going into the field. If nothing happens with this then I absolutely believe that the next world war will be over water.”
Barringer spent the fall of her junior year studying civil engineering in Galway, Ireland. After coming back home for three weeks she headed back to India for her spring semester, this time in Pune, outside Mumbai.
Though it was difficult to spend such a short time with her family and friends before leaving again on another semester abroad, Barringer found the determination to push through.
During the spring semester in Pune, Barringer took classes to finish elective requirements and quickly became used to being immersed in a large city and looking different than everyone else.
Inspired by her first time abroad with EWB Barringer also took an internship with Thermax India, an energy and environmental engineering company.
With Thermax she studied the water in the region and how the role of government plays in the attempts to find sustainable solutions for clean water.
“International relations are strained because of water policy and usage,” explains Barringer. “Huge water issues between Israel and Palestine and all throughout Africa can’t be resolved.”
Barringer points out that most major rivers in the world flow through so many different countries and when the countries upstream take more water and build dams to keep the water from flowing downstream, the countries there are going dry.
“There needs to be more policy about these main rivers in order to prevent conflict,” argued Barringer. Barringer graduates next month and has been accepted to graduate school at Oxford University in England to study Water Science, Policy and Management.