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Faculty Bio - Dr. Vinod Sasidharan

The Common Experience lecture focusing on ‘Energy Management in Baja California Sur (BCS), Mexico’ was provided by Drs. Oscar Arizpe and Alfredo Bermudez from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS). The lecture was followed by a panel discussion which included comments by energy experts from San Diego State University (SDSU), i.e., Drs. Alan Sweedler and Paul Ganster, in response to questions from the audience. This event builds upon the robust, field-based research relationships that currently exist between SDSU and UABCS. Since Summer 2015, Dr. Oscar Arizpe, Director of UABCS’ Coastal Zone Management Laboratory, along with his colleagues, and Dr. Vinod Sasidharan, Associate Professor in SDSU’s Sustainable Tourism Management program have been conducting a longitudinal community action research study focusing on 'quality of life, climate change vulnerabilities, sustainable development and coastal zone management’ in Loreto, BCS. In addition, SDSU, in partnership with UABCS, has organized study abroad programs to provide collaborative opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from SDSU and UABCS, respectively, to participate in the community-based research study. The research study contextualizes the significance of global citizenship through international alliances and partnerships, constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century, particularly those relating to the sustainable management of coastal zones and marine protected areas. The combination of the study abroad programs and Common Experience event has enhanced the current academic and research partnerships that exist between SDSU and UABCS, and allowed for sustained cooperation between the two institutions in addressing the future challenges facing BCS and Loreto and the Bay of Loreto Marine National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in particular.

 

Summary of Events

The challenges for more widespread use of renewable energy in BCS are several. Renewable energy is often perceived as being costly, is not always available (causing potential reliability problems for the utility), and must operate in an unfavorable regulatory environment. Furthermore, there is neither a culture nor a local political impetus to produce energy sustainably. The Common Experience event addressed how obstacles to sustainable energy production can be overcome by the economic, social and environmental benefits that renewables offer. New tourist and housing development in Loreto will result in the need for additional energy resources for the region. The event cast BCS’ energy supply within the regional context, where little practical exploitable local renewable energy resources currently exist. The event highlighted how renewable energy can compete with conventional energy production, particularly during periods of peak demand. Additionally, the best current indigenous options for BCS, in terms of renewable energy resources, were discussed.

 

The event was attended by students and faculty from the following disciplines: Sustainable Tourism, Sustainability Studies, Environmental Sciences, Public Health, Geography, Latin American Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and International Business Majors and International Studies Minors. The event was promoted through the faculty advisors of the aforementioned Majors and Minor. In addition, Dr. Alan Sweedler, Assistant Vice President for International Programs and Dr. Paul Ganster, Associate Director of the Office of International programs supported the event by participating in the post-lecture panel and Q&A session with the audience. Green Love/Associated Students provided support for the event by sponsoring the venue/auditorium and food for the event attendees. In partnership with Dr. Marian Liebowitz, from the School of Music and Dance, the event was complemented by a cultural musical performance by student group Jarabe Mexicano, as part of their engagement in the Faculty-Student Mentoring Program.

Student Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes (SLOs) anticipated as a result of the Common Experience lectures/seminars were as follows:

 

1. Articulate the energy vulnerabilities associated with global climate change

 

2. Examine the role of the local government in sustainable energy planning and

 

3. Understand the role of non-governmental organizations in promoting

 

4. Strategize collaborations among diverse tourism stakeholders representing

 

5. Evaluate the suitability of natural and cultural resources in coastal regions for relating to the environment (dunes, marine and terrestrial flora and fauna), society (traditional lifestyles, social needs), and economy (occupations, education, income) implementation, particularly in areas adjacent to ecological reserves and marine protected areas renewable energy resource use for the purpose of sustainable conservation (protection of marine life and riparian habitats) and social development (addressing disparities and exclusion) in coastal tourism destinations government, business, environment, and culture for promoting alternative energy use and tourism growth in inland rural, coastal rural, and urban areas of coastal zones developing alternative forms of energy use and tourism, i.e., low-impact

Faculty Reflections

The Common Experience event served as a vital opportunity to build upon the robust, field-based research relationships that currently exist between SDSU and UABCS, particularly in the area of 'quality of life, climate change vulnerabilities, sustainable development and coastal zone management’ in Loreto, BCS. The event enhanced the current academic and research partnerships that exist between SDSU and UABCS, and allowed for sustained cooperation between the two institutions in addressing the future challenges facing BCS and Loreto and the Bay of Loreto Marine National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in particular. The event, including format and content of the lecture/presentation, post-lecture panel discussion, and Q&A session, provided an ideal forum for students to meet the planned learning outcomes. Overall, the faculty coordinator, event participants, partners, as well as the attendees were highly satisfied with the outcomes of the event.

 

Solar Panels

 

Panoramica Pluma

 

Gulf Mouth

 

Isla Orcas San Juan

 

Jarabe Instruments

 

Jarabe Instruments