Black Hills State University faculty and students attended the Botho University International Research Conference, (BUIRC), in the capitol city Gaborone, Botswana in November.
According to Botho University, the countries of Sweden, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and the U.S. were represented at the conference. The theme of the 2017 conference was “Setting the Gear for Sustainable Development: Innovative Research Towards Diversity and Socio-Economic Independence.”
Presenters submitted papers prior to the conference and only those considered high quality were selected, according to the BUIRC. The six BHSU attendees
presented lectures on a variety of topics.
The topics included:
- Wade Schutz, sociology major from Rapid City - “The Sustainability Initiatives of Rapid City and Black Hills State University”
- Dr. Adam Blackler, assistant professor of history, and Kelsey Loftus, history major from Sturgis - “A Past that Must not Go Away: The Legacy of the Herero - Namaqua Genocide in Germany and Namibia”
- Kelly Kirk, instructor of history, and Sidney May, social science major from Spearfish - “Veteran Legacies in the Black Hills”
- Dr. Sandra L. Marker, associate professor of sociology – “Interethnic Riots: Status, Change and Honor”
- Dr. Daniel Jensen, assistant professor of exercise science, and Luke Altstiel, exercise science major from Sturgis, - “Agreement of the PowerTap®, Stages®, and Quarq® Power Meters Compared with the Volotron Pro Cycle Ergomete”
Attendees of the conference praised the students for their important research and impactful presentations on sustainability.
“The students made some really great connections,” said Marker. “It was just incredible to see them excel and to see that others around the world are excited about what they are achieving.”
Kirk also noted that the BHSU student delegation impressed many people at the conference and was the topic of much comment.
According to Blackler, the students and faculty embraced the opportunity to present their research and immerse themselves in a foreign culture. Experiences such as this benefit those who travel internationally as they gain professional insight and personal growth.
Apart from the conference, the travelers took time to experience the local culture with a visit to a game preserve, bartering at local markets and engaging with community members. Marker was thrilled to see how open the students were to learn about and connect with another culture. “Travel is so important because it breaks down stereotypes,” said Marker. She believes that understanding the differences and similarities of people from foreign countries influences beneficial new ideas and technology for a global society.
Blackler agrees. “When you come back from traveling you are a changed person. You realize you can incorporate what you’ve learned from just speaking to others who may be different. In my opinion, the best form of education is actually going out and engaging with others – whether it’s to Deadwood, Calgary, or Gaborone.”
BHSU offers a variety of programs and opportunities to travel abroad with the support of the university. The International Relations and Global Engagement Office works to provide all the resources for students, parents, faculty, staff and community members interesting in foreign travel. BHSU study abroad destinations emphasize educational impact, including Botswana, which was listed as a top place for nontraditional studies abroad: https://www.studyabroad101.com/rankings/2014#non_traditional