…and you feed them for a lifetime. Teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime” is a proverb most of us know. The key principle here is that long-term benefits outweigh short-term gains when teaching people how to do something themselves. This philosophy underlies and informs the new ISE Worldwide Societal Impact Endowment. Anonymous donors recently created the endowment to fulfill their desire to improve the world by adding industrial engineering process thinking and supply chain improvements in health and humanitarian work globally.
The fund–which ISE finalized at the end of 2022–has already begun its work, focusing on water- quality issues.
“The donors have made a positive transformational commitment to our work in the health and humanitarian space for our department,” said Julie Swann, A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professor and ISE Department Head.
“These two visionary philanthropists are earnest in their desire to help pioneer and implement systems that make positive impacts on human health and well-being, especially in Third World countries and among disadvantaged populations,” said ISE Director of Development Wanda Urbanska. Starting in 2023, the endowment supported the Greater Good Initiative.
The Greater Good Initiative
The ISE Department launched the Greater Good Initiative to promote collaborations between academic institutions, non-profit organizations and the private sector to tackle complex social and environmental issues.
This spring, ISE collaborated with the Civil Engineering Department and the Water Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Cluster to create a water-related seminar series. Greater Good has also begun a water research collaboration with Denmark’s Aarhus University, including international travel between the universities and partnerships with faculty and students.
The new ISE Worldwide Societal Impact Endowment will support high-impact experiential learning opportunities for students, including research that shows the impact of school interventions on the spread of diseases, senior design capstone projects related to water, and a humanitarian logistics class (ISE 513) that studies the impact of water disasters.
The program also seeks to create outreach and engagement programs that extend to the broader community, such as field trips for students to water sanitation and treatment plants in Raleigh and Cary, NC, humanitarian logistics presentations for high school students at summer camps and an internship for a student at a non-profit organization related to water and health.
The new endowment aims to inspire the next generation of leaders and change-makers, equipping them with the tools and experiences they need to impact the world positively, in other words, teaching them how to fish.