Many students participate in study abroad programs while at MSU, including some outside their own major. Read about one political science student's research on pollution & see what inspired his work.

Michigan State University is well known for its study abroad programs and international student experiences. In 2011-12 MSU ranked 4th for student abroad participation. Students can choose from over 260 programs in more than 60 countries on all continents. What you may not realize is that students can choose to participate in a study abroad program outside their own major and college. MSU senior Darvish Goode learned that doing so can greatly enhance the undergraduate student experience.

Darvish Goode is a senior studying political science in the James Madison College. He is originally from Washington, D.C. He opted to participate in a study abroad program offered by the College of Natural Science in 2013. The program, "Wild Borneo" Exploring the Diversity of Southeast Asia," was open to all students, and took Goode to Malaysia. Goode was one of two students in the program who were not College of Natural Science students, but the program was structured so that he could choose to tailor his program to his interests in public policy. Goode observed a lot of pollution of the water and land while he was in Borneo, and he chose to study the political and cultural reasons that limiting pollution is difficult in this land. There are many variables that may impact the pollution, including a culture that downplays the importance of cleanliness outside dwellings and an economy dependant on revenues from industries that cause some of the pollution.

Goode continued his research after returning home from Malaysia. He presented his findings at the 2014 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum. He sees ways that governments can encourage recycling by making it easy for residents and removing disincentives. He also noted that cleaner natural areas (such as parks) in Malaysia may lead to increased tourism revenue that can offset potential losses from increased controls over industry. Goode was kind enough to share some photos from his travels that inspired his research.

Darvish Goode poses with his research poster at the 2014 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum.
Trash piles near a tourist beach in Borneo.
Garbage floating in the water is a routine sight.
An economy dependent on industry may be partly to blame.
Recycling receptacles are in place, but not consistently used.

Below is the abstract from Darvish's poster presentation:

Untreated solid waste and excessive pollution negatively impact all of Earth's inhabitants; real life consequences include higher health care costs, diminished tourism revenue, and wildlife loss. Plus, nutrient runoff harms coral reefs, while sea turtles and seabirds are killed from ingesting plastic waste. Peninsular Malaysia and the States of Sabah and Sarawak, as well as Brunei are exceptionally biodiverse in land and marine animals that are vulnerable to pollution from construction projects, trash, and incineration, which is also true of their unique geological characteristics. While I was in Malaysia and Brunei, besides interviewing locals, I observed poor waste management in their rainforests and waterways. I concluded that inadequate waste management established the need for increased efforts to reduce pollution, properly dispose of trash, recycle efficiently, and to research alternative methods to efficiently manage trash. The governments of Malaysia and Brunei, as well as private waste management companies, must better educate their people, regulate their waste management industries, and enforce their regulations to effectively deal with these problems.

Photos two through four above courtesy of Darvish Goode.

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