In my previous post I introduced you to our AID Chapter at Western Kentucky University, and told you about our work on Foreign Assistance Reform. I failed to mention our other large focus this past semester, how silly of me!

This Spring we worked with a Professor, Dr. Saundra Ardrey, to create a course called “Grassroots Resistance in the 20th/21st Century.” We used the course to explore previous methods of grassroots organizing and change to enhance our organizing for the future. While we initially set out to have the class deal with foreign assistance reform as well, an opportunity presented itself to try and affect real change in a unique way.

Dr. Charles McGruder, a professor at WKU and world renowned physicist, brought to our attention an exciting project for both science and development called the Square Kilometer Array.  Here’s a little background from the abstract we are presenting to Congress:

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is an exciting scientific endeavor; it will be the world’s largest radio telescope comprised of three thousand dishes capable of new science in the search for answers to life’s big questions, including the birth of our universe. The international consortium working to bring SKA to life is currently debating the host country for the project, with South Africa and Australia being the potential recipients. While both sites meet the technological and geographical requirements, South Africa and the eight partner countries on the African continent that will host parts of SKA, will see many benefits in terms of alleviating poverty and spurring development. The Square Kilometer Array is an opportunity for a new approach to development, offering a way to advance science and humanity at the same time. The promise of investment in vital areas such as education, technology, and infrastructure, including a massive expansion of high-speed Internet access, will aid these countries in overcoming problems and advancing development.

Now us “Hilltoppers” from WKU are headed to the “Hill” in Washington, D.C. this week to present a proposal we drafted urging Congress to take steps to encourage the International Consortium in charge of placing SKA to choose the African bid. We have drafted a sample resolution of support that we hope to get introduced to Congress, but we are looking also for advice and support on the best ways to act to support the South African bid.

I will keep you all posted on what happens on our journey.