Mercer holds first Development Summit

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Mercer holds first Development Summit

The Development Summit’s agenda. Photo provided by Research That Reaches Out

The Development Summit’s agenda. Photo provided by Research That Reaches Out

The Development Summit’s agenda. Photo provided by Research That Reaches Out

Laurel Huster, Staff Writer

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Mercer will soon host an event that they have never done before.

The Summit will take place on Oct. 26 with a theme of “Transforming Good Intentions into Good Practices.”

Professor Lisa Vu said the idea to host the summit came up because of the many new development-oriented programs at Mercer. Some of these programs include Engineering for Development and Global Development Studies.

The Development Summit was created to explain to Mercer students and faculty what development focused studies and work entails, Vu said.

“Another purpose of the Summit is to highlight the service-oriented projects that exist at Mercer for knowledge-sharing and possible future collaborations,” Vu said.

One of these projects is Z Beans Coffee, a company started by senior Shane Buerster that supports the economy of Ecuador by providing jobs to produce coffee.

“Z Beans Coffee not only seeks to provide American consumers with incredible coffee, but Z Beans hopes to link many unemployed miners with a job, farmers with a market to finally prosper, and a way for everyone in the El Oro region of Ecuador to smile,” said Buerster.  “This project is bigger than me; it’s bigger than you; it’s bigger than coffee. I’m excited to share this deeply rooted passion with like-minded individuals.”

The theme for the summit, “Transforming Good Intentions into Good Practices,” was inspired by the Mercer motto, “Everyone majors in changing the world.”

Vu said she created the theme to acknowledge the good intentions that Mercer has in supporting communities.

The aim of the summit is to take these intentions and have conversations that promote good practices as Mercer students and faculty work in communities locally and around the world.

The Summit will have three keynote speakers, all of which are Mercer alumni.

One of the speakers will be Branden Ryan, who graduated in 2013. He served with the Peace Corps for four years in Tanzania.

Another speaker will be Trent White, who graduated in 2012 with a customized degree in International Health and Development. White is currently the Health Systems Advisor for USAID’s Bureau for Global Health.

The third speaker will be Sundra Woodford who is serving as the Community Relations Manager at Habitat for Humanity in Macon.

Vu expressed that students are not only encouraged to attend the conference to learn about the topics being presented, but also to have the experience of attending an academic conference.

“I hope that attendees will gain useful knowledge about the field of development, as well as the development track at Mercer,” senior Global Health Studies major Marina Mixon said. “It really is such an influential field, especially in our world today, so getting more students involved and aware that this is a potential study path is really important.”

The event will take place in Willingham from 4 -8 p.m.

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