February 12 2010
Ray Mensah, BSILR'11, accompanies the Minority Organization of Architecture, Art and Planning (MOAAP) on a winter break trip to India
When planning a service-learning trip, few student organizations seriously consider traveling to India due to the prohibitive costs associated with such a trip. This past winter break, however, 12 students--myself included--and one faculty member pulled off the hard task by raising over $40,000 to crisscross India for three weeks.
Traveling as members of the Minority Organization in Architecture, Art and Planning (MOAAP), the diverse group of students, which included students from the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, the College of Engineering, and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, set out to begin work on a master plan for the Rajasthan town of Diggi.
The group began the Indian journey in the capital city of Delhi, home to approximately 14 million people. In Delhi, the group toured the city and met with various architects and city planners to discuss the different legal and social requirements for planning in India. Apart from serving as an opportunity for the group to immerse ourselves in Indian architecture, planning, and, yes, labor history, these meetings helped prepare the group to commerce work in Diggi.
After spending a week in Delhi and making a brief excursion through the cities of Chandigarh and Jaipur, the group arrived in Diggi, where we spent a little over a week mapping, documenting, and photographing the town -- the information that we compiled will be used by the architecture firm, Kaimal Chatterjee & Associates, New Delhi, which has been tasked with finishing the master plan. Likewise, the student group, having returned from India, will continue to work with and support the efforts of the firm as part of an independent study course this spring semester.
Following our work in Diggi, the group returned to Jaipur before traveling to Mumbai where we spent the remaining days of the trip learning even more about the rich cultures of India. We toured various historical sites, including the Taj Mahal, Humayan's Tomb, the Agra Fort, and Lutyen's Delhi.