Always excited for a new point of view, business administration student Micah Guion is heading up this year's Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge.
Micah Guion, wants to see the world from other people's point of view. Intrigued enough to reach out to people in other countries on her own, Guion is the perfect person to take the lead of Beaufort County Community College's Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge, where a team from BCCC is paired up with a team from Iraq or Jordan to address an environmental issue. Guion's team worked to raise awareness about the waste created by the arts and entertainment industry with a team from Soran University in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
"With Global Solutions, not only do you learn many different things about other people's culture,"
Guion says, "you also learn things from people at your school in different majors, and who can provide insight into what you could do."
Last year, BCCC's team worked with a team from Jordan to develop a gas leak detection system that earned them second place in the competition. This time around, the group is working to bring awareness to sustainability through an arts and entertainment form.
"We found out that not many people had awareness of [waste in the arts and entertainment industry],"
Guion says. "You never really hear about it."
Instead of a product, the team plans to develop a service to educate youth on the impacts of the entertainment industry.
"By doing this challenge, it makes you aware of not just what's happening here,"
she says, "but what's happening in Kurdistan-and everywhere else-and what could be happening everywhere in terms of stopping waste from going to the landfill. It doesn't matter how big, as long as you can make a difference that will benefit the environment, you will benefit everyone else who lives in this whole entire world."
While at first nervous about joining Global Solutions, Guion looked at it as an opportunity to build her leadership skills. The Beaufort County Early College High School "super senior" will join the U.S. Army after earning her Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration from BCCC. Even though most of her peers were focused on university transfer, Guion wanted to get a business administration degree so that she could help people.
"I knew from a young age that I wanted to start something myself so that I can help others,"
she said. "You can do so many things with a business degree. You can open your own business, help others start a business, help with insurance or help with accounting."
Guion has already enlisted, meaning that she will join the Army for four years in June right after graduating. The decision to enlist comes from her insatiable curiosity, desire to travel and growing up in a military family that often shared stories about their service. Both her parents and many members of her extended family are veterans.
"In the military, I meet people from everywhere,"
she says, reiterating her quest for new perspectives.
When she was younger, she was pen-pals with people from countries like France, China, Japan and Madagascar, getting their takes on daily life. Now through Global Solutions, Guion can not only grow her understanding of life in Iraq, but also work together to solve real world issues.
"This project has opened my eyes to so many things. Growing up, I had a certain view that was only what I saw on TV, but when you talk to them you learn that it is a lot different than you thought it was,"
she says about her experience with the Kurdish team. Along with clearing up some misconceptions about the status of women in Iraq, Guion learned that Erbil, the city where Soran University is located, is peaceful, located in a mountainous area and that people of different religions get along.
The Kurdish people live in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey and experience different levels of autonomy depending on the country. In Iraq, the Kurdistan Region has been self-ruling since 1970.
"I see how hardworking they are, and how dedicated to the project they are."
Looking forward, Guion says, "Sustainability has to play a part in my future. I don't just want this environment to be livable for me but also for generations that come after me."
She plans to start a business or help others start businesses after finishing her enlistment in the Army.
Along the way, her desire for new perspectives will help her care for and connect the pieces of our large and complex world.