Global Fair 2015

WPI’s largest Global Fair ever to introduce three new project centers

August 31, 2015
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Each fall, the WPI Global Fair gives eager undergraduate students a chance to learn more about the many off-campus project experiences available. This year’s fair is gearing up to be the largest event yet, as representatives will showcase more than 45 project centers—including three new locations—at the Sports and Recreation Center on Sept. 2, from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

More than 800 students are expected to attend the fair, where project center directors and some of their former project center students will be stationed at tables filled with information about diverse IQP, MQP, and HUA project opportunities.

Important topics will be presented, such as project costs, financial aid, project availability, and travel abroad requirements. But it’s not all about logistics—representatives will also discuss the unique aspects of their project center locations, from language requirements to significant historical and cultural traditions.

The fair is a great setting for students to browse and talk informally with program representatives.
Erin Koontz

“The fair is a great setting for students to browse and talk informally with program representatives,” says Erin Koontz, assistant director of the Global Projects Program. “It’s also a chance for students to see the scope of off-campus projects they can be part of.”

Current sophomores are especially encouraged to attend the fair to ensure that they are on track with the IQP application process, as final applications for off-campus IQPs are due by Oct. 5. Juniors may also find information about project centers that support MQPs, from nearby Bedford, Mass., to Budapest, Hungary.  First-year students may stop by the fair to check out the brand new First Year Café, a booth offering dedicated resources for new students.

“First-year students can discover some exciting off-campus programs that enable them to fulfill their Humanities and Arts requirements, such our two semesters–long language immersion program in Germany,” says Koontz. “They can also begin thinking about how to best structure their first-year experiences in preparation for future project work.”

All students can get a jump-start on preparing to travel abroad by getting passport-sized photos taken for free throughout the duration of the fair.

PRESENTING WPI’S NEW PROJECT CENTERS

This year’s fair will also see the debut of three new off-campus project centers. One, located in Worcester, England, had a successful inaugural run during E-Term 2015 and will be recruiting at the fair for IQPs focused on environmental sustainability.

“The Worcester center spun off from our long-standing center in London and provides a great way for students to experience the many cultural and historical attractions of Europe in a less expensive, but equally interesting location,” says Koontz.

A second center, located in Panama City, will welcome students for IQP experiences in A-Term 2016. While WPI students have traveled to Panama City previously to work with local government officials on MQPs aimed at preserving the Panama Canal, they will soon be able to tackle social issues through IQPs on topics such as youth outreach and public information accessibility.

Fair attendees will get a sneak peek at WPI’s brand new project center in Cuenca, Ecuador—a small town situated in the Andes Mountains. The center will not officially open until C-Term 2017, when students will complete IQPs on topics ranging from improving urban infrastructure to helping indigenous communities. With a launch date two years in the future, the center reflects WPI’s commitment to continuing to expand the Global Projects Program.

“The demand for off-campus projects at WPI is growing and we’re always looking for new locations and opportunities,” says Koontz. “Our goal is to enable as many students as possible to have these rich, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

– BY JENNIFER WYGLINSKI