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Since the beginning of our project, reflecting upon the grim landscape we had to witness when looking out of our windows, we understood that something had to be done. We understood that we couldn’t allow the city where we grew up and will grow old be consumed by corruption, slime, and worst of all, ignorance. As bioengineers, we cannot stay inside a small bubble that is our laboratory and ignore all the cries for help from the outside world. What we needed to do was listen and reach out to those cries. If we cooperated with our community, and in turn they cooperated with us, the cobblestone streets, the river flowing through our city, and the paths along the mountains will preserve the ghosts of memories that every citizen unveiled.
What started just as small talk with every Uber driver in our city, random people on the streets, friends, and families about synthetic biology and the beginnings of our project, we became fully aware that genetic engineering is an unknown and chilling concept to most. This gave us the incentive to address this issue, not only in the context of our project, but also about molecular biology as a whole. We wanted to inform as many people as possible, through every communication space available. We discussed about the problematics of electronic waste our city faces with professionals directly involved in it. We attended Callejero, an outdoors community event where streets are closed down. We created radio spots and appeared on the newspaper. We made polls, where we found out that 90% of the people we surveyed had a college education or higher, but only less than 10% of them properly recycle their electronic waste. These conversations and data only highlights the significance of the Human Practices of our project, and the need for a greater intervention on the issue. Therefore, it was imperative that we take action and create more awareness of this looming threat of electronic waste.
If you want to read more about the events that fulfill the gold medal requirements, don’t be a shy judge and take a look: