If you could save the world simply by taking a shorter shower, would you? Of course you would, and so would students in Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia who devised the idea of installing water sensors in showers to help reduce consumption.
These ideas and others were brainstormed during the Centennial Day of Service, when 330 IBM employees used the Mission Innovation Activity Kit to explore issues of sustainability with more than 1,300 students in 40 schools throughout Bogotá and Medellín.
“I’m very proud of the deep sense of social responsibility demonstrated by more than 300 employees of IBM Colombia. They shared the message about the importance of innovation in science and technology. We discussed the important challenges facing our planet, such us the shortage of natural resources, the usage of the energy and traffic problems,” said Francisco Thiermann, the general manager of IBM Colombia.
In 2011, IBM awarded two separate Catalyst grants to an NGO called 100 Años de Progreso Para Compartir (100 Years of Progress) that supports schools in Bogotá and Medellín . The grants will allow schools to implement a complete sustainability program. Working with teachers, students, and parents, Nestor and other employees of IBM Colombia will plan, develop, and implement initiatives proposed by the students themselves to improve processes related to the consumption of resources within their schools, such as printing all school communications on recycled paper.
It makes me feel proud to be part of an important initiative that can change the lives of children. Also, it definitely encourages me to strengthen my leadership, communication, and social skills, as well as my collaborative thinking. We need these skills to be successful everyday not only in our work but also in our personal life,” says Nestor Ruiz.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to energize us, to renew our commitment and our own understanding…of how we want to develop the future of IBM, develop in society, and develop in the communities in which we operate,” said Fabian Castellanos, an IBM branch leader in Medellín.