a project by V. Cline
I will be focusing on the issues of energy and resources by proposing a social program for university students and elderly in high cost of living, metropolitan areas. This program, known as Partners in Care, will be mutually beneficial and will address the challenges faced by each demographic group. For the elderly, challenges include financial strain due to the rising cost of living and medical costs and social isolation, which oftentimes leads to depression, despair, and a feeling of uselessness. For young college students away from home for the first time, challenges include financial strain due to the ever-increasing costs of housing options and tuition, anxiety, depression, peer pressure, loss of security, and homesickness. The transition from high school to university life introduces students to living independently and new responsibilities, which, for many, can be very overwhelming. As a result, approximately 30 percent of freshmen drop out after their first year of college. Therefore, the strategy for this project is intervention as it aims to steer new students away from temptations and distractions to focus on learning responsibility, participating in volunteerism and care-giving, and forming connections across generations. The approach of this proposed program will revolve around human ecology as it will involve human relations and conservation practices. New university students will be paired with an elderly individual willing to share their residence. Each benefits from the arrangement; for the student, they gain a more comfortable place to live (much roomier than a dormitory) for a reduced cost. They have older companionship, which over time, as bonds form, can help alleviate homesickness. Older individuals are great sources of wisdom, and can provide advice and guidance to a young adult venturing out into the world for the first time – from “talking someone down from the ledge” during the anxiety of final’s week, to encouraging traditional values (which could help temper a young adult’s temptation to overindulge in partying, alcohol consumption, or other typical pitfalls of college students). Additionally, it would help freshmen ease into the responsibilities of independence, as they would be providing in-home care for their cohabitants. For the elder, they gain companionship and assistance with household tasks that may be difficult due to their physical limitations. The program also promotes the conservation of energy and resources. The cohabitants would share power, water, gas, and equipment in a common living space. Compared to living alone and doubling these emissions, living together reduces the carbon footprint and consumption of energy by each person. In one study, researchers found that one-person households tend to consume more resources compared to those who share housing (https://www.jstor.org/stable/23288551?seq=1). The art genre for this project will be social practice as it involves engagement through human relations, interaction, and discourse.