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Student Profile: Shaquib Chowdhury

By Damian Cristodero on March 9, 2018

Year: Junior

Major: Economics

Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Shaquib Chowdhury

Growing up in Bangladesh, Shaquib Chowdhury knows firsthand the effects of rising sea levels due to climate change. Bangladesh is a low-lying country prone to flooding, and citizens from coastal towns are constantly relocating to the capital, Dhaka, already one of the world’s most densely populated cities. Chowdhury has decided to do something about it.

Being the Change: Chowdhury designed a plan to create what he calls a rehabilitation center that will provide shelter, schooling for children, and job training for climate refugees. He calls his project Prottasha, a Bengali word that means hope. “There are a lot of people within the city who look at refugees negatively, but that can’t happen. They’re losing their homes, everything they own, but they’re not giving up on life. They’re starting from square one.”

Lending a Hand: In October, Chowdhury had the opportunity to present his plan at the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) at Northeastern University in Boston. Each year, CGIU hosts a meeting where students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Chowdhury was one of 11 Mason students traveling to the conference. Funding from Mason’s University Life and the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being helped with the students’ travel and supports the students’ projects.

Implementing His Plan: Chowdhury has an associate in Bangladesh who will handle the logistics of setting up the center, provided Chowdhury can raise the $26,000 he believes is necessary to get things rolling for a center that can accommodate three or four families. He has set up a crowdsourcing page to raise the funds.

Giving Credit: Chowdhury credits his professors and his time at Mason with helping him focus on critical thinking and problem resolution. “Professors have helped me think more deeply and logically,” he says. “This is an amazing environment for education. It feels like my second home.”

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