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St. Olaf team earns ASIANetwork grant

By Amy Lohmann '14
May 23, 2012

From left: Associate Professor of Economics Xun Pomponio, Olivia Schares '12, Matthew Venker '12, and Virigina Ma '12. Not pictured is Daniel Habesland '13.

This summer St. Olaf College Associate Professor of Economics Xun Pomponio and four students will travel to western China to to study water sustainability issues.

Their work will be supported by a $25,000 grant from the ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellows Program, which aims to support student research in Asia.

Pomponio and the students — Daniel Habesland '13, Virigina Ma '12, Olivia Schares '12, and Matthew Venker '12 — will spend the month of June visiting three locations in western China: Xi’an, Lanzhou, and Urumqi in Xinjiang. All of these sites are located along the Ancient Silk Road, which facilitated China’s connection to the West.

Their study will focus on producing a "harmonious relationship" between water and people, mainly in northwestern China. They will be utilizing survey data, personal interviews, and quantitative and qualitative analysis to examine four aspects of water use by the local populations. These aspects include traditional approaches to water conservation and production patterns in agriculture; management of institutional schemes measured in terms of efficiency, fairness, and effectiveness; water policies and impacts on the environment and people; and the impact of water shortage on children’s health and education.

See stories on previous St. Olaf projects associated with the ASIANetwork here.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or