SASKATOON, Sask. — Learning about trees and shrubs suitable for the Canadian prairies was a new experience for Rany Putri, an architect from Indonesia trained in landscape design.
But she was up for the challenge as she assisted staff at aodbt, an architecture and interior design firm here, to develop drawings of the green space around Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan’s office. The plan is to beautify the grounds and reduce the building’s heating and cooling costs.
“It was like a puzzle,” said Putri, when describing the task of sketching trees and shrubs she had never heard about.
Putri, 25, is one of 53 young adults from 26 countries participating in MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program. IVEP is a one year vocational and cultural exchange program that connects international young adults with host families and volunteer placements in Canada and U.S.
This is the second year that Charles Olfert, a founding partner of aodbt, has invited an IVEP participant to join the firm’s bustling workforce of about 50 people. He said aodbt strives to provide services and resources that assist charitable organizations and being an IVEP partner agency enables his firm to increase this involvement.
“The biggest thing is it allows us to do work we couldn’t do otherwise,” he said. “Ideally, we would like to have three or four IVEPers working here and put them together to work as a group. That would be an interesting challenge for an employer who would have the time to be a mentor.”
Putri’s experience with industry-standard computer programs and her interest in landscape design enables her to make valuable contributions to aodbt’s involvement with MCC Saskatchewan’s green space and building improvement project, said Olfert.
As a member of MCC Saskatchewan’s creation care work team, he is enthusiastic about the project because it will help MCC Saskatchewan contribute to MCC’s overall goal of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent over the next years.
In addition to planting trees on the south side of the building, the project includes making the building more efficient through improving the insulation in the walls and building a slightly slanted roof and adding insulation under the slope.
Putri said she is learning a lot about sustainable development through this and other projects, as well as the work that has been done by aodbt on its own facility.
Several years ago, aodbt converted an old warehouse into a professional and efficient office complex that meets international standards and recognition for its energy and environmental designs.
“This is very good training and experience for me,” said Putri. “The most important thing is that I can bring back my experiences and integrate them into my work in Indonesia.”
To host an IVEP participant or provide a job placement contact your nearest MCC office at 888-622-6337 or visit ivep.mcc.org/partner
Gladys Terichow is a writer for MCC Canada