The SWATT (Sustainable World Action & Technology Team) group at BYU–Hawaii is an organization dedicated to promoting sustainability and self-reliance, according to Bruno Miyabe, a freshman from Japan majoring in business management and a SWATT team member.
SWATT has existed for about 7 years and has more than 20 team members working on various project, according to Miyabe. He said, “Some of our projects include a chicken area where we produce eggs and reuse waste from the PCC. We have a car shop and bike shop, where we can help and teach people to fix their vehicles and bikes.
“We have a garden where we grow fruits and vegetables and we are also using hydroponics to grow some of our vegetables as well as recycling waste to use for compost.”
The organization also grows banana trees, teaches people how to cut hair, and how to fix gadgets on top of operating the Give and Take. The organization operates a learning garden, a small wind mill, a bee farm and pest control on campus.
Miyabe said the goal of SWATT is to teach people the skills to do things on their own, or offer service in exchange for items.
According to Miyabe, SWATT comes up with different projects to work on. He said, “Each member has their own assignment and project they focus on. But we can bring our ideas, anything we can think of, relating to sustainability to our boss and he can approve it, then we get to work on these various projects. We try to research by ourselves and experiment how to make things better based on our assignment.”
Beyond working for SWATT, members of the SWATT team have used skills they have learned at SWATT in other settings. Miyabe said, “We’ve had students who have started projects that have gone on to enter the Great Ideas competition and others held by the Willes Center. We have had some of our members go abroad and teach people some of the things we do as they have gone on internships.”
Emmalee Smith, a senior from Virginia majoring in biology, said, “I’ve been working at SWATT for over a year. I really like working here because you can work on your own projects and learn a lot. I work on the beehives and also with the aquaponics. SWATT is a really good organization
“It’s honestly one of the reasons why I’ve stayed at BYUH. As a biology major, I get more out of this than some of my classes because this is very hands on and provides me a way to learn and see how things work for myself.”
Miyabe remarked, “A typical day working for SWATT is not like your typical job around campus. It’s a very hands-on, practical, outdoor kind of job where you can work on many different projects per day. It’s a great way to learn.”
Tomomasa Ono, a junior majoring in computer science from Japan, said he has been working with SWATT for more than 2 years. “Our boss said he wants people to learn about sustainable technology, so we can help enhance people’s lives.
“My focus is primarily on pest control, but I’m also doing work in other projects too. I’ve learned a lot about farming, hydroponics and other things. I believe SWATT fulfills its mission in reducing waste and consumption while promoting sustainability.”