Eugenia Chow ’24 teaches C-START course on alternative economic models that center social, ecological well-being

News & Spotlights | February 23, 2024
Class photo of “Alternative Economic Visions,” a C-START course led by Eugenia Chow ’24 this spring.

Eugenia Chow ’24 is teaching a C-START (Carolina Students Taking Academic Responsibility through Teaching) coursethis semester through Honors Carolina. The three-part course, Alternative Economic Visions, encourages students to imagine “alternative global models that challenge the dominant economic paradigm,” she said.

“The course material, grounded in lived experiences, is designed to provide practices of existing alternatives that center on social and ecological well-being,” said Eugenia, a double major in interdisciplinary studies and public policy. The scholar manages Eugreenia, an environmental educational platform she launched in 2018.

Her favorite part about teaching a C-START course is coming up with creative ways to share about the things she cares deeply about.

“Teaching is a fun and interactive way to give back and share learnings with the UNC–Chapel Hill community,” she said.

The students have studied doughnut economics, a concept she explored during her Global Perspective summer; community currencies, which she researched during her study abroad program in Costa Rica; and Buen Vivir (“Good Living”), a set of codified rights that she focused on as part of a Lovelace Fund for Discovery project in Ecuador last summer.

“The course feels like a long-term deliverable of all of the experiences I’ve had as a Morehead-Cain Scholar.”

C-START student-instructors spend the fall semester developing a syllabus and lesson plans with a faculty mentor, then teach a weekly seminar in the spring. Classes are taught once a week for one hour and fifty minutes and typically include ten to fifteen students.

Eugenia on her Lovelace Fund for Discovery project in Ecuador last summer.

Learning models for development, social change from indigenous communities in Ecuador

For her Lovelace Fund for Discovery project, Eugenia observed and interacted with artisans in Otavalo in the Andean highlands and studied the applications of Buen Vivir.

She also visited and interviewed representatives from Los Cedros Biological Reserve. The nature preserve won the first case using the Rights of Nature laws, arguing that nature should be protected for its intrinsic value.

Eugenia said she chose the topic because Ecuador was the first country worldwide to implement the laws into its constitution in 2008.

“Not only did we get to visit the reserve, but we also learned about individual visions for well-being by living with an indigenous family,” she said. “We happened to be there during Entrega de Rama de Gallos, a traditional festival, and it was exciting to experience the mix of livelihoods that connect them to the land and support their aspirations for their children’s education and family advancement.”

The Lovelace Fund for Discovery grants enable scholars to say “yes” to opportunities that will accelerate their life experience and increase their self-awareness. Learn more.