Lead Mentor: Sean Vassilaros, Computer Science and Business


2024 Impact Fellows

Cami Bennett ‘26
James Chang ‘27
Mattes Crichton ‘26
Nathaniel DiCicco '26
Aziret-Ali Ismailov ‘27
Allison Bronson '25
Malika Buribayeva '26


Project Description:

Almaty, the commercial capital of Kazakhstan and a major hub in Central Asia, is facing enormous challenges with sustainable urban development. Uncontrolled migration burdens the housing infrastructure, outdoor air quality, access to clean water and waste-water management systems at the constantly-growing periphery of the city leading to negative environmental consequences which compromise economic growth. For example, despite investing over $500M over the last 15 years in recycling systems, only 11% of municipal solid waste is actually recycled.

Save Tuba is a mobile game application for students aged eight to eleven to help them develop sustainable behaviors through gamification and inquiry-based learning techniques. Save Tuba engages its users emotionally through the main character Tuba, an endangered saiga antelope found in the Kazakh Steppe. Elementary school students interact with this character while completing learning exercises and activities to gain a practical understanding of applied sustainability and develop sustainable habits. Besides positive habit formation and behavioral change, engaging with game characters and emotions have also been shown to improve children’s long-term memory and cognitive abilities such as creative problem-solving.

The Save Tuba team will work closely with students and faculty from Almaty Management University, Abai University, the Kazakh Education Ministry, and other stakeholders to pilot the app in several schools over the next year. We are seeking students from all majors across campus with a deep interest in sustainability education and action. Students with graphic design skills and app design/development skills are particularly welcome.

To learn more about the Save Tuba team: https://savetuba.blog/