BS/IS student Luke Emano has been selected as a recipient of a Research Support Grant for his project, "Time is Value: Exploring the Barriers of Scalability for Timebanks." The award, worth $1,000, is sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research.
Timebanking is a bartering system that allows people to exchange skills or services for labor-time based credits, rather than money. When Emano was first introduced to Timebanking in Associate Professor Yang Wang’s course, Introduction to HCI (IS 226), he was immediately struck by its potential to help the world.
"Alongside all the amazing benefits of Timebanking, what makes it stand out is that it acknowledges everyone has value and it pushes for human connection," said Emano. "Our relationships influence how we grow and see the world, so I believe having a system such as Timebanking in play can spread positivity, confidence, and trust among one another and contribute to a productive society."
This summer, Emano will gain direct experience with Timebanks in London and Chicago in order to better understand how Timebanking impacts people at the individual level. The first phase of his project will begin in London: he will participate in the Paxton Green (PG) Timebank, which has been in operation for fourteen years, and TimeSight London, which is a new Timebank dedicated to those with visual impairments or blindness. He will conduct the second phase in Chicago at the Kola Nut Collaborative. Wang will serve as his research advisor during the four-month-long project.
"Some services that I plan to provide within the Timebanks I'll work with include exercise classes, manual labor such as garden work, and interior designing," said Emano. "What is great about participating is I can contribute absolutely anything that I feel that I am good at, and it does not have to be related to my professional career or work. In addition, I will be helping Timebank staff run outreach projects, such as food drives for those in need."
Emano will also intern this summer with the technology consulting firm Credera in the firm's Experience Design practice in Chicago. He accepted Credera's offer because of the firm's emphasis on putting people first and its dedication to making a positive impact in the community.