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Engineers Without Borders

Engineers Without Borders makes a difference in the world by helping people develop their surroundings to meet their basic needs. We combine technical knowledge with compassionate outreach to reach the community's goals. You too can change the world by donating.


 
 

Current Projects

 
International site

International Team

The International Team works on water and structural projects in Central and South America. Currently, there are two projects in Peru; portable alpaca shelters and biosand filters. In summer 2020 we hope to do a final monitoring trip for our alpaca shelters and an assessment trip for water filters. We are opening 2 new projects this year.

Read more about the International Team

Domestic team

Domestic Team

The Domestic Team has been working on many exciting projects for the Navajo Nation community. They are beginning to work on a greenhouse and waterline design. The outcome of this project will provide the Navajo Nation community with a place to grow their own food and teach younger generations about the importance of agricultural traditions. The Domestic Team is excited to continue making a difference in the lives of people right here in Utah.

Read more about the Domestic Team

Meeting Times


Mexico Team Meeting

Wednesdays
ENGR 302
6 pm

 

International 2019

The International Team is currently working in two areas, central Mexico and southern Peru. The Mexico subsection of the team installed 15 biosand filters in the rural community of La Salitrera between 2015-2017. There is currently a travel ban for Guanajuato state which prohibits any EWB-USA affiliated team traveling at this time. The team hopes to return to the area once the ban is lifted to continue working with this community assessing further water potability or distribution needs. The members of the Peru subsection are involved with two projects in a region of small communities in southern Peru. There are high levels of arsenic in the drinking water in this area and the team is working with the community to design a cost-effective, efficient water filter for individual households. Biosand filters and ceramic filters are being investigated for the design. The second project is in collaboration with the alpaca herders in the area. Over the past few years, the team has designed and implemented portable alpaca shelters to protect the mothers and their young from harsh weather conditions. It has been wildly successful, reducing the newborn alpaca mortality rate by 90%. The team plans on making some minor changes to the design to increase durability and portability.

international 2019 section
domestic 2018 section

Domestic 2018

The Engineers Without Borders Domestic Team works on engineering projects with the Navajo Nation community in Southern Utah. The team loves learning about the culture of the Navajo Nation community and meeting many different people along the way.
Last year, the Domestic Team designed a water line and fill station that will supply water to members of the Naatsis'aas Chapter. They used drafting tools such as AutoCAD to design the water system. The Domestic Team is currently working on a greenhouse and waterline design. The outcome of this project will provide the Navajo Nation community with a place to grow their own food and teach younger generations about the importance of agricultural traditions. There is potential for the Domestic Team to expand this project in future years.
The Domestic team has exciting, fast paced projects. They start and finish a project within the span of one year, which gives team members the opportunity to learn about the whole engineering process. There is also plenty of opportunity for networking on this team because of their close relationship with professional engineers and engineering firms.

5K
April 2020

Registration

Domestic 2017

The Domestic Team is working with the Navajo Mountain Chapter in southern Utah to construct a secondary water distribution system. Historically, water was collected and transported from a spring located on Navajo Mountain to the community at the foot of the mountain. A wildfire in 2006 impacted the spring, and due to erosion and soot, the water was no longer potable. Drinking water is now supplied via a pipeline from another community nearby and is limited. Farming has ceased in the area, and while ranching is still possible, water must be transported from wells hundreds of miles away from the community.
During the last assessment trip soil samples were taken to determine clay content and the fill tank was measured. The flow rate through the existing pipeline was also measured. The team is working with the engineering firm Jones & DeMille and Hank Stevens, the Chapter President, to design the fill stations and the settling pond, and will provide training to the residents on how to use the software tracking the station’s water usage.

Peru 2018

The Peru Team has worked in conjunction with the Chijnaya Foundation to improve water availability and quality in Tuni Grande, a small community in the Puno region of the southern Peru Altiplano since 2011. During site visits for another project, the team collected water samples at a few wells and tested them for arsenic. Arsenic was detected in the water, which spurred interest in also providing water treatment for community members in Tuni Grande. Several assessment trips, with varying degrees of thoroughness, were conducted. Community members were educated about the dangers of long-term exposure to arsenic and gained an interest in water filtration. In the meantime, an alpaca shelter project (structures - project 726) was also conducted by the team in La Union.
The team decided to research ceramic filtration as a solution to the arsenic problem. In 2017, the team observed manufacturing techniques of, and collected clay samples from, various ceramicists in Choquehuanca and Pucara (neighboring towns), distributed water testing results to residents of Tuni Grande, and collected more water samples from existing and new wells.

Peru 2017

The Peru Team has been working on alpaca shelters in La Union, Peru since 2013. As the weather gets colder, many of the baby alpacas and sheep die, which severely impacts the farmers’ livelihoods. 
The team designed special shelters that are portable, sturdy, made from locally-available materials, and easy to assemble and repair. Once they had a preliminary design, the team traveled to La Union in 2015 to build the first prototype. Over the next year, the community tested the prototype and provided feedback so the design could be refined. In 2016, the team helped the community install three more shelters using the updated design, purchased the materials to build eight more, and provided the community with instructions to assemble the shelters. The shelters are made of an aluminum frame with a canvas tarp covering and are staked into the ground.
During summer 2017 the team wants to improve the design of the shelter doors, which don't go all the way to the ground. In addition, the team wants to help the community to build many more shelters, and make any repairs or adjustments needed to the existing shelters.
Read about the 2016 trip

Peru 2017

Peru 2015

In May 2015, the team traveled to La Union, Peru to implement a portable alpaca shelter that would aid the families of that region in better protecting and raising their livestock. On average a family in this area loses over 50% of their newborn alpaca, a major source of income to the community, every year due to exposure to harsh conditions. This loss greatly affects the poverty of the individual families as well as that of the community as a whole.
Everyone on the Peru Team worked exceptionally hard to engineer a solution that could facilitate these constraints. In the end, a strong aluminum system was decided upon. When combined with a number of rope supports added strategically, the structure was both strong and durable while also minimizing materials. Our prototype was a portable shelter, capable of withstanding 60 mph winds and up to 1 meter of snow loads. One shelter costs less then $650.
This project is our contribution to a larger effort taken on by the Chijnaya Foundation to increase the economic productivity and value of this region’s alpaca herds. 
Read more about the 2015 trip 
Read about the 2013 trip

Mexico 2017

The small agricultural town of La Salitrera, México is home to about 100 people. The community has few water sources, including the river that runs through the village and a couple of wells. The most reliable well is two miles west of the town itself. Usually, La Salitrera receives water from the well every three days, but at times it has gone without water for extended periods. Besides lacking a constant water source, the village’s water is often contaminated with arsenic and bacteria.
Starting in 2009, the Mexico Team has worked with the community members to come up with a solution to their water issues. Biosand filters use layers of gravel and sand, and a layer of microorganisms, called a biofilm, to treat the water.
Typically, biosand filters don’t remove arsenic from water, so EWB-USU Team Mexico had to modify them using locally available materials such as concrete, washed sand, PVC pipes, and rusty nails. The nails were used to rid the water of arsenic by placing them on a diffuser plate which allowed clean water to pass through.
Read about the 2016 trip

Mexico 2015

In May 2015 the Mexico Team traveled to Guanajuato, Mexico where they met with CHOICE humanitarian representatives. The team settled in different community houses and collected water samples from all the existing biosand filters in order to start testing water quality. Together with community members, they sieved and washed the sand for filters.
Team Mexico continued to gather water samples from the houses that already had biosand filters and performed more quality testing on the filter influent and effluent water. At the same time, the team and other community members prepared the inner cardboard tubes to be used in construction; the team demonstrated the setup for the community members and answered questions.
The EWB Mexico team gathered all the community members that owned/would own a biosand filter and gave a general education class.
Read more about the 2015 trip
Read about the 2014 trip
Read about the 2013 trip
Read about the 2012 trip
Read about the 2011 trip

Mexico 2008

The Gabriel House Orphanage houses approximately 40 children with severe developmental and physical disabilities as well as children who are HIV positive. One-third of the children are in wheelchairs. The orphanage is in need of many improvements, including wastewater treatment, showering facilities, recreation/play areas for the children, a school, and better housing. There is no government support for the care of the children, and they do not attend public school.
We are partnered with the Utah State University (USU) Department of Communicative
Disorders and Deaf Education (ComDDE). These volunteers are returning to the Gabriel House
to provide linguistic and speech pathology support. USU also has a grant from Mariner S. Eccles Foundation to fund several interdisciplinary student teams to develop innovative assistive
technologies for individuals with disabilities, such as changing tables, swings, rocking platforms, and a device to lift children from beds to provide muscular stimulation and facilitate transfer to wheelchairs. 
Read about the 2009 trip

Uganda 2008

Construction of a new girl's dormitory will be supervised by the team, but contracted out to local builders. An internet connection will be installed right on-location at the school via radio transmission from a nearby seminary. A few laptop computers have been donated and will be installed for access to the internet and distance education opportunities. The doctor's clinic, which currently resides in a tiny portion of a room, will be expanded into other classrooms to provide an infirmary and additional work space for the doctor to care for the children. And lastly, additional exterior security lights will be installed.

Read more about our work in Uganda

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is the purpose of EWB-USU?

The purpose of the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders at Utah State University is to identify and solve engineering and humanitarian problems for impoverished communities at home and abroad.

The principal activities include:

  • Supplying clean water
  • Providing alternative energy (solar power)
  • Improving sanitary conditions
  • Enhancing educational programs & awareness
  • Assisting with tasks requested by the local people

How will EWB-USU benefit me as a student?

Mexico Electronics

Chapter activities will give you hands-on experience that can’t be duplicated in the classroom. This is especially true if you are an engineering student, but students of other majors can also receive great experience.

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to fill humanitarian needs for communities locally as well as in developing countries. Not only will this look great on your resume, you’ll also feel great inside. Participating in EWB-USU will help you become more aware of future contributions you can make to society.

Do I need to be an engineer?

No. Problems in different countries are complex, including, but not limited to:

  • Engineering infrastructure
  • Social impacts & considerations
  • Economic factors & analysis
  • Report writing
  • Multi-lingual communication

We encourage students of all different majors to contribute their different skills to help in these projects. For example, a journalism student came with us to Uganda and put together an amazing video for EWB-USU.

LaSalitrera Kids

How can I volunteer if I'm not a student?

Llama Shelter Setup

EWB-Utah State needs help in a variety of areas including:

  • Technical designs
  • Project organization and logistics
  • Mentoring the students during the project planning process
  • Traveling with a team (every student team needs to be accompanied by a mentor)

If you would like to volunteer, please contact us at ewbusu@gmail.com

How does EWB-USU select projects?

Communities working with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) develop a project application/plan that is submitted to EWB-USA. Student and professional chapters around the country can then select a community and project they want to work with. Before taking on a project, chapters decide whether they have the necessary expertise, enough student members to assist with the project, and funding sufficient for the project and requested scope.

TuniGrande team photo

Does EWB-Utah State focus on humanitarian assistance as well as technical development?

TuniGrandePpl

Most definitely! We recognize that our main mission is humanitarian, and that technology accompanied by goodwill is an effective way of accomplishing everyone's goals.

Videos

pictures of sponsors from previous 5K