By Hailey Mallendick, Senior Staff Writer
This week, Miami University celebrates engineers and all of the work they do for the global community. A big part of the engineering community on campus is Engineers Without Borders (EWB).
EWB is a nonprofit organization in which members dedicate their time and resources to helping foreign countries. This summer, it will begin a five year contract in Muramba, Rwanda.
The club was paired with the community through Engineers Without Borders USA, the national organization. They then signed the contract with the village to complete various projects to improve its quality of life. The first is a project to build a water tank for the local Munini Secondary School.
Sophomore Katie Byrnes is the club’s project manager for the upcoming Rwanda trip.
“Right now the kids at the school have to walk 800 meters to go get water from a spring and back, so we are putting a water tank down at the school and a pipeline will draw water,” said Byrnes.
The club has already finished plans for the water project. However, along with completing the project, they will need to teach the people of Muramba about the new water system.
“We like to make sure our projects are really sustainable,” said Byrnes.
Muramba currently has just one certified engineer, so in order to ensure the projects last, EWB created opertation and maintenance guides. They will also train several members in the village.
Byrnes is looking forward to the benefits of the water tank for the village.
“We want to improve the water supply and keep kids in school so that they aren’t walking a half-mile there and a half back just to get water,” said Byrnes.
Aside from planning how to implement the project, EWB still has to select the members who will be traveling this summer. Members of the organization will apply to go on the trip and roughly three to four are selected by the executive board of the organization.
Senior Brandon Free is the vice president of projects for EWB and is looking forward to finding out who will be on the team going to Rwanda.
“I would love to travel on this trip,” said Free.
When they find out who is traveling, they will have to make sure they have the funds to send the selected members to Rwanda.
Junior Halle Miller is the new president of the chapter and has the responsibility of making sure everything is in order.
“I was the project manager of the Ecuador program last term,” said Miller. “[This semester] I help to organize our overall budget. I will be helping to obtain the funds for three or four students to [travel] as well as assisting in the travel team selection process.”
Much of the money that the club raises comes from fundraising, ASG funding and grants.
“It does get pretty expensive and that’s the hardest part,” said Byrnes.
The club has a fundraiser coming up this week, on Thursday, Feb. 25.
“We have our trivia competition called ‘Battle of the Brains’ for engineers week,” said Byrnes.
In addition to finishing up the planning for the current trip, EWB is already thinking of future projects.
“From this upcoming trip we hope to have a water storage tank installed and an additional pipeline added,” said Miller. “We will also be assessing the potential for future projects in the areas of latrines and biogas.”
With about 50 members in the Miami chapter, EWB seeks to help people both internationally and domestically.
“Really, we just love to see higher standards of living for the village,” said Byrnes. “Our overarching goal, is to create a higher standard of living through our projects.”