I had the chance to sit down with President of Engineers Without Borders and junior Kevin Fogarty to discuss the club and what it type of work they do on campus and abroad.
In short, what is Engineers Without Borders?
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) partners with communities within developing countries in order to improve their quality of life through engineering projects. This club follows the project from application to final implementation, including assessment of the region and sustainable design work for the communities needs.
What are your club’s primary objectives?
We aim to provide an environment where students can apply their education to real-world problems in an internationally responsible and globally beneficial way. In other words, we hope that members can apply what they learn in the classroom, learn from our professional mentors, and make a difference in a community that needs help.
Do you have to be an Engineer to join?
Not at all. While the actual design of the project may be easier and more interesting to an engineer, one main goal of EWB is to make projects sustainable for the region we are building it in and fulfill their wishes as realistically as possible. The project also doesn’t pay for itself and the whole cost can’t be put on the community itself. Any major can find a fit in EWB and be extremely useful to the team.
What sort of projects are EWB involved in?
In celebration of the second Hunger Games movie, Engineers Without Borders is having our 1st annual UR Hunger Games.The event will be on Nov. 15-16, each day teams of four or five will face of in a challenge of physical or mental ability. At the end of each challenge, weaker teams will be eliminated. And the victors will be rewarded with fame, glory and prizes.
The cost is $25 for a team of four or five, but if you think you have what it takes to win with a lesser number of teammates it is $7 per player.
All proceeds go directly to EWB’s upcoming water project.Any questions can be sent to Odelia Ryan.
What are some programs that EWB has put on in the past year?
While applying for projects abroad, EWB has held many global themed fundraisers and events. Last fall we brought in Carl Wilkens, the only American that chose to stay in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994, to talk about his experiences during that time and about his organization World Outside My Shoes. We also hold two annual fundraisers, the Fly to South America fundraiser and Water Week. Fly to South America has been a raffle-like race where the winner is picked randomly from the class year that has the most money donated. Water Week is a week that we put on to raise awareness concerning access to clean water. It is a massive problem globally, and developed countries can easily make a difference with technology already available to us.
Does EWB do development work abroad?
Yes. The primary goal of EWB is to complete projects in developing countries. We obtained a project in Kenya to build access to clean water year round to a village of over 1,000 people. Unfortunately, due to Kenya’s recent turmoil and travel restrictions, we were forced to cancel the project. Our mentor has years of experience with water systems and water filtration abroad, so currently we are applying to projects in the Dominican Republic, The Gambia, and Cameroon, all of which have problems with access to clean water.
How did you get involved with the club?
Freshman year I saw EWB at the club fair and I thought making an impact in a developing nation using the skills I planned on learning through school would be amazing. Once I started attending meetings I saw the leadership opportunities and relatively new status of the club as a chance to expand my participation. EWB is a great group of people and everyone has a shot at leadership positions. There are so many great benefits to joining EWB, such as expanding your education within college and networking with professionals and students with the same interests as you.
Where would you like to see the club in five years?
All of my goals for this year revolve around getting projects going and making EWB one of the most popular clubs on campus. In five years, I would love to see a couple completed projects being regularly checked on to make sure the community is able to sustain them. Some of the bigger chapters actually have the resources to take on multiple projects at a time, which would be amazing to see in five years from now. I know global service and engineering are huge here at UR, so these goals are all realistic once the group catches on.
Brady is a member of the class of 2015.