Wil Painter has been with the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Engineers Without Borders student chapter since 2010 as the technical mentor. Wil traveled on a total of eight trips abroad to the communities of Batey Cinco Casas and Batey Santa Rosa in the Dominic Republic and Gomoa Gyaman in Ghana. In Batey Cinco Casas, Wil was instrumental in the design and construction of a hurricane resistant roof for a medical clinic which entirely enclosed the structure, allowing for installation of necessary medical equipment and overnight patient care. Another project for the medical clinic was the construction of a septic system which, in addition to the roof, allowed the hospital to expand more services to more patients. In Batey Santa Rosa, ventilated pit latrines were constructed to help relieve the community of the sanitation issues they faced.
The impact Wil Painter has made on the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology as well as in the communities of Batey Santa Rosa and Batey Cinco Casas in the Dominican Republic, and in the community of Gomoa Gyaman in Ghana will be felt forever. His generosity and technical expertise during the eight trips abroad from 2010 to 2014 allowed the student chapter to gain national recognition among academic and professional institutions. His contributions were invaluable to both the students he mentored and to the communities he served. We are all so grateful for Wil’s involvement with EWB and cannot thank him enough for his selfless dedication.
Roger Ward, a Rose-Hulman alumni, will be taking over as our new technical mentor effective immediately. Roger has extensive experience in the field of civil and environmental engineering as well service projects through the EWB-Indianapolis Professional Chapter. We are thankful for Roger’s willingness to be a part of our organization and we look forward to working with him!
As the 2014-2015 school year is drawing to a close, we would like to take time to thank all of our outstanding graduating seniors! We are incredibly thankful for all that each of you have contributed to EWB-RHIT over the years and we hope you found the deep enlightenment associated with helping those less fortunate than us. Whether you traveled abroad with EWB or not, we hope you realize the impact that each of you made on those in the communities we served.
We would also like to take this time to thank a special individual. Few members have devoted more of their time and energy into EWB-RHIT than our past president, marketing team manager, and treasurer, Jung Fang. Originally from China, Jung joined EWB his freshman year and made an immediate impact within the club. Jung traveled to the Dominican Republic his freshman year to implement latrines for the community of Batey Santa Rosa. Jung was also selected to travel on the implementation trip to Ghana last summer but was unfortunately unable to travel as the trip was cancelled due to health and safety risks in West Africa during last summer. Jung will be graduating this spring with a degree in chemical engineering and will be attending Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall to pursue his PhD. We wish Jung the best of luck at Georgia Tech and in all of his future endeavors. Jung is a valued member of EWB and his involvement has been critical to the club’s success over the years. We are all sad to see him go but excited for his future! Thanks again, Jung!
From February 28 to March 1, seven students and our advisor John Aidoo had the opportunity to attend the EWB Great Lakes Regional Spring Workshop at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The two day conference included participants attending the 2015 Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit, a dinner and discussion with members of other EWB chapters, and a Village Earth training session.
Club members spent the first day of the conference at the Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit (APTE). The summit, which is held every year at Ohio State University, explores topics of social entrepreneurship in order to “educate and inspire future change makers.” This year’s summit featured seven speakers. First to present, setting the pace for the rest of the summit, was Jim Ziolkowski. Ziolkowski is the founder of BuildOn, an organization focused on empowering youth through service and breaking the cycle of poverty through education. He was followed by Jennifer Jin, an MIT Fellow, and Joe Degloss, the founder of Hot Chicken Takeover. Following lunch, the final four speakers presented, starting with Quijano Flores, the Co-founder of NextDrop. Next up was the inspirational Demetri Patitsas, the founder of Exela Ventures. Our chapter members learned a lot from his presentation including that “you can start making a difference before you’re 35” and “passion is what you are willing to struggle for.” The final two speakers of the summit were Bita Diomande, an MIT Fellow, and C. Nicolas Desrosiers, the Co-founder Qorax Energy. Our EWB members left the summit feeling inspired and with reassurance that each of us does of the ability to make an impact on the world.
Later that evening, students from EWB chapters across the Great Lakes Region met to discuss the APTE Summit. Chapters represented included the University of Toronto, Michigan Tech, Youngstown State and the University of Cincinnati. Our club members spent the evening sharing stories and ideas with each other about how to better connections between chapters, how to improve connections with our regional steering committee, and what members would like to see at the next workshop.
On Sunday, club members attended a Village Earth training session on community mobilization. The morning was spent learning about personal empowerment and the outcomes of promoting personal empowerment. Students also learned about the history of development through discussing the dependency and modernization theories. Despite being snowed in and having to remain in Columbus an extra evening, students learned a lot at the conference as well as bonded over exploring a college campus that is much larger than our small Rose-Hulman community.
Charity races are on the rise in the U.S. It’s an excellent opportunity for people to be healthy and get to know the host organizations at the same time. Engineers Without Borders hosted a 5K on October 18th, 2014 to raise money for latrines in Ghana. A total of 19 runners, 3 walkers and 10 volunteers participated in the event. There were two alumni, Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery and Haaken Hagen-Atwell, who were past engineering team managers. Also, Dr. John Gardner, who is a Spanish faculty and Dr. John Aidoo, a Civil Engineering faculty, participated in the event.
The winner, Andreas Maher, finished in 17 minutes and 6 seconds and the top five runners received a $15 gift card from Road Id. The event was a success, and people had the opportunity to be engaged with the EWB project. The club was able to interact with the local community and spread the word about what it does.
Dr. Kershaw and four EWB students attended the ASCE-EWB Global Engineering Conference in Panama City, Panama. This conference celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal. The conference was a great opportunity to learn more about the canal and other EWB projects around the world. The student Daniel Reyna shared his experience of their last day in Panama:
“Event: Friday Night at Cinta Costera”
“After our busy day at the conference, and visiting the Panama Canal, we all went out for dinner. We had dinner on the bay, and we had a beautiful view of the city off in the distance. After dinner, we were driving back to the hotel and we decided to stop to walk along Cinta Costera. This is a road that goes out into the water and formed a half circle with the land. The trail that was next to this road was very nice. It was a beautiful night, a slight breeze in the air, and the city was all lit up.”
“At the half way point, there are two circular platforms. We all sat there for a while and admired the city. Because this was our last night in Panama, I think we were all feeling a bit sad. We started taking pictures of each other and were playing around. We got to know each other very well throughout the week, and we were just having a good time telling each other funny stories from our past. Even Dr. Kershaw had some funny stories. This was honestly the perfect end to our trip. It was a nice yet sad walk back to the car. But it was time for us to get back to the hotel to pack, and get some rest before our flight in the morning.”
In September of 2014, Rose-Hulman Student Chapter was highlighted in Engineers without Borders-USA’s 2013 Annual Report for their work in Gomoa Gyaman, Ghana. This national recognition is an accomplishment to be proud of. Among all chapters that executed a grand total of 684 projects in 39 countries, only four student chapters are recognized in this report. This is a great start and a great momentum builder for the 2014-2015 academic year. Thank you and congratulations to everyone for their hard work and dedication to EWB.
EWB-USA is currently engaged in several projects, such as helping the community in El Salvador to get to impoverished areas by constructing new roads, helping Nicaraguan communities become more sustainable by implementing an agricultural projects, and building new schools in Togo that can change the future for many children. EWB’s projects around the world aim to help those communities that really need assistance. With everyone’s help, we can truly make a difference in the world.
Image retrieved from Engineers Without Borders USA’s 2013 Annual Report
Beginning in spring 2013, we are taking on local outreach projects through the Servants At Work (SAWs) ministry. These projects identify the need among people with disabilities for wheelchair ramps, since many receive wheelchairs through their healthcare but are left without easy access to their homes. Partnering with SAWs, we build wheelchair ramps to provide these people with improved mobility. SAWs provides the building materials and blueprints for each ramp, and we provide the construction labor. We have already assembled several ramps and plan to continue volunteering for projects as new needs arise.
Having finished our program in the Dominican Republic (which included the construction of a septic system and retrofitting an existing building with a hurricane proof roof to increase the quality and quantity of care provided by a medical clinic, as well as constructing latrines in a disease-ridden community nearby), our next program, starting this summer, will be in a brand new community. We will be returning to Ghana, this time to the community of Gomoa Gyaman, about 50 miles from our previous program in Obodan where we constructed a brooder house and a community center. Everyone is very excited about the prospects of this collaboration and we can’t wait to see what working together over the next 5 years will lead to!
The Gomoa Gyaman community has about 5,000 indigenous citizens and over 100,000 in the surrounding region. The community is primarily agrarian and has no major public infrastructure except for a school, church, and public market square. They lack key infrastructure that will help them realize their mission to provide opportunities for development for the community members. The elders, in conjunction with the traditional leaders and Gomoa Gyaman Youth Association, have concluded that four public latrines strategically located throughout the community will curb the health and environmental hazards of improper disposal of human waste.
Sanitation is critical to the welfare of this community and the provision of compost latrines will go a long way to improve the health of the community as a whole as well as provide fertilizer for their crops. A healthy community will lead to more productive citizens and improve the wealth of all. Other possible future projects with this community include a solar-powered library, a senior secondary school, and a health clinic which would further augment the health and education of community members.
While this is a large undertaking, with a bigger scope than all of our previous projects, this collaboration will lead to a great experience for both parties. In order for this to be successful, we need your support. Traveling to Ghana costs roughly $1,600 per person, and in order to maximize the number of students who can benefit from this great opportunity to travel and work with people from a very different culture than their own, extra fundraising is necessary.
Our preliminary budget estimates that the upcoming assessment trip will cost roughly $13,900, allowing 6 students and our professional engineering mentor to travel to the community to learn about the community and their greatest needs, as well as to collect the necessary technical data relating to the design of the compost latrines.
Our second implementation trip to Batey Santa Rosa in the Dominican Republic took place at the end of February, 2013. Our project’s goal in Batey Santa Rosa is to build twelve latrines for the community, which will help limit the spread of fecal-born parasites and disease.
During our first implementation trip we constructed three latrines and over the next six months the community successfully built three latrines on their own, using the skills and knowledge that we taught them. The second implementation project was a one week trip where six students and two mentors inspected the latrines that they had built and then constructed three additional latrines; this brings the total number up to nine latrines, three shy of the project’s goal.
Next year we will return to inspect the final three latrines that the community plans to construct and will bring the project to a close as we begin the process of transitioning to our new project in Ghana.