“During my four years in EWB, I had the opportunity to go on two implementation trips in the Dominican Republic. The first trip involved building a roof for the health clinic Centro Medico in 2010, where we collaborated with the Indianapolis-based group Architects for Humanity. In the second trip in 2011, we continued our work at Centro Medico by constructing a septic system to accommodate the clinic’s expansion. I was heavily involved in the planning and preparation for both trips, as I served as a project manager from fall 2010-spring 2011 and as president from fall 2011-spring 2012.
Implementation trips usually last about 1.5 to 2 weeks, and that’s all the time the team gets to complete the project. If the team doesn’t finish the project during that time, it’ll be another several months before returning, so there’s a lot of pressure to use time wisely and get the job done. During trips, problems always come up—whether it be re-designing something on-the-spot, having a mini financial crisis when supply costs go over projected values, a construction phase taking longer than expected, weather, etc.
During the septic system trip, Hurricane Irene came through and tried to obliterate any chance that we had to get the project done. On most days, heavy afternoon rains prevented us from doing any productive work and filled our hand-dug 1200 gallon pit with water (which was soon dubbed the clinic swimming pool). For a little while, some of us had to pail the water out manually (opposite of fun). A triumphant moment was when one of the guys on the Dominican work crew got the pesky water pump to finally work!
Of all the clubs and organizations I participated in during college, EWB was by far my most memorable and accelerated my personal and professional growth. I strongly believe that members that stick with EWB will have a similar perspective once they graduate.”
-Angelica Patino, Biomedical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Class of 2012
“I had the opportunity to travel 3 times with EWB. My favorite aspect of the trips was interacting with community members and getting a tiny glimpse of a day in their lives. These experiences made me really think about how much we (the first world) take for granted such as clean water, plenty of food, a safe and dry home, etc. Every time we returned home, I felt empowered to help the third world obtain these basic human necessities.
After an entire year of preparations and a couple weeks of intense physical labor, we enjoyed seeing the fruits of our labor and feeling that sense of accomplishment when we completed the seemly insurmountable tasks, but nothing compares to moment when we realized the true effect of our work. We may not have saved the world or even so much as a village, but knowing that somewhere far away there is at least one person whose quality of life we enhanced, is the best feeling of all.”
-Abby Grommet, Chemical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Class of 2012
My favorite part of the trips is seeing the people that all your work is helping and how that memory stays with you. Actually seeing the people, especially the kids, who are going to have a better life because of all the work you have done, that sticks with you. I will always remember the people I helped and the friends I worked with to help them. Now that I am graduated, I still vividly remember the work we did to prepare for those trips, the people I worked with, and the faces we met.
EWB played a major role in getting my first internship and the job I have now. I was recruited by GE while presenting about EWB at the opening of a new research building. I talked almost exclusively about EWB in my interviews with TI and presented about EWB during my on-site interview.
EWB offers the opportunity to work as a team on engineering project that is needed by real people with a different culture, is vastly different from anything we learn about in classes, and needs skilled leadership because of the range and magnitude of work that needs to be done. Overall, EWB is an opportunity to build the habits and skills to make you a well-rounded employee.”
-Alex Morelli, Physics and Electrical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Class of 2013