Group helps needy motivates new engineers

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When you think of volunteering, you probably think of canned food drives, nursing homes and home building. But a group called Engineers Without Borders-USA is taking volunteering to a new high.

With projects like improving drinking water for citizens and building irrigation systems for crops, Engineers Without Borders-USA makes a difference in people’s lives. Made up of student chapters based at universities across the United States, the organization seeks to implement sustainable engineering solutions and inspire new engineers in the process.

One group of students from the University of Colorado is designing and building a water system for a village in Rwanda. In a project conducted in May 2003, a team of six engineering students from the Colorado School of Mines at Golden worked alongside the villagers of San Pablo, Belize, to site a pair of solar panels and install the electrical wiring in a school, a church and other community buildings.

The nonprofit organization has coordinated humanitarian projects all over the world, including Thailand, Mali, Senegal, Peru and Afghanistan.

ASME, which provided partial funding for the Belize project, has teamed up with Engineers Without Borders to promote the involvement of ASME members and student members in future overseas projects. These projects are slated for fall 2004 and throughout 2005.

Next year, ASME and Engineers Without Borders will lead a coalition of technical societies and other organizations for Engineers Week 2005. ASME will facilitate communications with other engineering groups to organize project teams to support Engineers Without Borders’ endeavors around the world.

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