Last week's TGIFIY included a preview introduction of Julie Bliss a junior at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and a very active member of the WPI chapter of Engineers Without Borders. This week Mickey Walker introduced Julie, along with three other WPI members of this impressive group: Chris Garceau, Emily Dudley, and Pat Sheppard.

 

The overall organization, Engineers Without Borders-USA, "supportscommunity-driven development programs worldwide through the design and implementation of sustainable engineering projects while fostering responsible leadership." (For more about EWB-USA, check their website: www.ewb-usa.org.)

 

The students' presentation centered on their project in the Guatemala village of Guachthu'uq, where they made an assessment, data gathering, and "listening" trip in the summer of 2010. Of the many problems facing the village families, smoke inhalation (caused by inadequate stoves), a lack of clean water access, and poverty were the greatest and serious threats to their quality of life and to life itself.

 

The WPI chapter response will include their first implementation trip in the summer of 2011 as part of a five year commitment. This responsibility will be a three-level initiative:

·         implement a pilot project for the stoves,

·         implement a pilot project for water catchment tanks,

·         develop a system for micro-financing within the village community.

They are also in contact with a local Guatemalan Rotary Club, which is about 40 minutes away.

 

This WPI student chapter has a membership of about 25, and they are in charge of their own fundraising as well. They have their own website: http://users.wpi.edu/~ewbwpi/ and email address: ewb-execs@wpi.edu. All together, they rate a deserving, "well done."

 

These four students not only represented their college and their EWB chapter extremely well, but may have planted a seed of future partnership or support. As Mickey pointed out, it could be an opportunity for the Yarmouth Rotary to link up with another Rotary Club or to participate in an international project as we weigh different options.