AMHERST, Mass. – To improve the lives of people in poor nations around the world has been a goal for many organizations. One organization that has been successful at this challenge, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), has launched a new chapter at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Interested individuals can attend the chapter''s next meeting on Thursday, April 28, at 4:30 p.m. in 211 Marston Hall. The chapter has 20 active members and a mailing list that reaches 100.
“Right now we''re mostly graduate students, but I''d like to get more undergraduates, faculty, staff and off-campus people involved,” says Bree Carlson, president. “Ideally, I like to have a really diverse group. You don''t even have to be an engineer.”
The first EWB chapter was created in 2001 by Bernard Amadei, a civil engineering professor at the University of Colorado. Bernard''s inspiration for creating EWB was initiated by his trip to Belize, where he headed a project to implement a water transportation and storage system for a Mayan village of 250. The system greatly improved life in the village, and it became the prototype for EWB. The organization''s goal is to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged communities using environmentally and economically sustainable projects.
EWB projects range from $5,000 to $60,000, with average expenses amounting to about $20,000. With those figures in mind, the UMass chapter is planning raffles along with other fund-raising activities, with additional aid from local businesses. Each project is chosen from a list developed by the central organization in Colorado. The campus chapter is interested in pursuing projects in the western African countries of Mali and Cameroon and on a Native American reservation in South Dakota.