West Virginia University s Engineers Without Borders has helped with sustainable projects in Mexico and Nicaragua in recent years, but the groups next trip will be much closer to home.


On Sept. 9, EWB members will team with high school students in Monongalia County to build park benches in Krepps Dog Park in Morgantown. WVU engineering students have drafted plans for the benches and are seeking corporate and private sponsorships to fund the endeavor.


The groups mission is,to aid communities in developing clean water, electricity, infrastructure or anything else that may be done to improve quality of life,said Victoria Wheaton, who founded WVU s chapter in 2007 and served as its first president.


In 2008, seven EWB students traveled to Queretaro, a rural area on the outskirts of Mexico City, to build a greenhouse that would stimulate agricultural production. That same year, group members visited Nicaragua, where they assessed the water supplies of Rancho Grande and Cerro Verde and helped construct and install water filtration systems for local childrens feeding centers.


Lately, the focus of the groups missions has been in Morgantown and the surrounding area.


Selecting projects that will make the biggest impact with the least amount of people is key,said Rob Murphy, current EWB president.We select projects that can be completed efficiently by five to 10 students.


In 2008 EWB was contracted by the Canaan Valley Institute to conduct a feasibility study and cost analysis for a wastewater treatment system in Crumpler. Members also designed a rainwater catchment system for the WVU Challenge Course in order to produce clean water for restrooms and drinking. Both projects will be ready in the fall.


In recent months, EWB members have been working with the WVU Student Recreation Center to analyze energy usage in hopes of improving efficiency. Club members collaborated with a trained professional to perform an energy audit to asses the amount of energy being used by the facility. The results of this audit will be published in the next few months. The goal is to educate the centers members on how they can conserve energy.


The EWB organization is not exclusively for engineering majors,said Murphy.Because our projects are so detailed, we welcome students from a variety of disciplines. Combining the skills of students from diverse backgrounds really improves the results and productivity of the group.


Students interested in making a difference as an EWB member may contact Membership Coordinator Karon Wynne at kwynne@mix.wvu.edu .

The WVU chapter of Engineers Without Borders relies solely on donations to expand the organization and cover project expenditures. All donations are tax deductible and corporate sponsors receive recognition on the EWB Web site.

EWB handles all of its finances through the WVU Foundation, a private, non-profit organization. Please make all checks payable toWVU Foundation Inc.withEngineers Without Borderson the memo line. Checks may be sent to WVU Foundation, One Waterfront Place, 7th Floor, P.O. Box 1650, Morgantown, WV 26507 -1650.