Engineers Without Borders-USA began in 2000 by Professor Bernard Amadei with the goal of creating positive change for developing communities through the combined efforts of students, faculty, professional engineers and community members. The CU chapter was the first in the organization that has now grown to include EWB-USA and has 206 chapters and 130+ projects in 34 countries, with 4000+ members.
To partner with developing communities to improve their quality of life through the implementation of environmentally sustainable, equitable, and economical engineering projects. In the process of working to advance developing communities, EWB promotes the development of globally aware and internationally responsible students and professionals. Our chapter at the University of Colorado at Boulder was the first chapter of EWB-USA created by Professor Bernard Amadei. Since its inception in 2001, the chapter, consisting of entirely students with faculty mentors, has had projects in Peru, Rwanda, Belize and Nepal and is currently still working in Peru,Rwanda, and Nepal.
The story is simple and inspiring. It was 2000, in a Boulder, Colorado, backyard. Two men, Angel Tzec, a landscaper and representative of the Belize Ministry of Agriculture and Bernard Amadei, a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder met by chance and a friendship born. Small talk led to big change. Tzec invited his new friend, Dr. Amadei to visit his village in San Pablo, Belize, which was desperately in need of clean water.
There was no electricity, running water or sanitation. Dr. Amadei was stunned to see little children carrying water all day long from a nearby river. "I knew that, as a civil engineer, there had to be something I could do." Was it fate? Or just a prime example of how an emerging leader comes to life?
Amadei returned with eight University of Colorado-Boulder students and Denis Walsh, a civil engineering expert from Boulder, Colorado. By working together with the local community, this team installed a clean water system powered by a local waterfall. Simple, sustainable and low-cost, the entire project was completed for $14,000. As he harnessed the power of water, Dr. Amadei decided to harness the power of professional and student engineers to complete similar low-tech, high-impact projects in other developing countries. It was a success and the beginning of Engineers Without Borders USA.
Since its incorporation in 2002, EWB-USA has grown from approximately eight engineering students and a civil engineering professor to an organization of over 12,000 students, faculty and professionals. Today, EWB-USA's membership continues to grow, limited only by the organization's infrastructure and ability to ensure the quality and sustainability of the community programs.
Keep up with the latest news about the college by reading the 2013 issue of CUEngineering magazine online.