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 Tuesday, April 27, 2004 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Engineers Without Borders Offers Tangible Results
By Allison Sylvest, with Vanessa Lozano

Mention the word engineer, and this is what typically comes to mind: Technical experts working on mysterious things with which the public rarely sees a direct connection.

Civil Engineering Professor Bernard Amadei topples that stereotype through his organization, Engineers Without Borders USA. He and several service-oriented colleagues and students travel around the world to provide disadvantaged communities with basic things like clean water, reliable power sources and sanitary living conditions.

"Traditionally engineers are seen as cold and technical, but they have as much compassion as anyone else," said Amadei.

Amadei is pioneering a shift in engineering education and practice called Earth Systems Engineering. The initiative is aimed at creating a correlation between engineering applications and a sustainable environment, and includes outreach services to developing communities worldwide.

Recently, a nine-member Engineers Without Borders USA group returned from a Spring Break trip to Muramba, Rwanda, where they surveyed a contaminated water system, installed battery-powered solar lighting systems, and instructed community members in the use of irrigation kits. Project teams will return to Muramba this summer to begin construction on a new water system.

Between teaching at CU-Boulder and his EWB work, Amadei is busy nearly 365 days a year. His commitment is buoyed by a basic belief in providing service to others.

"Helping people in the world, especially women and children who in my opinion have a very hard time on this planet, is not an option but an obligation," said Amadei. "Bringing awareness to students that the world is not like Boulder, Colorado is also important."

Amadei said he wants to create a new mindset among young people about service toward humanity.

"It's not only about doing well in what you do, it's about doing good," he said.

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