Engineering For Developing Communities Is Focus Of New CU-Boulder Undergraduate Degree Track

Published: April 4, 2006

Undergraduate students in civil and environmental engineering who want to use their skills and knowledge to help people in the developing world can now follow an approved curriculum at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The new Bachelor of Science degree track in Engineering for Developing Communities integrates sustainability, appropriate technology, renewable energy, international education and development, business, health and humanities with the traditional curriculum in civil and environmental engineering.

"EDC presents a unique opportunity for educating a new generation of engineers who can contribute to the relief of the endemic problems faced by developing communities worldwide," Amadei said. "The program contributes to meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and involves all three components of engineering education: education, research and development, and outreach or service."

Dozens of CU-Boulder engineering students already have participated in humanitarian outreach or service projects through Engineers Without Borders-USA, a nonprofit organization also founded by Amadei. These projects, which are extracurricular in nature, include partnering with developing communities such as San León, Peru, and Muramba, Rwanda, to meet critical needs for drinking water, sanitation and sustainable energy

During a January 2006 trip to Rwanda, for example, CU students helped to install solar-powered lighting in the operating room of Mugonero Hospital, where it was used by visiting surgeons only a few hours later when a power failure took place during ongoing surgery.

The new undergraduate track provides an integrated curriculum for students interested in these areas and complements an existing graduate degree track in Engineering for Developing Communities, which is an option in the master's-doctoral degree program in environmental engineering. Engineering for Developing Communities also can be emphasized within the Building Systems Program at CU-Boulder.

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