Rotary Supports Engineering Project in Bolivia

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Rotary Supports Engineering Project in Bolivia

The Fairfield Rotary Club, in collaboration with the La Paz Sur, Bolivia Rotary Club, successfully secured a $37,500 Global Grant to support Fairfield University’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) – USA student chapter.

The grant will support the development of sand filters for drinking water treatment to serve the Unidad Academica Campesina, Carmen Pampa (UAC-CP), a university founded in the 1990s to provide university bachelor’s degrees to first generation poverty-level students, as well as the community of Carmen Pampa, Bolivia.

Faculty and students in SOE have been pursuing the enhancement of Bolivia’s water source since their earliest work there in 2013. In that short period of time, the project has created positive health benefits for UAC-CP students. After the first chlorination unit was installed, a health condition survey indicated a 50 percent reported reduction in stomach distress. The Fairfield University Engineering School group, has collaborated with South Dakota State University’s EWB – USA student chapter on the projects.

Bruce Berdanier, PhD and dean of the School of Engineering, said, “We are grateful for this grant support from Fairfield Rotary, Orange Rotary, LaPaz Rotary and Rotary International. This program at UAC-CP has seen great success since EWB – USA SDSU started working there in 2011, but there are still several more projects to do related to improving drinking water and sanitation. Thanks to this year’s project grant, more progress will be made in improving the drinking water quality for the UAC – CP and the Carmen Pampa community.  Collaborative ties between SDSU and Fairfield University will be strengthened, and our Jesuit mission and vision will be enhanced as our students continue to make a global difference.”

This year’s plan for the on-going project seeks to include a wide variety of motivated students for the task at hand.

“Students will provide project design and field implementation support for the project over the next 18 months through EWB – USA Fairfield University student chapter’s collaboration with South Dakota State University students,” said Dr. Berdanier. Fairfield students have been working with SDSU students at the site in Bolivia for the past two years on sand filter project development, drinking water education, and construction of chlorination equipment. The Rotary funding includes activities for K-12 and community education to strengthen the local knowledge about clean water and sanitation.  EWB membership is open to all interested Fairfield University students.

As the University makes its way into its second year of an campus-wide focus on Water-themed events, courses, projects, and discussions, The School of Engineering continues to be a leader in showing the ways in which engineers can create better ways of making clean water accessible for everyone.

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