School of Engineering Awarded Funds to Found Engineers Without Borders Chapter
ASML, the high tech global corporation, has given Fairfield's School of Engineering $40,000 to establish a campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders/USA.
Engineers Without Borders/USA (EWB) is a nonprofit humanitarian organization similar to Doctors Without Borders, and its mission of service to communities in need is reminiscent of the Jesuit mission. It was established to support community programs worldwide through partnerships that implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences that enrich global perspectives and create responsible leaders. The organization works in 39 countries, undertaking such ventures as installing wells to provide clean drinking water and building bridges to help people gain access to schools and village markets.
Bruce Berdanier, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering, said an EWB chapter at Fairfield would welcome both undergraduates and graduate students. “Any student on campus can join, not just engineers,” he said. “We need many types of expertise including language skills, grant writing, advertising, engineering…”
For nearly two years, the School of Engineering has been collaborating with South Dakota State University’s EWB chapter on a water project in a rural farming community in Bolivia. The two schools have improved access to clean drinking water at the Unidad Academica Campesina, a branch university of the Catholic University in Carmen Pampa, an endeavor that has reduced stomach distress in the region. Efforts involved modifying chlorinators, a device that inactivates parasites, bacteria, and other organisms in drinking water that can lead to disease.
Additional international projects would likely be in the offing for Fairfield.
“The $8,000 per year [from ASML] over the next five years allows us to commit to travel with at least four students per year to work on projects, but we need more funds to actually operate, and we also need funds to build the projects,” Dr. Berdanier said.
ASML invents and develops complex technology for high-tech lithography machines for the semiconductor industry. Based in the Netherlands, ASML has plants all over the world, including one in Wilton, Conn., that contributed the funds. “Louis Lu is the vice president at ASML who is on our [School of Engineering] Advisory Board and announced the grant to us,” Dr. Berdanier noted. “Dr. Andrew Judge at ASML is managing the details of the grant with us. Shavinesh Sukesh will be the professional advisor from ASML to the EWB chapter.”
The School of Engineering has a long history of being civic-minded. Faculty and students have built web sites for non-profits, for example, and the School hosts a free Saturday program to help Bridgeport high school students learn about computing.
Image: School of Engineering students have been collaborating with South Dakota State University’s Engineers Without Borders chapter on a drinking water project in Bolivia.