Thursday, April 30, 2015

Engineers Without Borders’ first 5k fundraiser exceeds expectations

On Saturday, 64 people ran a 5k course that looped around the Utah State University campus twice to show their support for Engineers Without Borders. The organization arranged the 5k to raise money for its upcoming humanitarian trips this summer, including building alpaca shelters in Peru and installing water filters in Mexico. This is the first time EWB has organized a 5k as their annual fundraiser.

“Originally I didn't think we would get as many sponsorships and that we would get more people,” said Conner Simmons, a EWB member who organized the event. “As I got planning it, I quickly learned that getting 50 people there was going to be a task.”

The fun run proved to be a successful fundraiser in the end, although the lack of initial interest discouraged the board members.
“Five days before registration closed we had only six people signed up,” Simmons said. “64 people ended up running, which exceeded our expectations.”

EWB was gifted with 10 different prizes from generous donors, including gift cards to S.E. Needham, the Silver Pickle, Gold’s Gym and Macey’s. Water was also donated by Culligan.
“It was a bit funny that we ended up with a lot of jewelry donations this year,” said Laurie McNeill, EWB club mentor. “Those were the first prizes to get chosen by the winners, so they ended up being a popular prize.”

Board members of EWB are grateful to all participants and donors, and are excited to have found a method of fundraising that works well.
“We’ve had so many ideas just flop,” Simmons said. “We think we have found something good. Next year we will probably lower prices and pursue more sponsorships.”

After all expenses were withdrawn, the 5k raised a total of almost $2,400.

EWB to host 5k Fundraiser

This year, the Utah State University chapter of Engineers Without Borders will be hosting a 5k on April 10 as its annual fundraiser. Heading the 5k is club member Conner Simmons, who answered a few questions to raise awareness about the event.

-What is your official title/involvement with EWB?
 I am the fundraising coordinator. I am a member of the Peru team, but do fundraising for the whole club.

 -Is this the first 5K that the EWB has done as a fundraiser?
 If so, why did you choose it? If not, how is it different? 
This is our inaugural 5K event. We have had so many different fundraising ideas over the past and most have failed. We decided we wanted something that we could get going and repeat for years to come. We chose it because EWB-USA Mountain Region has set up a guidebook for us to follow. Arizona State University did one a few years back and they did a great job. We are using them as an example to make this event a success.

-How much money do you hope to raise? 
We hope to make $2,000 to $-3,000 dollars this year. This includes money from sponsors and entry fees. It costs $15 per person. We hope we can make more in years to come as we get the event’s name out there.

 -Where exactly is the money going? 
It goes to our club's account, which covers all our costs from building prototypes to traveling down to Peru and Mexico to implement water filters and alpaca shelters.

 -Any additional information you want to provide? Invite everyone you know to the event!! 

 For more information on the club and to register, go to 

EWB.USU.EDU

Portable Alpaca Shelters

Drop for Drop

Facts on water

Experiment with Periscope

World Water Day

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Peru Team

Member Spotlight: Chase Spencer


Spotlight: Chase Spencer
This week we are spotlighting a member of Utah State University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders - Chase Spencer.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: “Never, never, never give up” - Robert Spencer (my father) and Winston Churchill
Q: Where are you from? Why did you choose USU?
A: I was born in Seattle, but claim Salt Lake City as my home. I originally chose to come to Utah State because it is close to the mountains and offered me a scholarship.
Q: What is a phobia you have?
A: Dr. Taylor’s exams.
Q:  How did you hear about EWB and why did you join the club?
A: I first heard about EWB from the posters hanging up in the Engineering building. I thought it would be fun to see what their meetings were like (not to mention take advantage of the free food at their opening social) and know if there was a possibility of me traveling with them. The idea of designing something and implementing it in another country was very appealing. I found their biofilter project particularly interesting and before long I was contributing significantly to their designs.
Q: What year in school are you and what is your major? What made you want to go into that field?
A: I’m a senior in biological engineering. I believe there are problems in the world that can only could be solved through an intersection of medicine and engineering. The challenges that the field faces are both daunting and exhilarating. I love the way biological engineering demands versatility and an ability to critically think and communicate across multiple disciplines.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation I plan on being accepted to a masters program in biomedical engineering with an emphasis in medical device design.
Q: What is your dream job and why?
A: My dream job is one in which I can work in an interdisciplinary team to continually explore new ways to improve medical systems or methods. I enjoy working with people who have different perspectives and backgrounds from me.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories from being a part of EWB?
A: On the first day in the community during our last trip to Mexico, Javier (the man whose family I stayed with), offered me a variety of small peppers from his garden. Thinking he didn’t believe we could stomach them and being willing to always try something new,  I started eating them raw one by one. I don’t need to tell you that they were extremely hot. When he came back and saw that I had been eating them raw he exclaimed, “You’re supposed to put them in a tortilla with the goat cheese, you idiot!” He was right of course, which I realized after not being able to see straight for several minutes.
Our last trip was during the rainy season and the river had swollen. Some days you couldn’t cross the river at all even though it had been bone dry during previous EWB trips. So once while I was stranded on the other side of the river I borrowed a horse from one of the families and used it to cross. I enjoy riding horses but riding bareback across the swollen river in rural Mexico was definitely a highlight.
One night a baby mouse fell from the roof onto my friend Goyo who was sleeping next to me on a cot. It was very early in the morning and we couldn’t understand where the squeaking was coming from so we went back to sleep. The next morning he was astonished to find he had spent most of the night with an unannounced friend in his sleeping bag!
We also enjoy all of the EWB workshops that the team does here at the university. Designing, building, and destroying failed concrete filter prototypes off the dock of the engineering lab building is a lot of fun. The work we do with Outreach to local elementary schools is also very gratifying.
Q: Have you ever eaten anything weird on your  past EWB trips?
A: While working on the well monitoring system in Mexico, the local well manager and I had some free time to kill. He took my knife, plucked off a few pieces of ripe cactus and we carefully extracted the fruit from them for about an hour. The small unseen hair-like spines on the fruit wouldn’t have gone down smoothly. They tasted like inverted pomegranate seeds: mushy on the outside with a crunchy seed in the middle. IMG_20140822_100220_014.jpg

Q: Why is EWB such an important and influential group?
A: As engineering students at the university, we do a lot of design. However, not all of those designs actually get implemented or impact peoples lived directly. In the community of La Salitrera, where the Mexico team works, there are serious water quality issues of high chloroform counts and arsenic levels. These issues are serious. If the children in the community grow up with the current levels of arsenic (which is a new development in their well system) then they’ll have serious risks of cancer and other diseases. As students, the designs and work we do directly translates to making their lives better. This is not a “desk job” kind of club. We are hands-on and continually building prototypes and improving our designs because they make a difference. EWB gives students an opportunity to give back to the world and expand their perspective and skill set.
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Q: What have you learned from being a part of EWB that will continue to help you after graduation?
A: I’ve learned how to work on an interdisciplinary team with varying opinions and ideas. We write a lot of technical reports in order to go on these trips which is very important to practice now as engineering students. I’ve also learned how to design for the needs of a specific customer and how to communicate my designs to them (even in another language). The technical and humanitarian nature of these projects are worthy of any students time.
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Q: Where do you see the club in a few years and how can it be improved?
A: In a few years I see the club growing and creating an even greater impact in the communities it works with. The current team is more than double the size it was last year and this has lead to a flood of new ideas and improved efficiency. The club is carried on the backs of enthusiastic students and dedicated faculty mentors. Over the next few years I know we’ll see the ingenuity of students and guidance of experienced faculty applied to real problems and many new projects - not to mention seeing a real change in the health and stability of the communities we work with.
Q: Why should people join EWB?
A: All students, whether they are engineers or not, can benefit from EWB. If you want to expand your skill set by working with an interdisciplinary team, make meaningful memories as a student, connect with faculty and industry professionals, travel to exotic countries, and simply give back to the world then EWB is for you.
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Q: If you had a pet alpaca, what would you name it?

A: Kuzco. I know he was a llama but enough said.

Ten Countries you didn't know Engineers Without Borders volunteers in

Member Spotlight: Darianne Willey

Spotlight: Darianne Willey
This week we are spotlighting a member of Utah State University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Darianne Willey will be sharing some of her experiences and some fun facts about herself.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: If you could put everything Richard Dawkins has ever said into one large quote. That would be my favorite.
Q: Where are you from? Why did you choose USU?
A: I am from Boise, Idaho. I chose USU because of the location, affordability, opportunities, and because I could stick with my pal Dylan Filkins.
Q: What is a phobia you have?
A: I have submechanophobia, which is a deep fear specifically of man-made objects submerged in water. I am also terrified of large natural things in water but this is so rare that there isn’t a formal name for it.
Q:  How did you hear about EWB and why did you join the club?
A: I heard about EWB during a presentation in an orientation class from Dr. McNeill. My goal for beginning college was to try new things, and this one sounded like one I could really be passionate about, as opposed to something like Meditation Club, the memory of which still makes me uncomfortable.
Q: What year in school are you and what is your major? What made you want to go into that field?
A: I am a freshman majoring in Watershed and Earth Systems and Environmental Engineering. I really wanted a career that could directly impact and improve sustainability, something I am very passionate about.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation I think I want to go into the military, then join the Peace Corps, and then roam about doing whatever I feel like, kicking butt, taking names, and making the world a better place.
Q: What is your dream job and why?
A: My dream job would be a travelling-political-animal-and-human-rights-activist-Disney-animator-wetland-engineer-comedian-professional-basketball-player-hippie, because that would be awesome.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories from being a part of EWB?
A: A memory that I still laugh about was when, during a sincere discussion about chick-flicks while on our way to an outreach event, a team member explained he liked chick-flicks because he could smooch with his girlfriend, and Alan responded with, “If I have one regret in my life, it was hearing that.”
Q: Have you ever eaten anything weird on your past EWB trips?
A: Haven’t gone on any trips yet, but I’m vegan so everything I eat is weird, anyway.
Q: Why is EWB such an important and influential group?
A: EWB is important because it allows people to channel their yearning to serve people and to innovate into one creative outlet that will actually impact small communities. I think it serves as inspiration: If you can make a measurable positive impact in one small place while you’re in college, a person can really start to imagine what they can do in the future with more experience on larger scales.
Q: What have you learned from being a part of EWB that will continue to help you after graduation?
A: What has been most surprising to me is that I actually have good ideas. I’ve taken chances speaking and offering ideas and asking questions, and they are actually good comments, good ideas and good questions. Each meeting and workshop I’ve gained more confidence and I take this confidence to work, to class, and even places like physical therapy. Learning that I can and having faith that I can continue to make meaningful contributions is something I will be carrying with me till I keel over.
Q: Where do you see the club in a few years and how can it be improved?
A: Beneath me as I stand victoriously over it as the supreme overlord. Or, more likely, wrapping up our Mexico project and setting our sights on a new country with a new project.
Q: Why should people join EWB?
A: You will meet great, funny, smart people, and build your resume while you learn and have a great time.
Q: If you had a pet alpaca, what would you name it?
A: Probably Yzma, because, Disney.

Member Spotlight: Nathan Stacey

New member spotlight: Nathan Stacey

This week we are spotlighting one of EWB’s newest members, Nathan Stacey. He will be discussing why he joined EWB, the importance of the club and why others should join.

Q: Where are you from? Why did you choose USU?
A: I am from Idaho Falls, Idaho. I chose USU because they have a really good engineering program, I got offered a scholarship, and it’s close to home.
Q:  How did you hear about EWB and why did you join the club?
A: Over the summer I did an internship with the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation. One of the other interns in the program was Anellise Reynolds, who was the previous EWB USU Mexico Team Lead. She talked to me about EWB and encouraged me to come to the team meetings once school started up again.
Q: What year in school are you and what is your major? What made you want to go into that field?
A: I’m a Junior in the Mechanical and Aerospace program. I’ve always loved space and thought that it would be exciting to work with NASA or some private company on space shuttles or satellites.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduating I plan on pursuing a master’s at Utah State in Aerospace Engineering. After that I aspire to receive a PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Then I plan to work doing aerospace research.
Q: What is your dream job and why?
A: My dream job would be to do research for SpaceX. They are an innovative company striving to further our space travel abilities. It would be exciting to work with them on cutting-edge space technologies.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories from being a part of EWB?
A: My favorite memory from EWB so far was working with the Mexico Team to build a biosand filter during a workshop. It was great to see how well the event was organized and how well the team worked together. It was also the first time that I had actually seen a biosand filter being built. I learned a lot and got to know the members of the team a lot better.
Q: Why is EWB such an important and influential group?
A: EWB helps provide people around the world with their basic needs. It gives students the opportunity to apply the things they are learning in school to real life problems that have a huge impact on the communities they are working with.

Q: What have you learned from being a part of EWB that will continue to help you after graduation?
A: It has deepened my desire to use the skills and abilities that I am learning in school to help others. It has helped me learn that career satisfaction comes a lot from being able to help others through my work. It has also taught me a lot about working with others and communication.

Q: Where do you see the club in a few years and how can it be improved?
A: I think that there will be even more participation and support from the USU College of Engineering as students continue to become more aware of the projects we are working on and the impact that they have on others’ lives.

Q: Why should people join EWB?
A: When entering the workforce employers look not only for good grades, but also for experience. EWB gives students the chance to have real design and leadership experience. It also provides them with the opportunity to help others and make new friendships.

Q: If you had a pet alpaca, what would you name it?
A: If I had a pet alpaca I would name it Harry. Because it’s hairy...

Interested in joining EWB-USU? Attend a weekly team meeting or go to ewb.usu.edu for more information.

Our new domestic team!

Engineers Without Borders at Utah State University (EWB-USU) has long helped villagers in Mexico and Peru, but a new domestic team is start...