Students flex engineering muscle with Engineers Without Borders

by Lainie Fraser, Staff Writer

San Diego State’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a nonprofit organization, works to create sustainable solutions for struggling communities internationally, domestically and locally.

Engineers Without Borders came to the San Diego State campus in 2007 when a group of humanitarian students decided it was their responsibility to help less fortunate communities.

According to the Engineers Without Borders website, the program has a vision of a world in which the people helped are given the resources to sustain life and their basic needs on their own. This vision also includes the enriched global perspective and experience of its members.

The program allows students to flex their engineering muscle while also helping people around the world.

Internationally, the projects focus on creating sustainable communities with tools that will improve the quality of life for those living there.

“Our most recent project was our international trip to Nicaragua,” Engineers Without Borders treasurer Justin Ramirez said. “It was life changing, for both members and the people we helped. We have more very exciting work planned for 2016.”

Domestic projects give members an opportunity to help those in need who reside in the U.S. and provide the time to develop at home engineering experience.

Locally, the projects hit home for many of SDSU’s members. Most of the local work is on the preventative side of care. The goal is to prepare the community and create the next generation of responsible engineers.

Getting involved with the program can be done in a variety of ways.

Donations can be made through the Engineers Without Borders website, through the San Diego State Alumni website or a check can be mailed to the chapter’s headquarters at the university. Money is not the only donation that’s valued — air miles as well as time are also crucial to the program’s success. Ramirez works to organize the gifting of air miles for international and domestic travel and widen the impact of the program.

If donating money or miles are not of interest, joining the San Diego chapter of Engineers Without Borders has been made easy.

“Everyone is welcome to join,” Ramirez said. “We want all majors, all years. Meetings are open to anyone, and membership of 25 dollars is not required. We really are just looking for anyone who is interested in helping communities build stronger practices through sustainability.”

Regardless of level of experience, Ramirez urges all students to at least attend a meeting because of what he has gotten from being part of the organization. The next meeting will be on March 3 in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.