If you think you don’t have the power to change the world, think again. RPI’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, along with student chapters all over the country, are working on sustainable engineering projects to help communities in the developing world meet their basic human needs. The RPI chapter is hosting a free film festival on Sunday, March 2, in DCC 308 from 4–6 pm where you can come to learn and be inspired by the engineering projects that students are working on. The film festival will feature 10 films that are between three and nine minutes long. They each highlight the projects students are working on. The RPI chapter’s video was selected for the film festival and will be featured alongside the videos from schools such as the University of Colorado and University of Kansas! RPI’s video was selected because of how well it showcased their project. While the RPI chapter was on their second trip to Panama, they had the idea to document their project via video. The short film is a series of clips of their journey to the island community of Isla Popa and the work that they did while there. The videos from the other student chapters are similar in nature. Some examples of projects that are in the film series are a drinking water system in Ecuador, climate change control in Peru, and a sustainable school building in Rwanda.
RPI’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders is working on a project with a rural island community in Panama. They are working with the community of about 350 people to develop a rainwater catchment system so the citizens can have a reliable source of clean water. They’ve traveled to Panama three times so far and are currently planning their fourth trip where they will begin building the rainwater catchment system. This project is completely student run, but they also collaborate with engineering professionals, Rensselaer professors, and Panamanian organizations.
The student members of Engineers Without Borders are changing the world. They are researching, planning, and designing a rainwater catchment system that will be built on multiple buildings within the community. They’re also building relationships with Panamanian groups such as Engineers Without Borders Panama, the Smithsonian (in Panama), Peace Corps volunteers, and universities. Once the rainwater catchment system has been implemented, the community of Isla Popa will finally have a reliable source of clean water, something they’ve gone without since it has been inhabited. EWB-RPI will be working alongside the community of Isla Popa during the entire implementation of the system, that way the community will be able to maintain and expand the system long after its first implementation.