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Engineers Without Borders: Experiential Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Service Learning Projects in Developing Countries

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.562.1 - 14.562.10



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Paper Authors

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Jess Everett Rowan University

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Yusuf Mehta Rowan University

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Joshua R. Wyrick Rowan University

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Maria Perez-Colon Rowan University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Engineers Without Borders: Experiential Education Abstract

An Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Club has operated at our University for approximately 6 years, conducting projects in Asia, Africa, Central America, and North America. EWB projects are completed cooperatively between club members and students enrolled in an experiential learning course required by the engineering curriculum. EWB projects provide real world experiences where students are called upon to use all their book knowledge, common sense and resourcefulness to make a significant contribution to project goals. Students work in multidisciplinary teams. They are responsible for interacting with clients, conducting assessment trips, designing solutions, making recommendations, producing engineering reports and drawings, making presentations, raising funds, and supervising and participating in construction. The projects introduce student to the triple bottom line, i.e., projects must work at environmental, economic, and social levels. The purpose of this paper is to describe the benefits of incorporating EWB projects into the engineering curriculum. In order to do this, three projects are described in detail, in Senegal, El Salvador, and The Gambia.


Experiential education involves educators teaching by engaging students directly in real experiences and focused reflection. Experiential learning is a component of experiential education, i.e., learning through direct experience. Experiential education and learning can be a valuable component of engineering courses [1,2,3,4,5].

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for impoverished communities around the world. EWB connects students and professional engineers with communities in developing countries and provides help through the implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects. In doing this, EWB members hope to develop internationally responsible engineering students. According to EWB literature, it is essential to develop engineers with the skills and tools appropriate to address the issues that out planet is facing today and is likely to face within the next 20 years, engineers who can contribute to the relief of the poverty afflicting developing communities worldwide [6]. The value of EWB projects to engineering students has been noted in the literature [7,8].

EWB-USA was started in 2000 by Dr. Bernard Amadei, a civil engineering professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. In 2001, Dr. Bernard and his students designed a sustainable water delivery system for the village of San Pablo, Belize. Since then, EWB has grown to include more than 200 professional and student chapters. EWB-USA projects include water supply, wastewater treatment, sanitation, transportation, health, and shelter systems. EWB projects are initiated and completed by professional and student chapters associated with various universities and private organizations.

An EWB Club has operated at our University for approximately 6 years, conducting projects in Asia, Africa, Central America, and North America. The EWB projects are completed

Everett, J., & Mehta, Y., & Wyrick, J. R., & Perez-Colon, M. (2009, June), Engineers Without Borders: Experiential Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5363

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